$9.7M budget to be voted on; 2 town meeting articles call for changing government format.


Byline: Richard J. Hafey

PAXTON - Voters will act on a proposed fiscal 2009 budget of $9,718,644, an increase of $298,792 from this year, and 28 warrant articles at the annual town meeting at 7 p.m. Monday at Paxton Center School.

Because of its significance, the school budget will be taken out of turn by the Finance Committee and discussed first. It normally is taken up after voters act on the other articles.

The amount requested by the Wachusett Regional School District is listed in the warrant as $5,006,584, but was reduced to $4,907,291 Monday by the Wachusett Regional School Committee.

The Finance Committee has recommended $4,880,337, a difference of $26,954.

The Paxton reduction and those in the other Wachusett towns represent a $1 million reduction in the school district's original request on assessments.

However, after it was originally proposed, Paxton, Rutland and Sterling called for a $1.3 million reduction; Holden and Princeton have agreed to the lesser reduction.

The budget must be passed by four of the five towns. Paxton will be the first to vote on it.

Another change in procedure is in the Finance Committee's report to the town, which normally itemizes budgets with unusually large increases as well as comments on the town's financial status.

This year, the committee has chosen to emphasize the decreases - totaling $134,392 - in requests made by 23 town departments.

Another change is that the warrants are no longer being mailed to residents. However, copies will be available at Town Hall, Richards Memorial Library and at the town meeting.

Money requests on the warrant, totaling $343,500 in separate articles, are $250,000 for a new sander and plow, $50,000 for architectural fees for the proposed renovation of Town Hall, $33,000 for a cruiser, and $10,500 for a new voting machine and 20 voting booths.

Two similar articles, which are expected to be controversial, call for petitioning the state Legislature to establish an open meeting-board of...

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