Tax hike expected for Smyrna, Merrill

13 years ago

By Joseph Cyr
Staff Writer

    Property taxes in Smyrna and Merrill will likely be going up, despite voters approving decreased municipal budgets in the two communities last week.
    According to Candy Nevers, town manager for both communities, the property tax rate will not be set until after the RSU 50 school board passes its budget sometime in July. However, the early indications are property taxes will go up due to a combination of decreased municipal revenues and an anticipated increase in education costs.
    “Our taxes will definitely go up in both towns,” Nevers said.
    The mil rates for each commmunity will not be set until after the RSU board passes its school budget for 2011-12, Nevers said. However, after conversations with SAD 25 Superintendent Terry Comeau, Nevers said she was able to estimate that the mil rate will go from $19.50 to $20 in Smyrna and from $23.50 to $25 in Merrill.
    “It’s very painful in communities this small, but times are tough,” she said.
    Smyrna held its town meeting on March 7, while Merrill conducted its town meeting on March 8. Voter turnout was sparse in Smyrna with only 14 of the 204 registered voters casting ballots. Budgets in both communities were approved as presented and represent a decrease from the previous fiscal year.
    A budget of $188,400 was supported in Smyrna and featured a decrease of $17,000 from last year’s total of $205,400. In Merrill, the municipal budget of $161,970 was OK’d, which featured a decrease of $1,198 from last year.
    “We tried our best and struggled to get our budget down,” Nevers said. “We’re a small community. We don’t have contingency funds to dip into or a lot of extra positions to cut.”
    Smyrna voters elected Arden Williams to the SAD 25 school board. Williams ran unopposed. That seat will run from March until the SAD 25 school board dissolves on June 30. Voters also re-elected Linda Trickey to the Board of Selectmen for a three-year term. She ran unopposed.
    Merrill voters re-elected Mark Lawlor to the town’s Board of Selectmen. He beat out challenger Robert Furrow for the seat 39-11.