June 23, 2016

Annual town meeting over quickly with low attendance - By Michelle Libby

On Saturday, 23 registered voters passed Windham’s $16,802,027 municipal budget at the annual Windham Town Meeting. Most of those in attendance were Windham town employees. The meeting concluded at 10:12 a.m. Twelve minutes after it was officially called to order.

Representative Mark Bryant acted as moderator. 

“I think the finance committee did a wonderful job,” said council chairperson Donna Chapman. She expressed the need for increased service needs for the rapidly growing community. 

“Thank you for the work they’ve done this year and the budget process,” said town manager Tony Plante. This year is the first time the town council is attempting to follow a strategic plan when creating the budget. “We’re increasing focus on our mission and what we’re here to accomplish,” said Plante. “This is a community that has gone through significant growth.” The town has been growing for 40 or 50 years and the needs of the community have also grown along with it. Windham has one of the largest populations in the state, Plante said. It runs around number 10 or 12 for population. 

The tax implications for this year are not yet known for sure. “We won’t know the actual amount until the assessor’s office has completed its work of picking up new value over the last year, and other changes to exemptions, etc., but we anticipate the town portion of the tax rate to increase by about 3 percent, which would contribute a little over a 1 percent increase to the current total tax rate of $15.15,” said Plante. 

Obviously missing from this year’s town meeting was councilor Tommy Gleason, who passed away last month. 

“We appreciate all Tommy did and this was a budget he supported,” said Chapman. 

A survey went out last year and the town wanted to continue to have the town meeting despite the lack of attendance, Chapman said.

Bryant said that not hearing any complaints on the budget “is a testament to the town council, town manager and school board.”

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