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GASPORT – Town of Hartland’s proposed 2014 budget, which holds the line on taxes, will be the subject of a public hearing at 7:30 p.m. Thursday in Town Hall, 8942 Ridge Road.

The proposed $3.32 million budget keeps the tax rate steady at $2.40 per $1,000 of assessed valuation, according to Town Supervisor W. Ross Annable. The amount to be raised by taxes in the tentative budget is $1.29 million.

The tentative fire protection district rate also remains the same at $1.22 per $1,000 of assessed valuation, while the water rate rises one penny to $2.32 per $1,000.

The proposed refuse district rate drops 84 cents to an annual fee of $182 per unit, a rate Annable said he hopes will remain steady for the next several years as a result of a new contract with Waste Management Co.

The town spent $71,000 to purchase 1,650 new 64-gallon carts at $43 each for residents to use for recycling and has begun delivering them to homes. Residents will begin using them Jan. 1.

“We used the totes for 20-plus years, but a lot of towns have gone to using these large carts, with pickup every other week for recycling,” Annable said. “This will be a cost savings in the long term. The savings we get from rebidding the contract will allow us to recoup the cost in about two years of purchasing these carts.

“And if residents like using the carts, we will look at garbage pickup in the next few years using carts, too,” he added. “Our goal is to have a flat rate for the next several years. It’s a win-win situation because we can lock in a refuse rate and restructure our collection, and, hopefully, we’ll see an increase in recycling and a decrease in our garbage tonnage.”

Annable said the proposed water rate of $2.32 per $1,000 of assessed valuation also should be locked in for the next several years.

“The last of our bonds in the water district will be paid off next year, and we are replacing the old water meters with new electronic meter reads,” Annable said. “With the electronic meters, we’re able to read the entire town in half of a day, and this also helps us keep a better handle on water consumption. We’ll be replacing about 100 of the old meters each year.”

The only large purchase anticipated in the 2014 budget is a new plow truck, replacing a 20-year-old model in the Highway Department, Annable said. He said the town would use Highway Department fund balance to cover the purchase.