Several dozen Windham voters approved a 7 percent budget hike at the annual town meeting Saturday, as well as a $1.67 million bond for a new South Windham Fire Station.

At 10 a.m. at the Community Center Gym, 56 Windham residents voted unanimously to approve the council’s $15,579,836 budget, which increases spending $1,027,100 compared to last year’s approved budget, according to Town Clerk Linda Morrell.

At a follow-up special town meeting, Windham residents voted 53-3 to approve a $1.67 million bond to fund the acquisition and development of the former Maine Cedar Log Homes manufacturing facility in order to convert it into the new home for the South Windham Fire Station, Morrell said. Including estimated long-term debt service, the special town meeting vote will likely lead to spending of approximately $2.19 million.

According to Fire-Rescue Chief Brent Libby, the fire department plans to move into the new fire station by June 2016.

“I think it will serve the department well into the future,” he said.

The 15-year-old, 13,000-square-foot warehouse facility, located at 37 Main St. and owned by Anania Investments, has been used for storage since 2013, when Maine Cedar Log Homes closed.

According to Plante, the anticipated acquisition cost is $700,000, while renovation costs will total about $777,000, construction and design costs $141,000, and paving costs $50,000. The estimated debt service on the bond is projected to total $526,000.

The approved budget will raise the municipal portion of the tax rate by 20 cents, to $4.70 per $1,000 of valuation. The increase is driven primarily by the $52,210 restoration of a code enforcement officer position and a $566,150 increase in capital outlays primarily for road improvements – the realignment of the Anglers and Whites Bridge roads intersection, and engineering improvements along Route 302.

The town may receive more revenues than projected in the manager’s proposed budget, which could in turn limit the size of the property tax increase.

In fiscal year 2014, the town received $732,828 in municipal revenue sharing, and in the fiscal year 2015 budget the town projected $669,014 in revenue sharing. The council’s budget for fiscal year 2016 projects that the town will receive $325,000 in revenue sharing, even though Plante expects the town actually will receive around $700,000 in revenue sharing.

“We have work to do,” Plante said. “We’ve got a lot going on, a lot of projects we’re working on. I think all the work the council has done over the last few years, this last year, in particular, focusing on issues and trying to deal with some of the longstanding mainly capital needs in the community, is a positive thing. Like I said, we have a lot of work to do.”

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