Monday’s vote in Durham to determine the fate of the town’s $3.6 million proposed municipal budget “produced contradictory results,” according to a statement from the select board.

The vote was held in place of the annual town meeting, which was canceled due to COVID-19 restrictions.

Residents approved all of the spending articles on the ballot but rejected Question 25, which sought an increase in the tax levy limit.

“In other words, voters authorized the spending, but rejected raising the taxes required to support the spending they approved,” the statement read.

Question 25 is required by law and has been approved by a wide margin in previous years at town meetings, according to the statement.

Town Clerk Becky Taylor-Chase said the proposed municipal budget this year is $3,642,822, an increase of about $143,000 over last year.

According to the statement, if nothing changes going forward, the town “will be forced to cut several hundred thousand dollars from the budget articles that voters approved.”

The select board plans to discuss the next steps at their virtual meeting on April 13, expecting a special town meeting may be necessary to find a resolution.

For the municipal positions, residents re-elected incumbent Richard George on the select-board with 325 votes and incumbent Candace desCipkes on on the Regional School Unit 5 board with 340 votes.

On the budget committee, the three seats were fill by incumbents Neil Berry (241 votes) and Leigh Fisher (289 votes) as well as write-in Heather Roy (126 votes).

Voters approved a $434,350 administrative budget and rejected three out of the four proposed changes to land use ordinances. With the exception of question 25, all other questions on the ballot passed.


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