Naples residents voted down the town manager’s proposal to create a public works department and approved a $13.1 million spending plan at Town Meeting April 29.

Voters approved $3.68 million in municipal spending for all town accounts except those having to do with public works, such as administration, fire/rescue and debt service for bond payments. After some debate and a proposal from Town Manager John Hawley for a “hybrid option” that would keep some aspects of the town maintenance department while adding other services, residents voted down his proposal to add about $1.23 million to the budget for a public works department.

Hawley’s hybrid proposal – which would have kept the town maintenance department as is, cut the roads and highways account and added funding for public works and capital improvements accounts – was narrowly defeated 35-32. Instead, voters opted to retain the current organization and approved $256,663 for the town maintenance account and $592,261 for the roads and highways account.

The final approved spending plan came to $13.097 million, a 3.75% increase over the 2020-21 budget of $12.624 million. Voters also approved applying $12,879,463 in anticipated revenues and $125,000 of the undesignated fund balance toward spending.

Hawley said at the meeting that the property tax rate will not increase from the current rate. The current rate is $13.35 per $1,000 of assessed property value. The owner of a $250,000 home in Naples paid $3,337.50 in property taxes this year.

Voters also approved articles that regulate medical marijuana in town and restrict medical marijuana grows to 30 mature plants per plot and prohibit storefronts. Without those ordinances, the town would have no regulatory power over the cultivation and sale of medical marijuana and would have to defer to state regulations, which are less restrictive.

Residents approved all business and ordinance articles, including two citizens initiatives that changed two lots in town from village and residential zoning to commercial.

About half of the 140 residents in attendance at last Thursday’s meeting at Lake Region High School cleared out after the final ordinance article was passed.

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