March 25, 2018
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St. Albans rejects road, revaluation articles

By Christopher Cousins, BDN Staff

ST. ALBANS, Maine — Voters here nixed a proposal for the town to resume maintenance on an abandoned road and rejected a plan to revalue properties over a four-year period Saturday at the annual town meeting.

A lengthy debate on the merits of taking over maintenance on Ross Hill Road between Ripley Road and Nye’s Corner Road culminated in a paper-ballot vote of 62-35 against the proposal, according to Town Manager Rhonda Stark. Maintenance of that stretch of road was abandoned several years ago.

In an unrelated article, voters rejected a four-year process that would have updated the town’s property tax rolls by reassessing about 25 percent of properties per year. The new values wouldn’t have kicked in as far as tax bills are concerned until the townwide revaluation, expected to be done a few years from now. The town’s last revaluation was in 2003. Most municipalities revalue — a process of realigning property values used to compute tax bills with their actual market value — about every 10 years.

“The intent was to start picking up properties that may have been missed,” said Stark. “I’m sure there are some garages in town we don’t know about, for example.”

The four-year revaluation process would have cost an estimated $9,500. The rejection of that proposal, combined with a downward adjustment in the cost of the town’s insurance, trimmed about $12,500 from the town’s proposed budget, Stark said.

Other than the abandoned road and revaluation questions, voters approved everything else on the municipal warrant. That includes an $889 annual stipend for the emergency management director and $5,000 toward creation of a community park and playground.

“The meeting went well,” said Stark. “There was a lot of good conversation.”

A total of 88 residents turned out for the meeting, which adjourned at about 12:15 p.m. Saturday.

In uncontested elections on Friday, voters returned Philip E. Russell to a three-year seat on the Board Of Selectmen; Stacey A. Desrosiers for a one-year term as town clerk; Ronnie F. Finson for a one-year term as road commissioner; and Eleanor Davids, Jason J. Gould and Scott A. Seekins for three-year terms on the budget committee.

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