DOVER-FOXCROFT, Maine — Residents defeated an article at an emergency special town meeting Thursday that would have allowed the town to use $90,000 from surplus to purchase equipment for the public works department.
Town officials had hoped to get authorization to use the funds for the possible purchase of a grader, excavator and-or water truck at an auction held Friday.
Some of the residents were upset that the meeting had not been well publicized. Resident Hilda Mulherin said Friday that even though selectmen had discussed the possibility of holding a special town meeting at their May 25 meeting, no notice had been placed in any newspaper until June 9, when a small notice appeared in a local paper. She said she knew about the town meeting because she saw a notice on the local cable channel, which many residents do not see. She said she “rallied the troops.”
Fifty people attended the town meeting and voted the article down 28-22, according to Town Manager Jack Clukey.
Clukey said the town meeting notice had been posted at several stores, the post office and the town office, and it was on the town’s website and the local cable channel.
“The board felt that it was an emergency meeting to do that because of the likelihood that we would save money on equipment that we knew we would have to buy,” Clukey said.
Town officials had $250,000 in last year’s budget for a new grader, but residents voted that purchase down and that piece of equipment still has not been replaced, according to Clukey. He said selectmen felt Friday’s auction provided a “real opportunity” to purchase a good used grader for less money.
Clukey said that over the next five years, the town will have to invest more than $800,000 to upgrade its aging equipment.
“Financially, it was becoming an emergency in terms of how we fund some equipment replacement over the next few years and [selectmen] thought this was the way to do it,” Clukey said.