Sangerville residents approve new firetruck, reject town hall renovations

Residents approve an article by a show-of-hands vote at Sangerville'’s annual town meeting on March 29.
Mike Lange | Piscataquis Observer
Residents approve an article by a show-of-hands vote at Sangerville'’s annual town meeting on March 29.
Posted April 02, 2014, at 11:49 a.m.

SANGERVILLE, Maine — The town of Sangerville will get a new firetruck, Selectman Melissa Randall was re-elected by one vote over challenger Irving McNaughton and voters approved buying a vacant home next to the recreation fields to allow for expansion of the complex.

But residents at the annual town meeting on March 29 didn’t go along with a proposed $100,000 loan or bond issue to replace clapboards on the town hall building, install new carpeting, pave the parking lot and purchase a new alarm system for the building.

After a lengthy debate, the article was voted down after many townspeople spoke out against the $35,000 paving estimate.

Selectman Bill Rowe questioned whether $35,000 was even adequate for the job, considering the lot had to be graded and ditched before it could be paved. “I think paving the parking lot is a little further down our wish list,” Rowe said. “We have other things in town that should have a higher priority.”

However, Randall said that the current condition of the parking lot “is a safety issue. A lot of our library patrons are older people and they have to walk across that frozen parking lot.”

Brent Randall, who is on the Town Hall Renovation Committee, said that $35,000 “is a lot of money, but the lot won’t have to be repaved for 25 or 30 years.”

But after a 20-minute debate, voters turned down the article, 28-18.

In contrast, only a few questions were asked about the proposed purchase of a $270,000 Rosenbauer firetruck. The article specified that the town would take $139,000 from the firetruck reserve account and finance the balance over an 11-year period starting at 2015. The new vehicle will replace a 1975 Chevrolet model.

Voters debated the merits of an article to raise and appropriate up to $17,000 to buy a house and 2.9 acres owned by Angela Wells located next to the recreation field.

Recreation Director Jimmy Bell explained that the house was first offered to the town for $37,000 in 2011 and the measure was turned down. “The fields are also used by adults, not just the kids,” Bell said.

Bell said that inmates at Mountain View Correctional Center in Charleston can “clear the fields at zero cost when we’re ready to develop it.” He also suggested that the fire department could burn the house as a training exercise, and his plans included adding field hockey and soccer fields to the complex.

While some residents said they were skeptical about the purchase, the article passed by a comfortable margin.

A smaller monetary article — $5,870 for a computer program to process motor vehicle registrations — also prompted a lengthy discussion during the three-hour and 45-minute session.

Many supporters, including Town Clerk Alvina Church, pointed out that Sangerville is one of the few towns in the region that still processes the documents by hand. The town took in $192,000 in excise taxes last year, Church said. The article passed, 38-21.

Other highlights from the town meeting:

Voters approved a one-day exemption from the town’s prohibition of on-premises alcohol consumption for the June 14 bicentennial celebration. A beer concession will be catered by the Red Maple Inn of Guilford.

An updated livestock ordinance was passed 29-13 after another long discussion about what animals constituted livestock, how the “center of town” was defined and the wisdom of allowing an exemption for chickens in the new law. The old ordinance was crafted in 1972 and hadn’t been updated since then, town officials said.

Rebecca Holt was elected to a one-year term on the SAD 4 Board of Directors and Jimmy Bell won a seat for a three-year term on the board. Both were unopposed.

Charles Cleaves was unanimously elected to the Guilford-Sangerville Sanitary District Board of Trustees while Dr. Rick Chabot won the open seat on the Hospital Administrative District 4 Board of Directors.

The $1.73 million budget passed by voters is about $25,000 higher than last year, but the town’s mil rate of $16.50 isn’t expected to vary much, according to Town Manager Dave Pearson.

 

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