SANGERVILLE, Maine — Residents were told at the annual town meeting Saturday that they can expect an increase in the mill rate this year because of a rising state valuation and decreased state revenues.
The mill rate will be established once school costs are known, according to Town Manager Joe Clark.
Residents voted to raise $15,000 to replace the flat section of the town hall roof, which is leaking. The section has a rubberized membrane and is not part of the roof that has slate shingles. The town warrant, which was developed before bids were solicited for the project, had requested $50,000. Three bids were received for the project, Clark said.
Residents sided with selectmen for road improvements. Selectmen had recommended raising $100,000 and borrowing $35,000, while the budget committee had proposed raising the same amount but borrowing $70,000. The budget committee had hoped that some gravel roads could be repaired in addition to the resurfacing of the Goff Road.
Clark said an informal audit had been done of the roads in the community and it would take nearly $800,000 to make the necessary improvements. He said he would seek federal stimulus funds through the state for these “shovel-ready” projects.
In other action, residents voted to raise $58,000 for the fire department instead of the budget committee’s proposal of $54,000. The extra funds will allow the department to purchase new tires for one of the vehicles. Fire Chief Chuck Bean had initially requested $63,000 for the operation of his department.
Among the capital outlay accounts, residents voted to raise $20,000 for the firetruck reserve and $20,000 for the public works equipment reserve. Although there was no recommendation for funds, they also voted to raise $2,000 for a town hall renovation reserve account.
Resident Gerald Peters said the town hall renovation committee worked hard to restore the historic building and he didn’t want to see its condition slide. Putting funds into a reserve account is like putting money in the bank, he said, noting, “It’s planning ahead to the future.”
The fact that the town has been spending more money on the Abbie Fowler building than it received in rent was raised by Ron Smith. He said the town was paying about $10,000 a year on the building and suggested it was time now to decide its fate.
Smith was told the issue would be settled at next year’s annual town meeting, when cost estimates would be available.
Len Nilson won a two-way race for selectmen. He received 40 votes to Roy Lemieux’s nine votes.