ANDOVER — Voters at town meeting Saturday approved a $1.07 million bond to pay for reconstructing and paving about 6 miles of roads. The vote was 34-20.
The roads included in the repairs set to begin this fall are East B Hill, South Arm, East Andover and Farmers Hill.
Selectman Brian Mills said that if townspeople were to vote the bond down “a very minimal amount of road work will happen.” He also said it was still the intent of the selectmen to ask Andover residents to borrow money from the town’s Comsat trust fund.
“If we use the Comsat trust money we’re going to save about $126,000 in interest,” Mills said.
Resident Wayne Delano was among those who argued against the bond because of an “issue with timing.”
Delano said, “We don’t know what our taxes are gonna be, we don’t have a clue what the mill rate is gonna be, we don’t know about the financing.” He added that voters should table the vote until they had more information.
But Bob Duplessie, stepping aside as moderator to speak as a resident, spoke of his approval for the road repair bond.
“I travel these roads in Andover and they’re in horrendous condition,” he said. “I’m sure it’s costing our department of Public Works a lot of money in equipment breakdowns and malfunctions on equipment all of the time. It’s costing you money for vehicle repairs, shocks, ball joints, front end out of alignment because of some of these roads that are so bad.”
Voters also approved the use of the Comsat Trust Fund for the repayment of the roads project bond but a referendum vote Nov. 6 will require at least two-thirds of registered voters to pass the vote to use the trust fund for repayment of the bond.
Another vote on town employee wages saw four employees’ wages increase to $11 an hour to reflect the $11 an hour change in Maine’s minimum wage law in January, while other employees such as the deputy treasurer received 30 cents more and the secretary received 86 cents more.
The wage of town librarian Janet Farrington was increased to $12 an hour from $10.84.
“As of October, I will have worked as a department head for the town for 19 years,” Farrington said. “There have been many new employees at the Town Office that have been hired at a higher hourly pay rate than me and I have been only guaranteed only one holiday per year and that’s Thanksgiving.”
Voters also approved of the purchase of a 2004 Ford ambulance from Med-Care Ambulance. The newer ambulance will replace a 17-year old ambulance and allow the funds from that ambulance to be placed in an account for the Fire Department.
Resident Freeman Farrington questioned why a newer ambulance was needed. The firemen were not able to transport patients in an ambulance because of a lack of trained EMTs.
Fire Chief Jim Adler said that although they could not transport patients in the ambulance, the firemen had much use for it.
“We had one call where two snowmobilers went through the Ellis River and we were able to get them inside to keep them warm until Med-care did show up,” Adler said. “And we only get these good deals once in a great while.”
Voters also approved a Comprehensive Plan for the town, which is “what we see the town doing in the next 10 years,” Comprehensive Plan committee member Anna Camire said.
Selectman Mark Thurston said Andover “is kind of transforming from a manufacturing based economy towards a more recreation based economy and that’s reflected in some of the recommendations that came out of the committee.”
Adler, a former selectman, said that if the town wanted to apply for grants, it would need a comprehensive plan in place to be eligible.
Andover Selectmen Brian Mills, left, Wendy Closson and Mark Thurston preside at the town meeting on Saturday. (Marianne Hutchinson/Rumford Falls Times)
Andover resident Dick Merrill stands to speak at the town meeting on Saturday. (Marianne Hutchinson/Rumford Falls Times)
Residents attend Andover’s town meeting Saturday. (Marianne Hutchinson/Rumford Falls Times)