Chesterville board holds off on tax rate, office hours

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CHESTERVILLE — Selectmen on Thursday tabled setting the tax rate until the Regional School Unit 9 budget vote Oct. 11.

They also tabled a decision on changing Town Office hours until the entire board is present.

Town assessor Bill Van Tuinen of Madison said selectmen can legally commit taxes before the school budget is set, but he recommended waiting until after the next vote.

“You’re in a tough situation,” he said. “You don’t have a school budget. It’s as likely to go up as go down at a future meeting.”

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Treasurer Erin Norton said, “We’re talking four weeks. The turnaround is so quick.”

Chairman Tyler Jenness, Vice Chairman Tiffany Estabrook, Matt Welch and Edward Hastings IV agreed to wait. Selectman Ross Clair was absent.

“Residents don’t have to wait to receive their tax bill,” Norton said. “They can prepay using last year’s bill to go on.”

The other issue for the board was possibly changing Town Office hours, which are 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday and 9 a.m. to noon Wednesday.

Town Clerk Pamela Griswold proposed changing them to 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday, and 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday. Staff would also work when the office was closed.

“The total hours don’t change,” Griswold said. “It would give four days open.”

Griswold would be in the office Tuesday, part of Wednesday morning and all day Thursday. Deputy Town Clerk Rachel Heseltine would cover Wednesday and Friday, and Thursday evenings for board meetings.

Resident Anne Lambert said the town previously had one clerk working 34 hours. Two people would be putting in 44 hours per week at $1 and $2 more per hour.

“That’s a considerable increase in the amount we have to pay,” Lambert said.

Jenness said the entire payroll would be less because insurance is no longer paid.

Selectman Matt Welch moved to table the discussion because Hastings had left to attend the RSU 9 meeting. Vice Chairman Tiffany Estabrook seconded. The vote to table was 2-1 with Jenness opposed. 

pharnden@sunmediagroup.net

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