Dixfield board approves water budget

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RSU 56 Superintendent Pam Doyen addresses the Dixfield Board of Selectmen. From left: Town Manager Dustin Starbuck and board members Peter Holman and Montel Kennedy. (Bruce Farrin/Rumford Falls Times)

DIXFIELD — The Dixfield Board of Selectmen has unanimously approved the water department’s budget.

The board approved the spending plan at its Nov. 27 meeting.

Water Superintendent Jim White presented a budget of $388,027, a slight decrease from last year’s budget of $390,375.

Selectmen also approved a request of $9,000 by White for the continuing effort to replace water meters. White, also the Mexico Water Superintendent, said he can get a better price with a combined water meter purchase with Mexico.

He said there are around 500 water meters and that they changed about 16 of them every year. White estimated that all the meters will be changed by 2024. At that point, it will be eight to 10 years before further meters will need to be changed.

In other business, RSU 56 Superintendent Pam Doyen addressed the board.

“My goal is to restore Dirigo schools to the schools that they used to be in terms of our community, academic achievement and pride in our schools,” Doyen said.

“I know that our core community takes our schools seriously and are proud of them, but we certainly have room for improvement in terms of academics and just building the community.

“So my goal is to restore them and do it fiscally responsibly so that we’re not (placing) a hardship on our four communities. Hopefully, it will be a little bit easier moving forward now that we have two years behind us and hopefully we have a little more consistency in how much our budget goes up each year.”

Selectman Aaron Jamison asked, “What is your overall goal?”

Doyen answered: “The most important thing to me are the students who walk into the building. Other superintendents say: ‘I can’t believe you don’t have an administrative assistant. You’re the only one in the state of Maine who doesn’t.’

“I really do believe that our kids should come first and the programs, both academic and extracurricular, are of prime importance.”

The board also approved the following bids for tax-acquired property:

• Land on Main Street, $2,480, Keith and Suzanne Swett of East Dixfield.

• Building and land at 218 Main St., $8,390, Keith and Suzanne Swett.

• Land on Weld Street, $13,530, Keith and Suzanne Swett.

• Building and land at 32 Coburn Ave., $23,200, Clyde Wardwell of Dixfield.

• Building and land at 62 Main St., $21,600, Towle Properties, LLC of Dixfield.

• Building and land at 196 Main St., $2,920, Keith and Suzanne Swett.

• Land on Rollins Ridge Road, $1,300, Kevin Cormier of Rumford.

• Land on Averill Hill, $14,000, Allan Chamberlain of Casco.

• Building and land at 28 Spring St., $10,500, Clyde Wardwell.

A tenth property, building and land at 198 Weld St., went back to its owner.

Town Manager Dustin Starbuck said while these are the winning bids, it is possible the individuals will not follow through with the money. They have until Dec. 18. If they fail to buy the property by then, the board will decide whether to offer the property to another bidder or advertise again.

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