Dixfield board approves water, sewer budgets

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DIXFIELD — The Board of Selectmen recently approved budgets for the Water and Sewer departments.

The board voted 4-0, with Hart Daley absent, for a Water Department budget of $390,375, an increase of $20,271 over 2017’s.

Water Department Superintendent Jim White said much of the increase is due to a a $39,000 project related to the Maine Department of Transportation reconstruction of Route 2, beginning at Hall Hill Road and extending east 2.77 miles. The reconstruction cost is $8.15 million.

“In that section, just beyond the highway garage, there is a culvert crossing, and they’re going to take that culvert crossing out and make it more of a concrete box culvert,” White said. “In doing that, they’re realigning the road and pushing the road 30 feet into the banking. The water main, right now, sits right on the banking side of the culvert. So we have to offset that main by 30 feet. That’s where all the water comes in from the treatment plant.”

Selectmen also approved a request by White to continue replacing water meters.

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White, also the Mexico Water superintendent, said he can get a better price with a combined water meter purchase with Mexico. He said about 220 of 600 Dixfield meters need to be replaced.

“The water meters are good for 20 years” and need to be replaced all because of the battery.

Selectmen also voted 4-0 to approve a $245,145 budget for the Sewer Department, the same amount as this fiscal year.

An increase in revenues of $13,170 will will go into the reserve and replacement account.

Town Manager Carlo Puiia said the town is also benefiting from savings on electricity costs, thanks to the improvements made to the system by the Ted Berry Company.

In other business at the Dec. 11 meeting, selectmen approved a budget schedule for the next fiscal year, with meetings on Feb. 19, March 5, March 19 and April 2.

The annual town meeting will be May 31, with the referendum June 12.

Under public correspondence, there was a letter from Tim and Martha Kelly supporting the future use of the former elementary school at 33 Nash St.

The Regional School Unit 56 building most recently housed the central office and the Wellness Center. RSU 56 has offered the town first right of refusal.

Selectmen and Puiia toured the facility Nov. 20 with Kenny Robbins of Buildings, Grounds and Transportation.

Board Chairwoman Norine Clarke encouraged residents to write letters to the town stating whether they support accepting the building. Letters should be addressed to: Town of Dixfield, P.O. Box 808, Dixfield, ME 04224.

At the previous board meeting, Puiia said, “This board has to decide whether they will take this to a vote of the people to accept the building back. It’s not about deciding on demolishing it or whether it becomes a rec center or a rental unit. It’s really about whether the town wants to own it or not.”

It was announced that the Town Office and library will be closed Monday and Tuesday in observance of Christmas, and Monday, Jan. 1, New Year’s Day.

The next meeting will be at 5:30 p.m. Monday, Jan. 8, downstairs in Ludden Memorial Library.

bfarrin@sunmediagroup.net

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