New Sharon passes tax discount at special town meeting

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NEW SHARON —  Voters reinstated Saturday a 3 percent discount for taxes paid in full within 30 days of the billing date.

About 85 residents gathered for the special town meeting and took about a half-hour to pass all five articles on the warrant.

Voters also agreed to take $36,000 from surplus funds this year to cover the tax discount and extend road commissioner and treasurer positions to three-year terms rather than one-year positions.

Prior to the start of the warrant, Selectman Robert Neal apologized to residents for the selectmen’s decision to not let them decide on the tax discount, even though the board had the authority to make the decision.

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Selectmen left the question off the warrant for the annual town meeting eliminating any discussion or action on it in March. They felt everyone, including those on fixed incomes, paid taxes to cover the 3 percent discount, but only a few received the discount.

Voters agreed Saturday to take $36,000 from surplus to cover any discounts for paid taxes this year.

One voter voiced concerns about raising taxes to pay for the discount in future years as has been done in the past. Another asked if there was any benefit for the town to have the funds early.  

Selectman Travis Pond said there wasn’t.

Starting with election of a road commissioner and treasurer at the next annual town meeting, the positions will be for three-year terms.

“It is hard to plan ahead on a one-year term,” Road Commissioner John Pond told residents.  

The first year is spent learning and doing what you can, he said.

A resident asked how the town would address someone not doing the job well if they had a three-year term.

Selectmen Chairman Lorna Nichols said they could address concerns with selectmen.

The town has a recall ordinance in place but it mostly pertains to when a person commits a high crime or misdemeanor. The town may need to look at the structure of the ordinance,  said Jim Fleming, code enforcement officer.

Voters approved a three-year term for the treasurer position after some recommended staggering the term with the town clerk and tax collector positions, which voters extended to three-year terms in March. 

abryant@sunmediagroup.net

A majority of New Sharon voters show their approval of reinstating a tax discount for early payers Saturday with a show of yellow cards. A special town meeting was held at Cape Cod Hill School.

New Sharon Road Commissioner John Pond, elected in March for another year, voiced the benefits of voters extending the position to a three-year term Saturday during a special town meeting.

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