MINOT — Taxpayers will have to dig a little deeper — about $80,000 deeper – to raise the amount of money voters approved at town meeting Saturday.
Selectman Eda Tripp figured the town would have to raise about $1,503,000, as compared with $1,423,000 last year.
“On the day when tax bills start arriving, I think I'll take that day off,” Tripp said.
The increase can be largely attributed to support for the town highway department's road paving program and the request for an addition to the town garage.
Voters set the paving budget at $270,000 — with $202,000 of that raised by the town. The remainder of the funds were already on hand from a state program supporting rural roads. The amount approved was about $87,000 more than last year.
Town Manager Arlan Saunders said the 3.25 miles scheduled for paving — Bailey, Holbrook and Hersey Hill roads — brings the town within range of a realistic program for maintaining its 42 miles of roads.
“The money we raised last year paved 1.87 miles," Saunders said. "At that rate, it would take us 24 and a half years to do all the town roads.”
Voters also approved $35,000 to construct a 38- by 44-foot addition to the town garage. Saunders noted that, these days, plow trucks are outfitted with some pretty sophisticated electronics that have proven their worth in reducing the amount of salt and sand used. They argued that by housing more equipment out of the elements, the town could extend the life of the town's investments.
“Weather can shave 4 or 5 years off the life of some expensive items,” Saunders said.
The town highway crew, two of whom Saunders said were excellent carpenters, will supply the labor.
The addition was approved by a 43-40 vote.
Townspeople rejected, for the second time, a proposal that would have about doubled the size of the Central Fire Station.
Steve French, former fire chief, noted that the only real improvement to the 40-year-old building had been a small meeting room volunteers themselves had put up 15 years ago, and that was before services offered were expanded to include rescue.
“Rescue is now our busier side,” fire Chief Deal Campbell said.
The vote was 29 for construction, 60 against, under the looming specter of a $536,640 price tag, which would have meant a commitment of an estimated $62,700 for each of the next 10 years.
Residents voted to extend the town's agreement with Mid-Maine Waste Action Corp. for the disposal of the town's waste through the year 2035.
Campbell noted that MMWAC was a well-run facility that had kept the town's tipping fees way lower than what surrounding nonmember towns are paying for trash disposal.
Townspeople approved $21,000 for residents to continue enjoying library privileges at the Auburn Public Library.
Voters approved amendments to the floodplain management ordinance, enabling residents needing to buy flood insurance to do so, and amended the land use code map to extend the Village District 1 south on Center Minot Hill Road 350 feet past the Shaw Hill Road intersection, increasing 300 feet to either side of Center Hill Road.
John Geismar moderated the meeting, which was attended by 93 of the town's 2,049 registered voters, according to Registrar of Voters Hester Gilpatric.
Gilpatric also noted that on Friday, only 45 residents cast ballots to elect town officials. She attributed the low turnout to the fact there were no contested races. Elected to three-year terms on the Board of Selectmen were Dan Gilpatric and Steve French. Elected to three-year terms on the RSU 16 committee were Annette Hemond and Steve Holbrook.