ANDOVER — Residents at the annual town meeting Saturday backed a townwide property valuation by approving $17,000 to add to a $63,000 account.
Resident Wayne Delano’s article to use the money saved in the revaluation account to offset town taxes did not pass. He said his concern was that the town did not know what it would get for the money spent on a revaluation.
“We should have a contract. Are we paying for a revaluation for all homes, are they gonna do the businesses, are they gonna do the lands? You’ve got to come back to us with a plan,” he told selectmen.
Selectman Jane Rich said, “It’s up to you people. We’re not going to do a slipshod job. It will be every piece of property in this town that will be taken care of. If we said yes today, they will begin working on the revaluation so that in 2018 your (property) value would be (correctly assessed).
Resident Judy Tabb agreed with selectmen, saying taking the money saved in the revaluation fund and using it to lower taxes would be the equivalent of a “tiny band-aid; it would stop the bleeding for a little while, for one year it’s going to reduce your taxes. It’s been (27) years since we’ve had our last revaluation; it’s the first step to get Andover on the right track.”
Another article to raise funds for the Andover Fire Department operations passed with voters raising the recommended $32,286 from taxes and use $7,854 from county contract money.
Delano questioned why the amount was going up from $36,680 last year to $40,140 this year.
“Last year, the Fire Department experienced a series of breakdowns,” Fire Chief Justin Tibbetts said. “We have old firetrucks (and) our firetrucks need parts that are expensive and hard to come by. If you want me to keep providing fire protection for your town I need to keep these firetrucks running.”
Also approved was creating a Public Works Department for $3,500. The department would include mowing of the town common and the ball field, and equipment repairs and port-a-potty rental at the town common.
Wages for town employees included 3 percent increases for most, however, townspeople chose not to increase the deputy treasurer’s pay by 3 percent because the town has hired a new treasurer and some residents, such as Sue Mills, felt it was not appropriate to start a new employee at the 3 percent increase.
Town Treasurer Barbara Simmons is retiring April 26 and Lynn Wilson of Bethel will take Simmons’ place. Simmons’ current pay is $11.03 per hour.