Veterans’ monument to be updated

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CARTHAGE — About 40 residents whisked through the 40-article town meeting warrant Monday night in just over 60 minutes. They re-elected all incumbents, and approved all money articles, just adding $150 to one.

Tops in the discussion was how much money to raise, and even more important, finding a volunteer committee to organize a major updating of the town’s Veterans’ Memorial monument.

Stepping forward to begin the process following the meeting was Cindy Hutchinson.

First Selectman Stephen Brown said the town has been raising a few hundred dollars each year to go toward updating the granite monument, but no one has ever volunteered to help make the changes.

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“We have needed someone to take the initiative, to take the lead. We’re not sure how much it will cost,” he told residents prior to a vote to approve adding $200 to the existing $5,300 account.

Hutchinson said she has a couple of people in mind who could help. Anyone else who would like to get to work on the project is asked to call the town office at 562-8874. Brown would like to see at least a couple of veterans serve on the committee.

The monument has been located on the lawn of the Carthage Union Church for decades. It honors only World War II veterans. The names of other service people for subsequent wars will need to be found, then a process devised for placing the names on the monument.

Also, the committee will likely decide whether to recommend keeping the monument on the lawn in front of the church, or possibly move it near the flagpole at the town office.

Former Selectman Bill Houghton had motioned to raise the monument amount to $700. But that motion was turned down. Residents then approved raising the original recommended amount.

Brown, along with incumbent Town Clerk-Tax Collector, Linda Berry, and incumbent Treasurer, Nancy Blodgett, were re-elected to their posts with no opposition.

With Brown’s election, he begins his 11th term. He essentially runs the town, and this year, was granted $19,000 for his work.

The only article changed from the recommended amount was for animal control officer. That stipend was boosted to $750 from $600. The animal control officer had not received a raise since 2002, Brown said.

Among the other articles approved were: $15,000 for the fire department, $1,500 for the River Valley Growth Council, $23,000 for town official wages. $22,000 for the operation of the town office, and about $148,000, broken into several articles, for bridge, road, plowing and sanding, and culvert work. Most of that sum comes from excise tax or a block grant.

The total raised for calendar year 2010 was $188,452 by taxation, and $84,000 through excise tax and block grant money.

Neither Franklin County tax nor school tax is figured into the municipal budget.

The current tax rate is $13.70 per $1,000 valuation. A new rate, expected to be slightly higher, will be set once the county and school taxes are known. Brown said tax bills will likely be mailed out during the late summer. Residents will then have 30 days to pay their taxes in full without penalty. Those paid late will be subject to an 8 percent annual interest rate.

eadams@sunjournal.com

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