Weld voters to consider using sale funds to improve Town Hall

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WELD — Voters will consider re-electing a selectman to a three-year term and electing a new Planning Board member to a five-year term Friday.

The polls will be open from 4 to 8 p.m. in the multipurpose room at the Town Office.

Selectman Wayne DuBois is seeking another term. There is also an opening for a Planning Board member, Town Clerk Carol Cochran said.

The town meeting will convene at 10 a.m. Saturday at the Town Hall.

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Voters have 19 articles to consider, including what to do with the proceeds from the sale of the Weld Elementary School. The school was closed in 2008 and sold by auction in 2009. Last year, voters agreed to roll the money over into a Certificate of Deposit. That $45,341.56 CD will mature on April 22.

Selectmen are recommending the money be used to set up an account for repair and improvements to town buildings. The board is recommending using part of the money this year to upgrade the Town Hall to make the building handicap accessible to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act, board Chairman Tom Skolfield said.

The historic building also needs new windows, an electrical upgrade and a chairlift installed for access to the second floor where the bathroom is, he said.

There is also a need to replace exit side doors and trim around the roof, he said. The town’s insurance company is mandating some improvements, he said.

Selectmen made the recommendations after getting input from various residents, Skolfield said.

The hall was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2007. It was erected by the Weld Masonic Lodge between 1922 and 1926 and has been owned by the town of Weld since 1940.

The town is working with the Masons to get a chairlift in the hall, Skolfield said. “We need to bring it up into the 21st century.”

Voters will also consider authorizing selectmen to replace the engine in the 1999 Ford firetruck if it cannot be repaired to the satisfaction of the town, he said. The board is recommending a $20,000 replacement cost to be taken from the town’s surplus account.

Residents will also need to consider what they want to do with the town’s recyclables once Sandy River Recycling Association ceases operations June 30.

One possibility is to not have any recyclables, which doesn’t please selectmen, he said.

Another possibility is to get a second compactor.

The town could semi-retire the existing compactor, which is 10 to 15 years old, and use it for recyclables and buy a new compactor to use for the trash, Skolfield said. If residents went that way, the town could go to a single-sort operation.

That means residents could put their recyclables in one container and dump them all into the compactor, he said. That option also allows for more items to be recycled, he said.

Overall, if everything goes according to plan, not factoring in if residents choose to buy a new compactor, the town would be $15,107 under the state’s allotted tax cap.

Currently, the total amount to be raised, if everything passes, is $173,245.94 to operate the town.

“We can go up to $188,553 and not exceed the tax cap,” Skolfield said.

The town’s tax rate for 2013 was $5.85 per $1,000 worth of property value.

dperry@sunjournal.com

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