RANGELEY – A confusing town warrant caused Rangeley voters to debate more than five hours before adjourning the annual town meeting near midnight Thursday.

Moderator Blaine Trask called the meeting to order at 6:45 p.m. before a group of 150 Rangeley voters and 17 nonvoters spent hours trying to clarify the warrant’s plethora of articles, budgets and amendments.

With the warrant divided into sections B, C, E and RV, voters spent hours trying to unravel the duplications and contradictions within the proposed budget. As they passed seven articles amending changes to the Subdivision, Outdoor Festivals, Road Construction, Zoning & Sign, Animal Control, Hawkers, Peddlers and Vendors, and Town Parks ordinances, Mingo Springs Golf Course owner Paul Chodosh wondered why copies of the amended changes were available only at the town office and not at the meeting. He said voters were making decisions about matters they might “be unsure of.”

Selectman Jim Stone responded, “This process has been going on for three years.”

Problems with the Capital Improvement and Reserve Account articles abounded, primarily due to conflicts between the selectmen’s recommendation of $95,600 and the Budget Committee’s recommendation of $125,600.

The Ambulance and Fire Department Reserves were discussed for more than an hour until numerous motions to add, remove and amend specific items finally were withdrawn.

Amounts to raised and/or appropriated included: $485,023 for the town manager to expend for general government; $570,524 for Public Safety; $1,055,694 for Public Works; $12,079 for Health and Welfare; $283,458 for Recreation and Culture; $178,431 for Debt Service; $42,383 for cemeteries, milfoil awareness and communications program; $273,460 for county tax; $2,206.87 to boy a strip of land abutting Roberts Avenue from Neil and Roberta Stewart Sr.; and $24,700 for advertising by the Rangeley Lakes Region Chamber of Commerce.

Voters also agreed to appropriate $20,000.00 from unexpended balances of the 2003 School Budget for Teacher Summer Wages reserve fund, and to authorize the School Committee to expend $2,038,448.00 for the support of the school.

Jo Davenport and Harold Schaetzle were elected to serve 3 year terms on the Budget Committee, and Scott Morton and LeeAnna Wilbur were elected to serve 2 year terms on the H.A. Furbish Trust.

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