Residents are frustrated by obligation to the county.

FAYETTE – Residents here are so frustrated with a high county tax bill they talked Saturday about leaving Kennebec County for a less expensive county.

Town Manager Jim Collins told voters that changing counties is an option, but it is something that would have to be thoroughly investigated before making such a move.

About 50 residents attended the meeting.

The discussion started after resident Joel Swimm asked voters to amend the article concerning the county tax bill, asking them to consider paying a significant amount less than billed by Kennebec County.

The county is charging Fayette $92,633 for its share of the county budget this year, an increase of more than 16 percent from last year. The county’s total budget increased a little more than 7 percent. Fayette’s valuation also has increased.

Some residents favored not paying the taxes to send a message to county commissioners. And, then the discussion about changing counties to one with lower taxes came up.

Collins explained that the article on county taxes appears on the town warrant to generate discussion, however, the town does not have the option of refusing to pay. He said should the town refuse to pay, the county could serve a warrant on the municipal officers and take town property.

Swimm reasoned that if the county budget only increased by about 7 percent, that is the amount the town should pay as well. He motioned to amend the article to say that the town would pay $84,000.

One resident suggested writing a letter to the county commissioners reflecting the debate. Another resident said it would only cost the county more money to deal with Fayette if they voted not to pay the full amount and Swimm’s motion overwhelmingly failed.

Voters agreed to pay the amount asked by the county.

Collins and town officials urged voters to attend county budget meetings and “be vocal.” Selectman Timothy Walton suggested advocating for a line item budget.

Voters agreed to authorize selectmen to enter in to a lease/purchase agreement for a 1.5-ton truck with plow, dump body and sander for an amount not to exceed $58,000. The truck will replace a 1984 truck that will be used as a trade-in.

Selectman Thomas Mitchell asked residents to vote against the purchase, saying the truck, fully equipped, could only haul about 3/4-yard of sand under truck design limitations. The highway department plans to haul up to 3 yards of sand with the new truck.

Mitchell said he would like to see the town purchase a one-ton or 3/4-ton pickup truck for about $40,000, saving the town money and meeting the needs of the highway department.

Collins said overloading concerns can be addressed and weight limits considered when the specifications for the bids are created. He added that the requested amount of money will not raise taxes and the amount is expected to be lower than what is being asked for.

Voters agreed to raise and appropriate $16,000 for the first of four payments on the truck. Swimm asked for clarification, since that amount would exceed the $58,000 purchase price. Collins explained that the amount includes interest and is “the worst case scenario.”

At a resident’s request, officials plan to use all of the $16,000 for the first payment even if the amount is lower in order to lower interest and subsequent payments.

Voters took the recommendation of selectmen and refused to authorize the use of town equipment to maintain the southern end of the Young Road during the winter.

Resident Lacy Bamford Badeau said when she moved to a private road she understood she would have to maintain it herself. She said she felt the maintenance of the Young Road would “open up a can of worms” and soon the town would be expected to maintain all private roads.


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