GREENWOOD – Selectmen raised taxes for the first time in four years Tuesday when they hiked the mill rate from 16.50 to 16.75.

This means taxes will rise 25 cents per $1,000 of a property’s valuation.

In the discussion of the property tax commitment rate, Town Manager Carol Whitman said she knew an increase would have to be made, but wanted to talk to auditor David Hoisington before setting the tax.

Hoisington called in the middle of the discussion enabling selectmen to set the mill rate.

“When I calculated the warrant I came up with 17 (mills),” Whitman said. “I knew we had to raise taxes because we are going to need money for the (Alder River) dam and if we are going to have a revaluation in four or five years, we have to start saving now.

“I wanted his opinion,” she said.

Whitman said selectmen had been drawing down on the town’s surplus over the past three years and have not raised taxes.

Selectmen also heard from Road Foreman Alan Seames, who complained that people had been stealing street signs. “I don’t know what we’re going to do,” Seames said. “They are taking them down faster than we can put them up. They take street signs, no parking signs, lane signs. They take everything!” He said the thievery is costly as signs now run $30 apiece and the bracket to hold them is $10 and the post is $15.

Seames said there has been about 12 signs stolen this year.

“We can’t keep a sign up on Alcohol Mary Road,” he said. “We put the sign up in a tree once and they cut the tree down. I’ve even greased the pole we put the last sign on.”

Seames stressed the need for having signs so fire, rescue and police can find a house when there is an emergency.

He asked if the street’s name can be changed so the sign would be less likely to be stolen.

Selectmen said they would send letters to residents on the road and see what they think. They said the name can be changed, but it has to be done at town meeting in March 2004.

Selectmen also asked Seames to check into the possibility of having Norway or Paris make street signs for Greenwood using the equipment the towns have purchased.

In other business selectmen:

Approved a contract for the town manager

Finished the town employee’s policy that will define vacation issues.

Learned the town received a Workmen’s Compensation dividend check for $590.

Learned that the town was off the Environmental Protection Agencies’ inspection list as all violations at the town garage had been corrected.

Were told that Saunders Brothers, a wood products company, is applying for a license that allows them to distill and reuse what would normally be hazardous waste.

Learned that the town will receive a check for $1,050 from the Department of Environmental Protection as a refund on its stump dump fee, which the town had paid several years earlier.

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