BUCKFIELD – Selectmen on Tuesday night set the tax rate $2 lower than last year on the recommendation of Town Manager Glen Holmes.

The new rate is $17.25 per thousand dollars of property value, but it may not mean a property owner will pay less tax.

Land values had to be brought up, according to Holmes, for the town to meet the fair market value required by the state. Also, the state raised the Homestead Exemption, but is only funding half of the amount.

For instance, an undeveloped parcel of 50 acres goes from a value of $22,150 to $49,600, raising the amount of property tax from $426.39 to $855.60.

Resident Dick Piper said, “You’re doubling tax on land, and this will hurt the people on fixed income.”

Assistant Treasurer Cindy Dunn said that was not their intent.

“We only brought the land up to fair market value,” she said.

It was announced that the Bell subdivision on Route 140 will have an open house Sunday, Oct. 30. The subdivision, next to Buckfield Junior-Senior High School, has sewer, water, electricity, telephone and cable. There are 14 lots ready for building.

Holmes mentioned that two landowners had come forward with land for possible development. He has had contact with some nursing home owners and will be bringing information back to the selectmen. Bringing more business into Buckfield is one of the goals that came out of a planning workshop Sept. 27.

Holmes brought a proposal to the board for use of the old town garage, but is was rejected because the building may be needed to store a fire equipment purchase that is under consideration.

The problem of parking on sidewalks cannot be legally solved without a new ordinance, and selectmen elected not to address the situation until spring because snow will cover the sidewalks this winter.

Holmes announced a refund to the town of $16,962.00 from Mid-Maine Waste Action Corp. as part of a surplus distribution.

Steve Campbell and Nick Dimaio were appointed to the Board of Appeals.

Selectman Skip Stanley volunteered to sit on an ad hoc committee for long-range planning for SAD 39. Holmes will serve on the Budget Committee for SAD 39.

The board approved the purchase of a sander, not to exceed $4,250, to replace the one destroyed by a recent fire. Insurance will cover the cost.

The Historical Society has donated six Liberty elm trees at the Municipal Center, and they have all been planted. They come with a guarantee against the Dutch elm disease.

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