MEXICO – Selectmen on Wednesday signed the warrant that will allow SAD 43 voters to decide if the school district should merge with neighboring SAD 39 in Buckfield and SAD 21 in Dixfield.

First, though, they made their feelings known about the proposed merger.

Town Manager John Madigan, who serves on the steering committee to put a merger plan in place, said Thursday that selectmen unanimously voted to recommend a “no” vote.

Selectman Arthur Bordeau made the motion in opposition to an administrative merger.

Bordeau said Thursday afternoon that he believes combining with SADs 21 and 39 would raise taxes.

“We would have to bring other districts up to SAD 43’s (salaries). Combining jobs won’t work out,” he said, citing an attempt by SAD 43 to share its special education director with SAD 44 in Bethel.

“It was too overwhelming,” he said.

He also believes SAD 43 can continue to cooperate with SAD 44 in Bethel and SAD 21.

“We’ll feel like a unit instead of being forced,” he said.

Voters in each member town of SADs 21, 39, and 43, as well as the unaffiliated town of Hanover, will vote on the merger Nov. 4.

In other matters on Wednesday, Madigan said the board approved a fund-raising toll booth to benefit resident Phil O’Leary, who is in an intensive care unit in Florida. The collection will take place from noon to 4 p.m. Oct. 25 on Main Street.

The board also approved the purchase of three 4- by 8-foot wooden “Welcome to Mexico” signs from Erik Designs in Rumford for $1,795. They will replace similar signs on Route 2 near the Dixfield line, near the Ridlonville Bridge, and on Main Street.

Selectmen also:

• Approved plans by the state Department of Conservation to design and submit cost estimates for a boat launch along the Androscoggin River on town-owned property at the rear of the Town Office;

• Appointed Sonia LaPointe to finish a term on the town’s Finance Committee vacated by Joe Bordeau, and appointed Calvin Lyons as election warden;

• Hired Roxbury resident Brad Gallant as a reserve police officer;

• Changed duty hours for the Public Works Department to 6 a.m to 2 p.m.

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