HANOVER – Nearly three dozen voters turned out Tuesday night to approve a $216,000 municipal budget, to elect a selectman, and to honor longtime First Selectman Bruce Powell.

Town Clerk Clem Worcester, who was also re-elected to another one-year term as clerk, treasurer and tax collector, said Powell was honored as the town’s volunteer of the year at the annual town meeting.

Powell served 12 years as first selectman and recently retired as business manager at nearby SAD 44 in Bethel. He operates a campground and works at Sunday River Ski Resort.

Replacing Powell was newcomer Richard Stratton, who made a first-time bid for elective office. Stratton is an accountant for a health care center in Leeds.

Winning his first full, three-year term as selectman was Frank Morrison Jr., a retired contractor. He had finished a term begun by former Selectman Scott Gould.

Also winning re-election was Vicki Fimiani to a three-year term on the three-member Hanover School Committee.

Worcester said the Board of Selectmen will meet next week to choose a chairman/first selectman, and to set the tax rate.

Property owners pay $15.40 per $1,000 valuation now. Because the town has just completed a total property revaluation, Worcester said the new tax rate is likely to be about half the current rate.

Tax bills are expected to be mailed in early November, and payment is due by the end of June 2009.

Voters had approved a school budget at a special town meeting in June of $175,000. The total combined school and municipal budget for the town of about 260 people is $391,175.

At a selectmen’s meeting held prior to the town meeting, Worcester said the board unanimously voted to support the proposed administrative merger of SAD 43, Rumford. SAD 21, Dixfield, SAD 39, Buckfield, and the town of Hanover.

Hanover Selectman Brenda Gross has been the town’s representative on the Reorganizational Planning Committee that has been working out the details for a new merged school unit.

Worcester said the board voted to support the school merger largely because membership would provide a safety net for the small town.

He said if a student from Hanover should require special services, the cost to provide those services would be spread among all member districts rather than rest solely with the town.

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