EUSTIS – The one article that drew a contentious line of questions at town meeting Saturday had to do with the winter roads account jumping from $90,000 last year to $150,000.

One reason, Selectman Jay Wyman explained to the nearly 40 people in attendance, was an overdraft from last season.

Wyman said the other reason was that only one bid was received last fall at $120,000, up from a previous contract for $69,400. Wyman explained that based on the time of year the bids were received, they had to go with contractor Absolute Services. He also said the town would be at risk if it issued a new request for proposals and no one bid and they received snow. Or the same bidder came back with a much higher price knowing it was the only contractor.

“If we tried to do it ourselves, it would have cost as much as three times that,” Wyman said.

Questions led to frustration for resident Ron Barker when Wyman explained why the town gave the contractor some money upfront to purchase new equipment.

“This wasn’t standard practice and nothing that we’ve done before and was the first time we were asked,” Wyman said.

“I built this building here for $360,000,” Barker said. “I had to front my own money to do it. When I asked you guys about getting some money upfront and in advance, I was shot down.”

Wyman countered that a plowing contract is different from building construction and the way it is set with banks. He also said he cleared this decision through the Maine Municipal Association.

“That person was bonded, so if we had a problem we would have got our money back,” Wyman said.

Three voters opposed the budget, although there was no escaping the costs, Wyman said.

Jane Wilkinson was re-elected to the Board of Selectmen with 25 votes to one write-in. Thomas MacDonald was unchallenged and will serve another three-year term on the SAD 58 school board. Daphne Harp, Lori Lemont and Marguerite Robichaurd were elected to the town’s Planning Board.

The administration budget was up slightly, at $162,800. The protection budget was approved at $170,700, up this year due to costs associated with funding a Fire Equipment Reserve.

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