MEXICO — Selectmen on Wednesday set public hearings on two issues residents will decide at next month’s election, as well as learned of plans to hike quarterly water rates by an average of 15 percent.

In addition to seven state articles, Mexico residents will decide whether to sell the former SAD 43 central office and determine whether the town should take out a bond for up to $2.9 million that would be used to repair or rebuild some of the town’s roads.

The public hearing is scheduled for 6 p.m., Oct. 21, at the town hall.

At issue is the fate of the c. 1960, two-story, nearly 12,000-square-foot former school district central office. It is located adjacent to the Mexico Recreation Center.

The board discussed various alternative uses during previous meetings before deciding to ask voters for permission to sell it. The school district no longer needs the building because the administration merged with neighboring former SAD 21 and SAD 39 to form the Western Foothills RSU 10 School District, housed in the central office in Dixfield.

The proposed road bond issue is the result of an increasing number of town maintained roads that need work and not enough money put into the road account each year. If approved, a low interest rate would be set and specific road work would be prioritized.

Voters will make their decisions on Nov. 3.

Town Manager John Madigan said a public hearing on a proposed water rate increase has been set for 6 p.m., Oct. 14, at the town hall. He said the last increase took place in 2003. It would go into effect for the first quarter of 2010.

The increase would boost the basic quarterly water rate from $42 to about $49.

Additional revenue would be used for water line work.

In other matters on Wednesday:

• Madigan said plans to build a boat ramp by the Department of Conservation had been delayed until next year because of the consistently high water during this summer and fall season.

• Selectmen awarded the contract for the replacement of the roof of the Mexico Public Library to Maida Construction of Minot at a cost of $7,600. Work is expected to be completed before snowfall.

• The public works department began its winter schedule this week with hours of 6 a.m. to 2 p.m.

• Selectmen awarded the contract for the purchase of heating oil to Hometown Energy Co. of Dixfield at a cost of 17 cents above rack price. Bids ranged from 17 cents above rack price to 25 cents above.

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