MINOT — Selectmen have made official recommendations on the proposed town budget that will be presented to voters at the March 6 annual town meeting.

The board’s recommendations are essentially in line with votes taken earlier by the Budget Committee and, except for support of a plan to conduct a property revaluation upgrade, would keep spending at the same level as the 2009 budget.

“The budget includes a 12-month pay freeze for all town employees,” Town Administrator Arlan Saunders said. “I met with each one individually and everyone is on board with this.” 

In order to keep spending at the 2009 level, large cuts had to be made to two projects. The recreation department’s request for $55,000 for the new Minot Memorial Park was cut to $27,000 and funding for the Hadfield Road rehab and paving project, estimated to cost $165,300, was eliminated.

Selectman Dean Campbell’s motion to reduce the Recreation Department’s request even more failed on a 3-2 vote. Selectman Dan Gilpatric argued that a deeper cut would eliminate money to pay for a Department of Environmental Protection permit for the overall development of nearly 150 acres of town land, including the land upon which the Town Office, Town Garage and Fire Department sit.

Selectmen also were addressed by U.S. Census Bureau recruiter Amy Smith who told the board that the bureau is still seeking temporary, part-time workers to assist with the 2010 census.

Smith said census questionnaires are being mailed out, but to assure as complete a documentation as possible, the bureau is hiring about 1,000 enumerators in southern Maine for door-to-door follow-up. Persons interested may call 1-866-861-2010 for particulars.

In other business, selectmen approved a request by historical archaeologists Pamela Crane and Peter Morrison to conduct an archaeological dig at the town-owned William Ladd Homestead.

Crane and Morrison received permission to continue the dig they began last spring with their class from the University of Southern Maine’s Lewiston-Auburn College. This year’s class is expected to begin work May 24.

Selectman Eda Tripp noted that last year’s class found bits of pottery and other artifacts dating to Ladd’s time and that Crane and Morrison have agreed to speak on their finds at the Minot Historical Society’s November meeting.

Selectmen were scheduled to sign a quitclaim deed and bill of sale transferring ownership of the Minot Consolidated School to Regional School Unit 16. However, they felt they could not because the document has the Minot School Department selling the school. The board noted that it is the town of Minot that owns the building and that the Minot School Department no longer exists.

“We don’t want to be difficult, but this needs to be right,” Campbell said.

Selectmen also announced awards from town-managed college scholarship funds: Arthur Harris scholarships will go to Ashton McIntosh and Whitney Stone; this year’s Roland and Noella Hemond scholarship goes to Lana Wheeler; and the Leonard Simion/Elsa Fortin-Simion scholarship goes to Stephanie Wallingford.

Selectmen announced the Town Office will close Friday, Jan. 29, at noon in order to close the books on the town’s fiscal year ending Jan. 31.

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