PERU — Selectmen voted Monday to deny a citizens’ petition asking that the June 8 vote to not exceed the state spending cap be reaffirmed.

In addition to the 177 people who had originally signed the petition, 40 more signatures were collected bringing the total to 217, according to Bill Hine, who was one of the original petitioners.

Selectman Corey Jacques said they had approached Maine Revenue Services and Maine Municipal Association for advice after receiving the petition last week.

Mike Rogers, supervisor of municipal services for Maine Revenue Services, said the vote to exceed the state cap was passed at the second meeting and the current commitment was legal.

Becky Warren Seel, senior staff attorney for MMA Legal Services, said any attempt to alter the amount of property taxes must occur before taxes are committed. MMA advised the Board of Selectmen to reject the petition.

The town voted 271-207 on June 8 not to exceed the state’s spending limit law, but a subsequent vote of 32-30 on June 28 allowed it to be exceeded by $125,000. Most of the money would be for road improvements.

Former Selectman Jim Pulsifer said the June 28 meeting was legal.

“There were 62 people there, which is about the same that we had at our annual town meetings before we went to referendum. The people that come represent the people who don’t show up,” Pulsifer said.

Jacques said they had held several informational meetings that people could have attended before the vote.

Jacques said most of the money in the override was for tarring roads. He said maintenance was necessary for emergency vehicles as well as personal safety.

Selectman Tim Holland said if they didn’t maintain the roads, it would be the same as not putting oil in your car.

Marie Eastman argued that the country is in the biggest depression since the 1920s, and the board should look at other areas to cut.

Pulsifer told the group that next year, they should not approve the articles if they didn’t want to spend the money.

In other news, Road Commissioner Joe Roach gave the board a list of roads that needed repairs for cracks in asphalt and which came in just under his budget.

Secretary Kathy Hussey said she was still receiving information on proposals for removing mold from the Community Building.

Holland said there is a mess of debris in Worthley Brook and removing it will require lots of help, including a small tractor with a logger’s winch or a long rope. A cleanup is set for 9 a.m. Saturday.

The brook is an outlet from Worthley Pond and a tributary to the Androscoggin River.

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