MEXICO — The Board of Selectmen continued discussion Tuesday night on the legalities of a recently approved tax ordinance that, if voted through by residents, would place a cap on the operating costs of the town.

Before the board approved the ordinance at the April 30 board meeting, Selectman George Byam suggested that the town get a legal opinion on whether the ordinance would take effect in 2013 or 2014.

Resident Albert Aniel, who created the ordinance, said that the ordinance would “cap the operating cost of the town at $2,726,731, which is a 10 percent decrease in the previous year’s operating cost.”

Town Manager John Madigan said that the town lawyer’s opinion was that the tax ordinance would not take effect until the 2014 – 2015 fiscal year.

“I’m sure it is far too late to have this ordinance be passed in effect for the 2013/2014 fiscal year,” the lawyer wrote in an email to the selectmen. “Accordingly, I believe this proposed ordinance, as amended, can only be applied to the 2014/2015 fiscal year.”

Aniel said that he would be sending the town’s legal opinion to his own lawyer to get a second opinion, as he sees “no reason why the town cannot work something out if it’s voted through by the people.”

“It’s going to take some imagination, some sharing of services with other towns,” Aniel said. “We’ll have to put our thinking caps on.”

Madigan later said that he personally believed if people agreed to vote the ordinance through, it “would kill the town.”

“What happens if there’s an emergency?” Madigan asked. “You’re going to ask us to live within an arbitrary number.”

Aniel replied that this is “not a 50 percent or 60 percent decrease we’re asking for.”

“It’s a 10 percent decrease,” Aniel continued, “and I think it’s manageable if we all work together.”

Later in the meeting, the board unanimously voted to put the proposed tax ordinance on the warrant for the annual town meeting without a selectmen recommendation.

Before the vote, Madigan explained that selectmen normally place their personal recommendation beside each warrant article. However, Aniel said that he felt it would “be discriminatory to put the recommendation alongside the warrant article.”

“I really don’t want the townspeople to have an endorsement of this petition, whether it’s positive or negative,” Aniel said.

Selectman Byron Ouellette agreed and said that normally, voters will side with what the selectmen place as their recommendation.

In other business, Chairman Richie Philbrick presented Selectman Reggie Arsenault with a five-year service recognition award.

Philbrick explained to the board that since Arsenault was unable to attend the award ceremony, Madigan accepted it on Arsenault’s behalf.

“The one time you don’t show up at the meeting and you win an award,” Philbrick said to Arsenault with a smile.

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