LIVERMORE FALLS — Voters rejected the administration article on Monday by a 32-36 vote during a special town meeting to reconsider articles that failed at the polls in June.

At first glance, the article’s failure leaves the town unable to pay its bills or payroll, Town Manager Kristal Flagg said after the meeting.

Only the treasurer can write checks, she said.

Voters approved an article in June that lets the town operate on last year’s budget, but the treasurer’s position was not in the administration article last year. It was in the elected officials’ budget but was moved in this year’s budget to the administrative account due to the treasurer’s position no longer being elected.

“I really don’t know what we’re going to do,” she said. She plans to get legal advice.

The article covers Flagg’s salary, the treasurer’s salary and the tax collector/clerk’s salary.

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The elected officials’ budget of $38,350 passed by a 34-31 vote on Monday. That covers selectmen and the assessing agent.

It took more than two hours for voters to consider 12 articles, including electing Darryl Brown to moderate the meeting. The proposed budget of $2.25 million is $47,774 less than last year.

Brown reminded residents more than once to act civilly toward each other and respect others.

It took three amendments and four votes to settle on $66,960, the original amount, for the capital improvements. It contains money for a dump body, cruiser, plow and self-contained breathing apparatus. The amendments ranged from reducing the account to $12,960 to $53,730.

A majority of the articles being revoted squeaked by, passing by two or three votes.

The code enforcement article for $15,108 passed 36-34.

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In a 34-32 vote, residents agreed to carry over $18,350 for the Fire Department for the second half of firefighters’ pay for last year. The vote also approved carrying over $25,000 for dangerous buildings. A local company tore down a vacant apartment building the first week of July. Rain delayed the project being done in June.

After some debate, voters approved the contractual article for $266,934. They also approved $26,590 for the second payment on a backhoe. Voters approved the purchase last year.

Voters also approved an amended floodplain management ordinance. The article that addressed errors the state made in the ordinance when it was approved in June had to be amended a second time at the meeting due to more incorrect wording by the state. Flagg said she received a letter Monday afternoon, notifying her there were more corrections.

Brown said because it was a technical amendment and did not change the enforcement or substance of the article, he would allow voters to vote on it.

Voters also approved the town withdrawing up to $15,000 from the undesignated fund to hire a consultant to help investigate whether a municipal tax-increment financing program would benefit the town. It would be based on an additional $17 million in valuation from the upgrade of Central Maine Power Co.’s substation on Moose Hill Road. The company would not benefit from the TIF, but the town could capture some tax dollars to pay for infrastructure improvements related to economic development in the town, Flagg said.

Voters also approved withdrawing $180,000 from the town’s fund balance, which are undesignated funds. Between an additional estimated $93,153 in unanticipated revenue and an estimated $71,000 in unspent funds in different town accounts, $164,185 was added to the undesignated account from last year, Flagg said.

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Withdrawing $180,000 would lower the tax commitment, she said. If that is not done, then the town would have to increase it, due to its share of RSU 73, which is rising $128,000 and getting less state revenue sharing. It would leave the fund at $969,737.65, she said.

Auditors recommend having three months’ worth of money on hand to pay bills, including town, school and county.

Some residents argued that they have been overtaxed and wanted their taxes to be lowered by the $180,000 rather than cover an increase.

The goal is to keep the tax rate at $20.80 per $1,000 of valuation, Flagg said.

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