MINOT — Voters at Saturday’s annual town meeting approved warrant articles that call for spending about $1.5 million — and that includes paying an Androscoggin County tax bill of more than $187,000.

“As near as I can figure it,” Selectman Eda Tripp said, “what we approved amounts to about $21,354 over last year, and I’d say that’s not bad.”

Requests to fund the basic operations of town government passed with virtually no opposition and little discussion.

The discussions that ensued revealed just how closely townspeople had examined the funding requests. One request that drew attention proposed spending $2,500 to pay for streetlights. This prompted a question not heard for several years:

“Just where are these lights?”

Town Administrator Arlan Saunders reported that the $2,500 pays for the electricity to power some 20 streetlights, generally located near road intersections, and the town’s one blinking traffic light at the junction of Center Minot Hill and Woodman Hill roads.

“It also pays for bulb replacements,” Saunders said. “I believe there’s one out in West Minot Village right now.”

The lone big-ticket item, which was approved, was the purchase of a new plow truck to replace the 1998 International — at a cost not to exceed $175,000 — with that amount financed over four years.

In response to a question about how much the town had spent during the past year to keep the 1998 International on the road, Saunders said repairs this winter had cost a good $5,000.

“That’s before the 12 to 15 thousand an outside estimator figures is needed now,” Saunders said.

Saunders hopes that the final price will be less than $175,000 — which is after trading in the 1998 International — and perhaps as low as $165,000.

Townspeople turned down a request for $35,000 to buy a new forestry truck to replace the Fire Department’s No. 5 truck.

“We viewed the request as more a want than a need,” Budget Committee member Matt Callahan said, explaining the committee’s recommendation against the purchase.

Fire Chief Dean Campbell noted that, according to the fire and rescue apparatus replacement schedule, truck No. 5 was due for replacement.

“That’s why it’s here,” he said.

Voters overwhelmingly supported a request for $275,000 for the summer road-paving program, an amount $5,000 greater than last year — which itself had been a substantial increase over the prior year — and which officials believe puts the paving program near what is realistically required to properly maintain the town’s 42 miles of roads.

Roads scheduled to be shimmed and overlaid with hot top this summer include Marston Hill Road, Death Valley Road between Harris and Brighton Hill roads, and Mountain View Drive.

Members of the Minot Historical Society used the occasion as a fundraiser, perking attendees up with coffee and an array of doughnuts and baked goods. Members sold other items, including raffle tickets for a quilt, the sum of which, Tripp pointed out, will go toward establishing the Rev. Elijah Jones’ old parsonage house as the society’s headquarters and archives.

Donald Verrill, a veteran of many a town meeting, termed Saturday’s meeting “most agreeable — no angry words, no shouting and no broken bones.”

Deputy Voter Registrar Wendy Gilpatric reported that 83 townspeople attended the meeting.


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