WELD — About 45 residents spent 4½ hours considering 19 articles at the town meeting Saturday.

They approved a $406,503 municipal budget, of which $188,353 will be raised through taxation. The remainder will be taken from other accounts, such as excise tax and surplus. The budget is $28,747 less than last year’s budget of $435,250.

Voters kept the property tax levy limit at $188,353 with a 34-3 written ballot vote.

There was considerable discussion about what to do with $45,341 in proceeds from the sale of Weld Elementary School. The school was closed in 2008 and sold by auction in 2009. Last year, voters agreed to roll the money over into a certificate of deposit. That $45,341 CD will mature on April 22.

Resident Laureen Pratt motioned to withdraw $25,000 from the CD to be deposited into a new account for repairs and improvements of town buildings. She wanted the remaining money reinvested in a CD.

In the article, selectmen had recommended establishing the new account but didn’t fund it with anything. Board of Selectmen Chairman Tom Skolfield said the town should put the money into infrastructure, such as the Town Hall.

The Town Hall was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2007. It was erected by the Weld Masonic Lodge between 1922 and 1926 and has been owned by the town of Weld since 1940.

Resident Ed Hutchinson said the Town Hall desperately needs a chairlift for elderly residents to get to the second floor.

“I’ve been climbing these stairs for 55 years,” Hutchinson said. “Fix this building up like it should be.”

Selectmen had recommended adding a chairlift, expected to cost $5,000; upgrading the building to comply with handicapped-accessibility laws; installing new windows; performing an electrical upgrade; replacing exit side doors and trimming around the roof.

Others wanted money taken from the school sale and put toward a scholarship for future schoolchildren.

Selectman Wayne Dubois said money could be raised at any time to establish a scholarship fund.

Selectman Skolfield suggested doing something with the money “that would help kids that are alive right now.”

A show of hands approved Pratt’s motion 20-19, so a written ballot was requested. That confirmed the approval, 23-20. However, it only created the new account.

The $25,000 was added in Article 9, when residents approved raising or appropriating $193,757 for general government. Of that $193,757, Pratt wanted $65,850 raised through taxation and the rest appropriated from other accounts.

Voters appropriated $176,430 for Public Works from estimated excise tax, six equipment accounts and the Local Roads Assistance Program.

Following a 30-minute lunch served in the Town Hall, resident Mike Graham motioned to raise $30,000 to create an equipment account for future purchases, including trucks and tractors. The motion was approved.

Voters also agreed to take $20,000 from surplus to replace the engine in the 1999 Ford firetruck, which has a cracked block and is losing antifreeze.

In Friday’s election, Selectman Wayne DuBois received 34 votes to win re-election to a three-year term; Thomas Wheeler got 11 votes and was elected to a five-year term on the Planning Board; and Nancy Crosby got 33 votes to be an RSU 9 school board director.

[email protected]


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.