NEW SHARON — Voters at Saturday’s 6½-hour annual town meeting decided to keep intact the way they elect town and school officials, Selectman Forrest Bonney said after the meeting.

Residents considered 59 articles at Cape Cod Hill School, in approving a $850,315 municipal budget. That was reduced “pretty close” to what it was last year after voters approved taking $70,000 from surplus to buy down the tax rate, Bonney said.

“We had a bigger turnout than usual at 211 voters,” he said. “Usually, we have about 140 voters, but most of them came out for the selectmen election, because after it ended, most of them left.”

New Sharon takes nominations from the floor. Bonney said challenger Travis Pond defeated longtime Selectman Maynard Webster by a tally of 127-83. The crowd gave Webster a standing ovation for serving as selectman for 38 years.

Running unopposed and winning re-election were Travis Pond’s son, John Pond, as road commissioner; Susan Anneley as town clerk and tax collector, and Bonnie Lehigh as treasurer.

Voters modified Article 3, which asked how much money they wanted to raise for salaries of town officers for the ensuing year.

Bonney said the town clerk and treasurer had asked for raises but voters turned them down. Additionally, Travis Pond made an amendment to reduce the salary for selectmen from $7,000 each to $5,000 each and that was approved.

Bonney said that since voters elected Travis Pond instead of Webster, who was the town’s assessor, Pond wanted to use the money saved from the selectmen’s salary reduction to hire an outside assessor.

Article 14 asked if residents wanted to vote by secret ballot on referendum questions, and Article 15 asked if they wanted to make those running for selectmen, Regional School Unit 9 directors and any other elected positions submit nomination papers at least 45 days prior to the election. Voting would have taken place the day before the annual meeting.

Bonney said there was a long discussion with several possibilities considered before they were voted down. He said voters figured it would cost them more money to create ballots 45 days out and to hold a separate election.

Another change came in social services articles, which Bonney said was surprising coming from “this financially conservative crowd.”

Resident Terry McManus suggested amending the Safe Voices request for $1,000 to $2,500 and amending the Literacy Volunteers request from $100 to $500. Both amendments were approved.

Voters also adopted a proposed recall ordinance and a minimum lot size ordinance.

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