NEWRY — Selectmen on Tuesday night discussed changing the town fiscal year.

Newry holds its town meetings in March. It runs on a calendar year, January through December.

Selectman Wendy Hanscom said the town could go from October to April for its financial year, but “that’s a long stretch without collecting taxes.”

“Cash flow, is that the reason to do this (change)?” Selectman Jim Largess asked.

Administrator Loretta Powers said it was. “And we’ve had people ask, ‘How about going to two tax payments a year?'”

“We could bill half in July and half in December,” Hanscom said. “People want to pay in two installments instead of one big one.”

After throwing out several more possibilities, but not finding one they liked, Largess suggested he meet with Powers at the Town Office and find an option they both think will work and bring it to the next board meeting.

In other business, selectmen signed the warrant for a special town meeting at 6 p.m. Tuesday, May 19, to discuss and vote to approve a three-year winter/summer road contract.

The board approved a liquor license for the local golf course and had a lengthy discussion about the fee schedule posted on the town website. No one seemed to know where the prices came from or why those amounts were set on some of them.

Powers said former Planning Board Chairman Pat Roma brought it to her attention in March.

Former Selectman Brooks Morton, now a Planning Board member, said the previous Planning Board that he was on before he became a selectman did not set any of the fees.

Hanscom said she believes selectmen set the prices in 2009. Code Enforcement Officer Dave Bonney suggested eliminating all confusion by having one set price for appeals.

Selectmen decided to update the fee schedule, especially after Bonney said the town is charging a fee for road entrances but it doesn’t have a road entrance ordinance. He said the town needs such an ordinance to legally charge fees.

Bonney also said the board needs to fix the fee for floodplain permits. He suggested charging $50 for major permit fees and $25 for minor permit fees.

Powers also had a problem charging people for copies of town ordinances when people could download and print them for free off the town website.

Hanscom asked if someone could create a corrected fee schedule so the board could sign off on it at an upcoming meeting.

The board also went through its governing bylaws, correcting language and typos. At one point, Largess said the board isn’t following the current bylaws on some matters. “The bylaws ought to be what we do,” he said.

He took issue with a section that states selectmen’s decisions don’t take effect for 30 days. Hanscom said she’d rewrite the document, so the matter was tabled.

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Edited May 6 at 9:20 a.m. to include that Newry operates on a calendar year, from Jan. to Dec.


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