DIXFIELD – The Board of Selectmen unanimously voted to schedule a special town meeting for 6 p.m. Wednesday, July 1, to vote on the four budget items rejected at the June 9 referendum.

The budgets were for Executive Department, Regional Expenses, Reserve Funds and Debt Service.

Newly-elected board Chairman Hart Daley said that “after the June 9 election, I expressed my own personal frustrations with the Executive Department budget being rejected.

“I thought that we had scrutinized that budget even beyond what the Finance Committee had done, and had trimmed everything that we could in the budget, short of reducing the wage and benefit line items,” Daley said.

The Board of Selectmen recommended $302,113 for the Executive Department, while the Finance Committee recommended $306,513. The requested amount was $317,197.

Daley later pointed out that during a straw poll at the April town meeting, residents had overwhelmingly voted against keeping the Town Office open for four days a week instead of five.

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“It’s kind of confusing to see the residents vote overwhelmingly against reducing our services, and then see them vote down the Executive Department budget,” Daley said. “I don’t want to see my taxes go up either, but I also think we’ve cut as much as we can from this budget without getting rid of services.”

Town Manager Carlo Puiia said, “It does send a puzzling message to vote against reducing services and then reject that particular budget.”

Selectman Norman Mitchell suggested the board put the same budget before the residents July 1 to give them a chance to ask questions and suggest reductions.

Selectman Eugene Skibitsky said he would be “uncomfortable approving any reductions from the Executive Department budget without hearing what the people had to say. I just wouldn’t want to cut anymore from the budget than we have to.”

“It’s like pruning a tree and leaving no limbs,” Selectman Mac Gill said.

Selectmen also unanimously voted to place amended versions of the Regional Expenses, Reserve Funds and Debt Service budgets before residents July 1.

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The selectmen agreed to reduce the Reserve Funds budget from $247,000 to $240,000 by eliminating $5,000 from the state valuation line item, and $1,000 each from the recently added library and town office building maintenance line items.

In other business, selectmen voted 4-0 to elect Daley as chairman and Dana Whittemore as vice chairman.

Gill said he “hopes this year that, with the windmill business behind us, we can be a more inclusive board.”

“Under your leadership, I hope to see no illegal meetings, no name-calling, and all of us working together as a solid unit,” Gill told Daley. “If you’re elected as chairman, will you do that?”

“Absolutely,” Daley replied.

Prior to the votes, newly elected Selectman Eugene Skitbitsky made a motion to nominate Gill as chairman.

Gill laughed and said, “I’ll respectfully decline that nomination, but I appreciate it.”

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