DIXFIELD — Voters at Wednesday night’s special town meeting overwhelmingly approved four budgets for town accounts, three weeks after rejecting them.

The meeting at Dirigo High School drew 50 residents, far fewer than the approximately 750 who cast ballots for the 2015-16 municipal budget June 9 at the polls.

On Wednesday, voters, by a show of hands, approved $302,113 for the Executive Department, $165,901 for Regional Expenses, $217,000 for Reserve Funds and $151,695 for Debt Service.

The amounts rejected June 9 were: $302,113 for Executive Department; $166,901 for Regional Expenses; $265,735 for Reserve Funds; and $151,695 for Debt Service.

At the start of the meeting, Board of Selectmen Chairman Hart Daley made a motion for the articles to be decided by a secret ballot, but it was defeated, 21-22.

A majority of discussion was on the Executive Department budget. Selectmen said they stuck with the same amount as June 9 because they didn’t want to cut it without hearing from residents.


Scott Belskis made a motion for $285,000 and it was seconded by Selectman Dana Whittemore.

Resident and state Rep. Richard Pickett asked Belskis where the figure came from.

“The amount of money that was expended last year in the Executive Department was about $270,000,” Belskis said. “I took the unspent balance and added in any increases in health insurance and wages that needed to be accounted for.”

Barry Prescott asked Town Manager Carlo Puiia if reducing the budget $17,000 would result in a loss of services.

“Any cuts in the budget would likely result in a loss of services,” Puiia said. “Throwing out a number that hasn’t been discussed by the Board of Selectmen is dangerous. When you see money left over in an account, it’s something that should be commended. We did a good job of keeping that budget lower than anticipated.”

Puiia said the town would have 53 pay weeks this year, which would increase the amount for wages.


“There are a lot of increases to take into consideration when looking at the Executive Department budget, which is why, in my opinion, you couldn’t lower the budget any more without cutting into services,” Puiia said.

“I’m looking at 12 months of 2016 bills, not 12 months of bills from 2015,” he said. “We may not have spent all of our Executive Department budget last year, which is great, but we need to be able to anticipate increases for next year, not look back at what we did last year.”

After 20 minutes of discussion, Whittemore withdrew his second and Belskis withdrew his motion.

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