MINOT — Selectmen on Monday restated their support for the Androscoggin County Budget Committee in its lawsuit against commissioners on who should have the last word on county commissioners’ pay.

The board was reacting to a letter from Beth Bell, chairwoman of the Androscoggin County Commission. 

Minot is one of 12 county towns that joined in a lawsuit charging that commissioners violated either the county charter or state law when they voted to set their salaries and benefits.

Buoyed by voter support on Nov. 3 for the commissioners’ proposed charter amendment, which was intended to settle the question of whether commissioners or the Budget Committee had final say over the budget, Bell sent letters to municipal officers, urging them to drop their suit.

Selectmen did not find Bell’s arguments persuasive and, on a motion by Eda Tripp and seconded by Daniel Callahan Jr., the board responded by unanimously approving a statement supporting the county Budget Committee and its chairwoman, Emily Darby, and stand behind all facets in the lawsuit.

In other matters, Tripp said there are 15 properties with unpaid property taxes for 2013, 49 with unpaid property taxes for 2014 and 730 properties with unpaid property taxes for 2015.

She said the 730 property owners have until Jan. 15 to pay the taxes to avoid having interest and late fees applied to their bill.

The total in unpaid taxes is $1,512,441. Town Administrator Arlan Saunders said that’s almost equal to the $1.7 million the town pays Regional School Unit 16 this fiscal year.

In other business, selectmen:

* Signed a deed for the sale of the Sutcliffe property on Bog Brook to Steve Holbrook;

* Accepted, but took no action on, proposals to provide municipal legal services from Skelton, Taintor & Abbott of Auburn, and Trafton, Matzen, Belleau & Frenette of Auburn; 

* Accepted a report from Code Enforcement Officer Ken Pratt that found John Varney’s property complies with the land use ordinance; and

* Discussed how the sale of the Center Minot Grange building might impact the Fire Department’s radio antenna.


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