STRONG — Selectmen on Tuesday evening began their two-month review of the 2016 revenues and expenses in preparation for the 2017 budget and March town meeting.

The board discussed combining several warrant articles that are closely related and in similar categories.

Selectman Dick Worthley said he had reviewed many area towns’ warrants and suggested other selectmen do also.

“Phillips had 55 articles, Farmington had 41 and Kingfield had 40,” he said. “We had 64 articles last year.”

Selectmen discussed articles that could be combined in a single category and budget amount. They also suggested voters might approve a contingency fund so selectmen wouldn’t have to call a special town meeting for unexpected expenses.

The town’s fiscal year runs from January to December. The town meeting is in March, tax bills are sent out in August, and the town’s fiscal obligations for the Regional School Unit 58 budget and Franklin County won’t be available until late spring or summer of 2017.

The selectmen’s budget must include anticipated revenues and expenses from Jan. 1 until the March town meeting. Those budget discussions will be open to the public at 6 p.m. on the second and fourth Tuesday of each month at the Town Office.

In other matters, Susan Ellsworth, chairwoman of the Lance Corporal Scott Paul Memorial Town Park volunteer committee, and Rodney Spiller, an instructor in the Farmington-based Foster Career and Technical Education Center’s forestry and agriculture programs, presented ideas for maintaining the property.

At the last board meeting, Ellsworth expressed frustration about the declining number of park volunteers and the selectmen’s request that she meet the requirements of the town’s insurance company for maintenance and repairs.

At the March town meeting, voters approved $1,500 for portable toilets, electricity and light maintenance by the town custodian. Ellsworth and volunteers have raised funds for several building projects, including play areas for children and a stairway to memorialize a local fallen soldier.

Selectman Rob Elliott had been appointed the liaison for the park, but Selectmen James Burrill and Dick Worthley became involved when insurance issues surfaced.

Spiller suggested students might be a big help in solving the current problems.

“I went up and walked the property and saw some trees that could come down and some brush that could be cleared,” he said. “I also talked to the building trades people about maybe building some type of playhouse, and they were all for it.”

Spiller said students at the technology center learn skills by doing the work.

The school assumes liability for the students’ work, and they earn certificates in specific areas that stress safe work habits. For the park, forestry program students could fell some of the larger older trees and saw them into boards with the school’s equipment.

Selectmen approved allowing the students to work on the park as soon as Spiller could organize the work program.

In other news, Town Office Manager Sandra Mitchell said she has mailed 14 foreclosure notices on properties with unpaid 2014 taxes.


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