NEW SHARON — Voters approved an increase for the Fire Department during Saturday’s annual meeting, raising the proposed town budget by $17,000 to $909,978, an amount less than last year’s budget of $917,469.

Needed repairs, required to insure the fire station, prompted a citizen-requested $15,000 increase to the department’s budget of $60,100 to $75,100.

The increase provides a total of $20,000 for a new roof under building maintenance.

The firetrucks could be out in the cold come May due to a lack of insurance if significant repairs are not made, Selectmen Chairman Travis Pond said.

A Maine Municipal Association inspection claimed structural issues caused them to say they would let insurance on the building lapse, Pond said. An engineer said the structural issues were okay but the building is in need of repairs.

The board is waiting on other insurance quotes, Selectman Bob Neal said.

The town is currently looking at building options for both the fire station and town office, Sheriff Scott Nichols said as a member of the Building Committee.

While some considered a new roof a band-aid repair, voters agreed by a vote of 41-11 to spend the extra funds until a permanent solution is found.

The meeting, held at Cape Cod Hill School, started with about 120 voters electing officers by nominations from the floor. But they voted to change the way they will elect town officials in the future.

Voters approved the future use of nomination papers and secret ballot voting by a vote of 58-40. 

Selectperson Lorna Nichols was re-elected 71-48, defeating candidate Ben Smith.

Town Clerk/Tax Collector Pamela Griswold was re-elected and voters changed the positions from one-year to three-year terms.

Town Treasurer Erin Norton was re-elected by a vote of 77-29 over candidate Tracy Brackett.

John Pond was re-elected road commissioner, and David Ames was elected Water District trustee.

Voters approved terminating the assessment of personal property taxes for items such as tractors or business equipment as several other towns already do.

Some voters tried to express concern about selectmen choosing to leave a discount on tax payments off the warrant.

Selectmen felt everyone, including those on fixed incomes, paid taxes to cover the 3 percent discount given on taxes paid within 30 days but only a few received the discount, Pond said.

Moderator Thomas Saviello referred the voters to a board meeting, since it was not on the warrant.

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Voters at the New Sharon town meeting Saturday stand and hold up an orange slip to indicate their choice on a vote. A smaller group remained to make town decisions after the meeting broke for lunch.

Voters gathered to cast their ballot at the New Sharon town meeting Saturday held at Cape Cod Hill School.

New Sharon Town Clerk and Tax Collector Pamela Griswold casts a ballot during Saturday’s annual town meeting.

New Sharon Selectperson Lorna Nichols voices her reasons for seeking re-election during Saturday’s annual town meeting. 

New Sharon residents line up to cast their vote during Saturday’s annual town meeting.

Voters at the New Sharon town meeting Saturday stand and hold up an orange slip to indicate their choice on a vote. A smaller group remained to make town decisions after the meeting broke for lunch.

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