INDUSTRY — Voters at town meeting Saturday elected a selectman and set the annual municipal budget at $508,415, an increase of $51,471 over last year.

Stewart Durrell bested Connie Webb 27-14 in voting to fill the selectman seat vacated by Dovey Balsam.

Included in the town’s costs for 2019, voters raised and appropriated $75,000 for care and maintenance of winter roads and $75,000 for summer roads. Selectmen were asked to investigate the options to reduce streetlight costs.

Webb asked whether the town could increase pay and attract more volunteers to the Fire Department. She noted that voters in the town of Norridgewock recently approved applying for a federal grant to address the same issues of adequate staffing.

“Let’s face it,” Webb said,  “Our town isn’t getting any younger, and our homes aren’t getting any better.”

Assistant Fire Chief Kevin Gurney said voters have to approve applying for a federal Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response grant. If the grant were approved, the town also would have to agree beforehand to pay 25 percent of a new firefighter’s salary and all of the benefits, he said.

Many of these federal Department of Homeland Security grants go to towns that have a higher need, and applicants don’t have any guarantee of getting funding, Gurney said. The town has applied for and received grants in the past, he said, but the Industry Fire Department would have to specify the intended use for any funds.

“We had a few years when we got funding for a tanker truck and turnout gear,” he said. “It’s always a shot in the dark.”

The annual town report was dedicated to Charlie Churchill, who has been the town’s recycling station attendant for many years.

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