CANTON — Voters approved all 47 articles at Thursday night’s annual town meeting, including $10,000 for the snowmobile club, $10,000 for the Bicentennial Committee and $5,000 for cleaning and repairing headstones.

Selectman Brian Keene, a member of the Canton Hi-Riders Snowmobile Club, said the club’s grooming equipment is getting to the point of being beyond repair.

The club has a Tucker Sno-Cat and two Jeeps and last year all of the machines were down at least two or three weeks, he said.

Canton residents listen to presentations at the annual town meeting Thursday night. Rumford Falls Times photo by Marianne Hutchinson

“The Tucker is in pretty sad shape,” Keene said. “It needs the motor completely ripped out and torn down, so basically the motor needs a rebuild” and the transfer case is leaking

The club’s first priority is to use the $10,000 to fix the Tucker Snow-Cat.

A few residents asked why club members wasn’t raising money and thought if the town gave it money other clubs might also ask for some.

Keene said the club receives a municipal grant every year, along with a grant that helps pay for grooming trails.

“The two of those put together last year was right around $10,000,” he said. “On a normal year we go between $10,000 and 12,000 in fuel and repairs.”

Selectman Don Hutchins, who said he is not a member of the snowmobile club, supported the request.

All fall and most of the winter, club members work hard keeping trails open, he said. And because the ITS 89 snowmobile trail runs through Canton, the town has much to gain from snowmobilers stopping to make purchases, he said.

“Any revenue that we can bring into this town and any more people we can bring into this town will basically give an opportunity for somebody to say, ‘I might want to build a house here,’” Hutchins said.

Before voting to give the Bicentennial Committee money for its August 2021 celebration, Canton Historical Society member Phyllis Ouellette said the committee had raised $8,500 since September 2016 toward its goal of $19,000. The three-day event will include a parade, craft fair, children’s activities, a firemen’s muster, a concert and fireworks, she said.

The committee’s goal, she said, it to make the celebration free for everyone.

Voters were told the $5,000 for cleaning and repairing headstones will be used at 11 town cemeteries.

Residents Anne Chamberlin and Prudy Adams said that since the cemetery work began in early May, they and Robyn McClintock, Selectman Carole Robbins and others have cleaned 153 headstones in Hillside, Pine Grove and Meadowview cemeteries.

Adams said they also cleaned the statue of the Union solider in the center of town.

At the cemeteries, they found the gravestones of people important in Canton’s history. They include Gustavus Hayford, the first settler of Canton, buried at Pine Grove Cemetery; Albion E. Bradbury, who donated money for the Bradbury chapel built in 1908, buried at Hillside Cemetry; and Joseph Holland, donor of three-quarters of an acre of Hillside Cemetery, according to Adams.

“We’ve researched who these people are that we didn’t know,” McClintock said. “They are a big part of the Canton history; the first families that came from Jay to Canton Point.”

The group plans to use the $5,000 to clean and repair headstones in the town’s 10 other cemeteries.

In other action, voters approved a municipal budget of $2.34 million for 2019-20.

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Canton residents listen to speakers at Thursday night’s annual town meeting. Rumford Falls Times photo by Marianne Hutchinson




Anne Chamberlin addresses voters at the annual town meeting in Canton on Thursday evening about repairs being made to headstones in town cemeteries. Rumford Falls Times photo by Marianne Hutchinson.

Canton Budget Committee members attend the annual town meeting Thursday night. From left are Robyn McClintock, Faith Hutchins, Rick Ray and Donna Hebert. Rumford Falls Times photo by Marianne Hutchinson

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