SABATTUS — The Board of Selectmen voted unanimously Tuesday night to set the 2020 property tax rate at $17.75 per $1,000 of assessed value, the same as this year.

“We went down a dollar in 2018, and kept the mill rate the same last year and again this year,” board Chairman Mark Duquette said. “And we’ve still been buying things and paying things off.”

The board agreed the town’s finances are in good shape.

Selectmen also discussed the future of the former Cushman Tavern at 921 Middle Road on the Lisbon-Sabattus line.

At a joint hearing of both towns in September 2018, it was agreed owner Pamela McGuire would have 30 days to demolish the building or it would become the towns’ responsibility.

Lisbon and Sabattus officials were hoping someone would try to save the building’s art and artifacts, but after almost a year nothing has been done, according to Sabattus Town Manager Anthony Ward.

“We can only go so far,” he said. “Then it’s time to move on.”

The board voted to put out a request for demolition proposals.

Also on Tuesday, the board discussed a building at 71 Riley Road that is considered unsafe. Code Enforcement Officer Dennis Douglass said he has spoken with the owner, Robert Elwell, and agreed to give him 90 days to bring the house up to code.

“It meets the dangerous building criteria set by the state,” Douglass said. “The building has been like that for a very long time.”

Elwell became the owner five years ago, and neighbor Leah Vanidestine said the only work he has done has been to cut down a tree.

“It’s been vacant going on seven years,” she said.

Douglass said he has been working with Elwell, but if the work is not done in 90 days, the town will proceed with the process of declaring it a dangerous building.


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