MINOT — Selectmen on Monday night unanimously endorsed the preliminary 2020 municipal budget of $1.66 million, but differed on purchasing a backhoe for the highway department.

The budget and backhoe question will go to voters at the annual town meeting March 7.

Board Chairman Steve French, Vice Chairman Daniel Gilpatric and Selectperson Brittany Hemond voted for the article to buy a new backhoe for up to $120,000 and financing it for up to three years.

Selectman Lisa Cesare did not, voicing concerns with the interest rate and overlapping debt. She said she believed the town should consider buying a used backhoe instead, which is estimated at about $85,000.

Selectman Daniel Callahan abstained from voting.

The board learned that the Androscoggin County tax will be 11.3% higher next year, or $27,824 more than this year’s assessment of $245,926.

Selectmen also voted to appropriate $75,000 from the Undesignated Fund Balance to establish a Revaluation Reserve account. The town will undergo a revaluation in 2021 for an expected $150,000.

Selectmen also agreed to use the cable franchise fees to expand broadband service. The town collected more than $18,000 in fees in 2019.

Fire Chief Jim Allen and Deputy Chief Norman Gurschick told the board they will be writing grant proposals for $100,000, $25,000 and $10,000 for air packs, including air cylinders, rescue tools and fire equipment such as protective gear and new hoses.

The $100,000 and $10,000 grant would require a match of $5,000 each, while no matching money would be required for the $25,000 grant.

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