STRONG — Voters in March will elect a selectman and two school board directors.

Town Clerk Betsy DuBois told the Board of Selectmen on Tuesday night that former selectmen Richard Worthley and Gerald “Mike” Pond have returned the required number voter signatures and will be on the March 20 ballot. Selectman Rodney Spiller has declined to run for another term.

Maine School Administrative District 58 directors Lois Barker and Jessie Stinchfield are unopposed candidates for three-year terms. The budget committee lacks a candidate for a four-year seat, so voters can elect a write-in candidate.

In other matters, selectmen and several budget committee members continued their review of the 2019 budget year costs to run the town, and they debated anticipated costs for the 2020 budget to be put before taxpayers March 21 at the town meeting.

Selectmen calculate each annual budget to includes funds to run the town for the first three months of the following fiscal year. Thus, the 2019 budget included funding for the first three months of 2020.

Town Treasurer Sandra Mitchell said she will meet the town’s auditor soon to review the past year’s expenditures and submit final costs to selectmen.

Selectmen agreed the highway department’s equipment and vehicles have lasted for many decades, and some have outlived their usefulness or are too costly to repair. The replacement purchase price far exceeds the original costs, and reserve accounts are running low, they said.

Selectman Andy Pratt suggested they ask voters to rebuild the equipment reserve account rather than borrowing money at high interest rates because of urgent the necessity. Saving, as opposed to borrowing, saves money in the long run by eliminating costly extra interest payments, he said.

“The town is digging out of a hole,” Pratt said.

The board agreed to meet at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 4, to continue with budget deliberations.


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