BUCKFIELD — The Select Board may gain two members if residents approve the proposal at next month’s town meeting.

The board held a public hearing Tuesday night to inform residents and answer questions on the 54 articles that will be presented to voters at the town meeting Aug. 25. Article 53 asks residents if they wish to increase the number of board members from three to five. If they do, it would be effective next year.

Buckfield first discussed raising the number of selectpersons two years ago, Town Manager Joe Roach said.

“Recently, talk of it rekindled,” Roach said Wednesday morning. “The public had been talking about it. The board talked about it in the last month and decided to place it on the warrants.”

Due to COVID-19 concerns, the vote on the warrants will be done by ballot at the town meeting.

Voters will decide on the $1.9 million municipal budget. Only on a few of the articles did the board and Budget Committee disagree on the proposed amount.

A couple of residents at Tuesday’s public hearing asked how voters would know the differences. Departments with different amounts include administration, Fire Department, Rescue Department, Zadoc Long Free Library and the Old Church on the Hill account.

Roach said he would, with approval from the board, insert a paper in the annual town report describing the differences between the two numbers.

The Budget Committee made no recommendation on the town purchasing a used ambulance, the sand/salt building construction project at the public works complex and the purchase of a used multiuse sidewalk machine and a new truck, which would replace a 2005 model.

Much discussion centered on the sidewalk machine, which would plow snow and brush sand from the town’s sidewalk. Roach said buying a new one would be cost prohibitive, but purchasing a used machine for up to $12,000 could save the town money. The town budgets $6,000 to rent a machine.

Some residents expressed concern that a used machine would have no warranty and would leave the town with no options to clean the sidewalks. Also, if the article is defeated, there is no extra money in next year’s budget to pay for a machine rental.

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