BUCKFIELD — Once again, voters rejected funding for administration and the Zadoc Long Free Library during this week’s secret ballot referendum.

Funding the administration office failed, 60-92, while the article for the library lost 72-82.

Both budgets will revert back to the 2019-20 funding levels.

Residents had originally rejected funding the two departments at August’s Town Meeting. The Select Board lowered the funding request and sent it back to voters.

The request for the administrative offices was cut by nearly $20,000 by eliminating raises, salary adjustments and delaying spending money for preserving historical records for a year., but a similar percentage of voters, 60%, also rejected that amount.

The board had cut more than $3,500 from the library by eliminating the purchase of a computer and salary adjustments, but that was not enough to convince voters.

Voters did accept lower funding levels for the Rescue Department by a vote of 82-73 and the Old Church on the Hill, 105-49.  Both of those requests were defeated earlier at the Town Meeting.

Voters apparently liked that the rescue department cut nearly $4,000 from its fuel budget and decided not to ask for money to purchase a used ambulance and two self-loading stretchers.

The Old Church on the Hill, built in 1831-32 and formerly the Union Church at 77 High St., cut its budget by $9,000 from an original $11,000 request.

Two other referendum questions passed — the purchase of up to three plow trucks for $180,000 by a vote of 94-59, and to pay engineering services to stabilize the sand/salt building by a vote of 97-57. But the request to lease a sidewalk machine was defeated by a 60-93 margin.

Tuesday’s vote was originally scheduled as an open vote during a special town meeting, but the Select Board changed that to a secret ballot referendum after hearing an outcry from residents concerned about holding a meeting during the coronavirus pandemic.

The special referendum was required after residents defeated 10 of the 54 articles on the August referendum ballot.

The Select Board will meet Tuesday to review the administration and library budgets line-by-line to cut the budgeted amount to match last year’s level.


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