BUCKFIELD — One day after the town averted what one selectman described as a potential “crisis,” the Select Board and Town Manager John Andrews got back to business Monday, including announcing the date of the Town Office’s reopening to the public.

The board held an unusual emergency meeting Sunday afternoon to meet with Andrews in executive session. According to a social media post by Selectman Martha Catevenis, Andrews was planning to resign over differences with the board.

Andrews was hired in November 2020.

Andrews and the board reportedly worked out their differences during the executive session and have agreed to work together.

“The town manager withdrew his resignation, and the board committed to a more united front concerning the town,” Catevenis posted on the Facebook page People of Buckfield in response to questions from residents about the purpose for the emergency meeting.

John Andrews

Catevenis had earlier posted, “The town manager and the board decided to work together … crisis averted.”

Andrews released a statement Monday, which chairwoman Tina Brooks said would be sufficient for her as well.

“The board and town manager had a much needed crucial conversation to chart a path forward together,” the statement said. “We came out of the meeting a stronger and united team that’s ready to continue to work hard for the town of Buckfield.”

To further that goal, some of the town’s duties were divided among the the three select board members.  Brooks will work on tax collection and assessor issues, Catevenis will work with treasury and transfer station issues, and Cheryl Coffman will help with election setup and process.

During Monday’s meeting, the board agreed to reopen the Town Office, which had been closed to the public since Nov. 17, except by appointment. Beginning Wednesday, March 31, the Town Office will be open to walk-in visitors every Wednesday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Thursdays from noon to 8 p.m.

Andrews reported that the 2009 International Workstar 7400 plow truck, which the town purchased for $32,500 in December, is out of commission and requires an engine overhaul. The town manager said the truck had worked well this winter until the recent issue.

He is seeking more estimates to repair the engine, one early estimate came in at approximately $14,000. The board should have more details at its next meeting.

The town is scheduled to received about $20,000 from the American Rescue Plan. One allowable use for the money is to improve broadband connection, which Andrews is seeking information on to bring back to the board.

A second phone line has been added to the Town Office, which was formerly an extra line at the fire and rescue department. The town parking lot will be striped this spring with money in the budget and performed by the Public Works Department.

The Select Board approved the resignation of Michael Averill from the Budget Committee and accepted the removal of Sandra Perkins, who has moved away, leaving the committee with five of seven members.

The Select Board agreed with a proposal from the committee to change the makeup of the committee from seven members to five, which will make it easier for the committee to meet with a quorum.

The Budget Committee is scheduled to meet Tuesday night to discuss the proposed 2021-22 budget. According to Andrews, the budget looks like a 1.18% increase over this year, due to an expected 1.4% rise for the schools and a small increase in the Oxford County assessment.


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