WELD — Proposals to pay selectmen an annual stipend instead of an hourly rate and raise Planning Board members’ stipend are among the articles on Saturday’s annual Town Meeting warrant.

The meeting begins at 10 a.m. at the Town Hall.

The three selectmen are paid $12.15 an hour, and the proposal is to pay the chairman $2,000 annually and the other members $1,500 each annually.

Former board Chairman Tom Skolfield made the suggestion for an annual sum, Chairman Richard Doughty said this month.

“The hourly rate is outdated, that’s the direction Tom suggested we go,” Doughty said.

“The selectmen work intermittently, haven’t been good about submitting their time and are not being reimbursed,” he said.

A survey of area towns’ selectmen pay confirmed most received an annual stipend, he said.

Also proposed is increasing the annual stipend for Planning Board members from $240 to $400.

“The $240 was based on one monthly meeting,” Doughty said. “There have been cases where they spend a lot more time. There is going to be an effort to revise some of the town’s ordinances.”

Another expense is $12,500 for the furnace at the Town Hall.

“The furnace serves the downstairs portion and is near the end of its life,” Doughty said. “We’re getting suggestions on what to replace it with.”

Also to be decided is adding a full-time heavy equipment operator for public works.

Road Commissioner Kelly Hutchinson recently stepped down to accept another offer, Doughty said. The commissioner often did maintenance or other work on his own, he added.

“Kelly felt there needs to be two people for much of the work,” Doughty said. “There were times when it wasn’t safe for one person on their own. It’s hard to find part-time help and there’s enough work to justify full time.”

Voters will be asked again this year to have Budget Committee members elected instead of appointed.  Current terms begin expiring in 2022. Voters rejected a similar article last year.

“Electing would provide more consistency,” Doughty said. “Last year, the way it would have been implemented was complicated.”

Another article would clarify that selectmen could close roads to winter maintenance without a special town meeting, he said.

“Without this, there would have to be a vote during the summer prior to winter roads not being cared for,” he said. “The intent is to avoid needing a summer meeting.”

Municipal officers may, between May 1 and Oct. 1, designate roads that don’t need to be maintained in winter, but closures require a public hearing, according to the statute. After a hearing, road closures must be filed with the town clerk specifying where, when closed and the duration of the road closure, not to exceed 10 years. Voters can either approve each order or allow municipal officers to make the final determination.

As for municipal spending, the proposed 2021 budget of $643,034 is $23,914 more than last year. Part of the increase is for pay increases.


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