PERU — Citizens rejected 8 of 40 warrant articles for the 2021-22 municipal budget, including a request of $150,000 for a town wide revaluation on Tuesday, according to Town Clerk Debra Coudrain.

In addition, voters okayed a citizens petition initiated by Finance Committee member Gail Belyea, authorizing the Board of Selectmen to expend 100 percent of the amount appropriated in the 2020-21 fiscal year, if a proposed appropriation for fiscal year 2021-22 in any budget category is not approved.

This provides default funding for an article failing to raise a dollar amount for a department budget line. It would also prevent voters from returning to the polls numerous times to get an approved amount on an article. Board Chairwoman Raquel Welch said Wednesday they will not try to rework a plan for a revaluation because, “the citizens’ petition that got put forward and passed says that we can’t revote anything.”

She added that she contacted the Maine Municipal Association, which indicated that legally they could still try to have items revoted, but Welch said she wouldn’t support doing that, “because that’s what they want. They don’t want to vote on things twice, so we will put it back out there next year, but it won’t be voted on again this year.”

Welch said that Worthley Pond is valued at only around 53 percent. “The amount of revenue that we would gain from that pond being brought up to the correct valuation would pay for this reval. But people are short sighted,” she said.

Former board member Larry Snowman said Peru’s last usable revaluation was done in 2000.

Voters also rejected a request, 147-61 for the town to go over LD 1 by $328,989, which Welch said would lead to some road improvement projects being shelved.

“The Ridge Road (a $90,768 project), even though they voted to fix it, probably isn’t going to get fixed because we have to stay under LD 1,’ Welch said. “We’re going to have to cut things, and the cuts are probably not going to be where people intended them to be. I will guarantee that when people did not realize when they voted down the LD 1 that that was going to cause us to cut things that they voted for.”

According to Welch, the Select Board writes and mails out a newsletter with information about what the different budget items are, dates for an informational town meeting that few residents attend, and news coverage by the newspaper.

“I don’t know what else we’re supposed to do to get information out to the public,” she said. “It is what it is. We’ll work with last year’s numbers and when we have to make cuts on things, we’ll make cuts.”

The implications of the budget vote will be discussed when the Select Board meets Monday at the Town Office beginning at 6 p.m.

Also on Tuesday,  Select Board incumbent Lynda Hebert and Gail Belyea were elected to three-year terms. Both ran unopposed after board member Larry Snowman did not seek another term. For the RSU 56 Board of Directors, Sara Thurston will get a three-year term, with a one-year term going to Angela Cushman.

Debra Coudrain ran unopposed for another term as town clerk/treasurer/tax collector.

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