NEW SHARON — Residents head to the polls Saturday to vote on the annual town meeting warrant.

Among the articles are one for a $1.178 million municipal budget and lowering the age for junior firefighters from 18 to 16.

Voting will take place at the Town Office from noon to 7 p.m.

The proposed budget would cost taxpayers $1.07 million, a $9,909 decrease from what was raised for  2021-22.

The spending categories with significant cost increases include Social Security, wages for town clerk and tax collector, New Sharon Fire and Rescue Department, the Ditzler Memorial Library, and the Historical Committee/Prince Baker category.

New Sharon Board of Selectmen Chairwoman Lorna Nichols and Town Treasurer Erin Norton said most of the increases are due to rising costs, wages and other cost-of-living factors.


Norton said the Fire Department has asked for compensation of firefighters to switch from stipends to hourly wages.

Article 18 would authorize selectmen to dispose of town personal property under terms and conditions they deem advisable. The article has caused debate, particularly among members of the New Sharon Historical Committee, who are concerned the board would sell off historic items.

On Wednesday, the Select Board unanimously approved a motion that it cannot “dispose of any town-owned personal property until after the next annual or special town meeting where this article can be further defined by the legislative body.”

Selectperson Travis Pond, who made the motion, said, “The townspeople have spoken against (Article 18) more than once and it’s important that the board listens to the townspeople as we work for them.”

Article 26 would authorize the town to spend $149,437 of its American Rescue Plan Act allocation on items that meet the criteria as set by the federal government. Listed in the article the Town Office generator, one year of Zoom fees for remote meeting access, the water pressure pump at the Town Office and Fire Station, heat pumps for the Jim Ditzler Library and display cases for preservation and protection of specific historical items.

Article 27 would lower the minimum age of junior firefighters from 18 to 16 years old. Nichols said dropping the age would accommodate a teenage resident interested in serving as a junior firefighter, as well as support the Fire Department struggling to find firefighters amid a statewide shortage.


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