BUCKFIELD — In a vote of confidence in town government, voters went to the polls Tuesday and approved all but one of the 47 articles in the $2.35 million municipal budget during the Town Meeting, conducted by secret ballot.

Robert Hand and Heather Henley were elected to the Select Board.

The lone article to fail was the one asking to raise and appropriate funding for the Rescue Department. The request for $338,225 was rejected by a mere two votes — 120-118 with four ballots blank. Because of the defeat, the Rescue Department’s operating budget will revert back to last year’s total of $325,650. That is $12,575 less than requested — a 9% cut.

The Rescue Department recently had a change of leadership and had some longtime members resign, which may have influenced the vote.

The other funding requests passed fairly easily. The tightest result was with the Street Light account and the Fire Department. Street lights passed with 51%, a nine-vote margin, 123-114, while the budget for the Fire Department squeaked by with 52% support, 127-111.

This was the first time since 2019 the town is voting on the budget before the end of the previous fiscal year. In two of the past three years, the meeting was held in August, while in 2021, it was held the last week of September.


The town appears to have survived the turmoil that had enveloped it for nearly three years. When he was hired 10 months ago, Cameron Hinkley was the town’s sixth town manager in roughly two years.

The adoption of the new budget is expected to lower the town’s tax rate. Residents were shocked when tax rates soared last year to $28.23 per $1,000 of assessed property value.

Hand, the chairman of the Select Board, ran unopposed in his bid for another term. Henley won a three-person race for her Select Board seat, getting 99 votes to outlast Michael Averill II who finished with 70 votes. Write-in candidate Peter Fickett received 58 votes.

In a closely contested school director race for Regional School Union 10, Erin Hinkley edged Jennifer Lowell, 126-112.

In the budget validation vote for RSU 10, Buckfield voters supported it by a 149-88 margin. The Region 11 referendum passed by a wider margin, 188-50.

A total of 242 residents went to the polls Tuesday.

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