Mexico voters attend a special town meeting Thursday night at the Town Office where they overwhelmingly approved up to $200,000 to buy trucks and equipment for the Fire and Highway departments. They also approved up to $100,000 for the fire station, which was heavily damaged in the Dec. 18 rainstorm. Bruce Farrin/Rumford Falls Times

MEXICO — Voters on Thursday night overwhelmingly approved spending up to $300,000 for two fire and highway trucks, and repairs to the fire station damaged in the Dec. 18 flood.

They also approved up to $15,000 for codifying town ordinances and $44,320 for asbestos removal and demolition of 140 Granite St.

About 45 voters met at the Town Office to cast ballots for the six articles, which totaled $359,320. Results were posted Friday morning on the town Facebook page:

• $44,320 for asbestos removal and demolition of 140 Granite St., 33-9.

• Up to $80,000 to purchase a three-quarter-ton, four-wheel drive truck with V-plow for the Highway Department, 29-13.

• Up to $25,000 for a plow and wings for the Highway Department, 30-12.


• Up to $15,000 for codifying town ordinances and policies, 28-14.

• Up to $95,000 for a F-350 crew cab with service body to replace a Fire Department utility vehicle, 31-10.

• Up to $100,000 to fix storm damage at the Fire Station, 32-8.

The money will come from the town’s $1.5 million surplus.

Town Manager Raquel Welch-Day said the town is looking to hire a company that will consolidate their ordinances and policies in one book so they can more easily be updated and eliminate duplication.

“Everything that is being asked for would have been on the June ballot, which would have raised taxes considerably,” Welch-Day said. Paying for these items out of surplus is actually lowering your tax bill.”


Select Board Chairman TJ Williams said the recent audit showed a surplus of $1.5 million, and officials are OK with having $600,000 to $700,000 in surplus.

Welch-Day said very few large-ticket items were purchased over the past two years while the town was changing its accounting system using TRIO software, thus the large surplus.

“Having a large surplus means departments spent responsibly and were able to turn money back in,” she said.

However, the town has some immediate needs for the Fire and Highway departments. “We have an aging fleet of trucks and it’s catching up to us,” she said. “We have to maintain our infrastructure or we will not be able to offer the services you currently receive.”

Fire Chief Mat Theriault said he expects $250,000 in damage to the lower section of the Fire Station at 118 Main St. It is in the flood zone and the town did not carry flood insurance.

“We need just enough to get started up again here,” he said, adding he hopes that the Federal Emergency Management Agency assist. The department is also operating out of the Med-Care Ambulance base at 290 Highland Terrace in Mexico.


The station lost 16 sets of turnout gear for volunteers, which is a loss of about $120,000. The sets for the three full-time firefighters were safe upstairs.

Theriault said the present 1997 utility truck has fewer than 60,000 miles, but is not dependable and is out of service.

He said he asked for the F-350 diesel utility truck because the department needed something large enough to haul heavy trailers and equipment.

An article to spend up to $30,000 for an electronic message board for selectmen was defeated with 19 in favor and 21 opposed. It would have been placed at the small green on Main Street where the town posts the Citizen of the Year recipients.

Resident Andy Dupuis asked if some of the town surplus could be used to help out private citizens and businesses affected by the recent flooding.

“I definitely know the struggles that are going on and have worked tirelessly to assist everyone I could,” Welch-Day said. “Having said that, I checked with our legal department to make sure I am right in saying a town cannot use funds to help private citizens unless they qualify for General Assistance and go through that process.”

The articles that were not approved Thursday will be on the annual Town Meeting warrant in June, she said.

And $200,000 from surplus will be used to offset the tax impact in the 2024-25 municipal budget, she said.

On Aug. 15, the Select Board voted to set the 2023-24 property tax rate at $29.20 per $1,000 of assessed value. The town has maintained the same tax rate for the past five years.

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