At the Weld town meeting on Saturday, March 9, $4,000 will be requested to add names to the veterans monuments located at the library. The monuments are seen in this file photo from Memorial Day 2018. File photo/Livermore Falls Advertiser

WELD — Annual town meeting is slated for 10 a.m. Saturday at the Weld Town Hall on School Street.

“I suspect there will be discussion,” Selectperson Chair Richard Doughty said in a phone interview with The Franklin Journal Tuesday. “I expect there will be some opinions expressed.”

Three articles that could draw comments deal with the replacement of the Kennedy Bridge superstructure on Old Temple Road, a solar farms and large commercial structures moratorium ordinance, and a food sovereignty ordinance, he noted.

“The bridge spans over Houghton Brook that comes down through the village just before David Fish’s house,” Doughty said. “It’s one of three bridges the Department of Transportation [DOT] completed inspections on a few years ago.”

On bridges everything except the abutments are called a superstructure, so that’s the steel that spans the brook and the deck itself, Doughty explained.

“DOT determined that the steel beams that are under the bridge have corroded, reached the point where they need to be replaced,” he stated. “We have worked with an engineer, come up with a design for replacement of that bridge. The word superstructure throws you off.”


Doughty said it has been some time since replacing the bridge was recommended. “There are actually three bridges in town that DOT has recommended replacement of,” he noted. “The other two are one that crosses the Bowley Brook on Cushman Road, the third one spans the West Brook on West Road over where the Keims live.”

Those bridges are in similar condition, the one on West Road probably sees the most traffic, Doughty stated. “There was some discussion, probably we should have done that one first,” he said. “The engineer had recommended that we start with one of the smaller ones first.”

Some funds have been set aside, the town would need to borrow money for the replacement should voters choose to replace the Kennedy Bridge this year, Doughty said.

“I don’t think any of them are going to collapse, but all three have been posted for weight limits,” he noted.

Regarding the moratorium ordinance, Doughty verified homeowners could install solar for their own energy usage. Weld doesn’t have a solar ordinance, he noted. “One was worked on, but there was some input from the town attorney that it wouldn’t work the way it was proposed,” he said. “There is some thought that there is imminent threat. The moratorium would give the Select Board time to come up with an ordinance.”

The moratorium,  if passed would also preclude anyone from submitting permits for large commercial structures that exceed 7,500 square feet or are more than 50 feet tall, Doughty said.


The food sovereignty idea was proposed by a selectperson and other people expressed support for it, he noted. “The state of Maine has passed legislation that enables towns to barter for any food [except for meat, poultry, and meat or poultry products] without complying with state food safety laws,” he said. “You don’t have to have permits, licenses, inspections.”

Voters will be asked to approve the recommended pay scales for town employees. “For a couple of years now the Budget Committee has suggested the town adopt a policy for providing for cost of living adjustments for our employees,” Doughty said. “[Selectpersons] had drafted an article to see if the town would approve having an annual cost of living adjustment but we were advised the town can only approve that one year at a time.”

This year’s recommendations are based on the Consumer Price Index for the year ending in December, 3.2%, Doughty stated.

The proposed 2024 budget is $806,362 without county or education taxes. It is $68,447 more than the current spending plan [a 9.28% increase].

If the budget is approved as presented, the town will be just under the property tax limit set by the state, Treasurer Colleen Stewart said Tuesday.

For general government, voters will be asked to take $152,000 from surplus. “There is currently $340,554.58 in surplus, we took $200,000 and put it into a couple of CDs,” Stewart noted.


The computer/copier line under general government has a $6,500 increase this year. Doughty said there are recommended upgrades available for TRIO, the software program many Maine towns use. “There is a big one time expense and the annual fee increased,” he noted.

Requests of $4,000 each for recreation and veterans memorials are also included under the general government budget.

“April Demers showed up at a Select Board meeting in January, asked some questions,” Doughty said. “She wanted to get more involved, initiate a bunch of things. We had suggested that perhaps she would like to take charge of the Weld Recreation Committee and she was off and running. It has been hard to keep up. She has lots of ideas and a bunch of energy.”

Doughty noted work on the veterans monuments was slow getting started, is moving fairly quickly now. “There were some concerns about the legality of the town maintaining the monuments because they weren’t on town property,” he stated. “They are on library property. That has been sorted out, there is an agreement. There is a committee that has come up with protocols and a plan to add names of veterans from more recent conflicts. Money has been set aside in the budget to cover the cost.”

There is no lunch scheduled during town meeting this year, Doughty said. Weld Rec will be providing coffee, donuts and pastries [perhaps by donations], he added.

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