Bear River Grange was the location of Newry Town Meeting held May 14. Rose Lincoln/Bethel Citizen

NEWRY — At Newry’s Town Meeting on May 14, the first 12 articles passed in about 12 minutes. The pace continued as all 43 articles were passed with little or no discussion in just over an hour.

Article 35 sets new cemetery guidelines and higher fees for non-residents, charging them double for cemetery lots. A resident is, ” a person who has resided in the Town for at least two consecutive years during some point in his/her life, an infant of a resident, or is a current resident of the Town.” reads the newly passed ordinance.

The nuisance alarm ordinance passed as well, establishing new guidelines and a fee for several calls by firefighters to the same residence.. “We do have multiple calls to the same short-term rental residences all winter long,” said Assistant Fire Chief Joelle Corey.

In response to a resident’s question, Corey said, “If you burn a steak at your house, we’re going to come.” She said more at issue is a place like Fall Line Condos with 400 units. “Even these condos … that are getting rented out on a weekly basis they are not the same users that we used to see.”

Owners will receive letters after the first and second incidences. They will be fined $250 after the third infraction. One person was in opposition to the new nuisance ordinance. All of the other 30 people voted in favor.

The Unified Development Review Ordinance (UDRO) passed with about 70 clarifications and changes to the current Planning Board ordinances. For developers it clarifies project schedules, enforcing a 10-year phased timeline, and enforces escrow accounts for town inspections. Fire ponds will no longer be used as a water storage facility for fighting fires in Newry. Depending on where you live, a sprinkler system may be required.


Article 43 asked voters for up to $1 million for road repairs while the Town awaits funding from the Federal Emergency Management Agency for the December 2023 storm. The loan, “is similar to a home equity [loan], we only have to pay back what we borrowed … We figure it’s going to take almost two years to get the bigger money for this one,” said Town Administrator Loretta Powers.

“So it costs the Town $133,000 in interest while we wait for this money we may or may not get?” a resident asked.

Correct, said Corey and Powers.

Corey talked about an area affected in the December storm, “Everything that’s there on Branch Rd …  is all going to come back out again. That was an emergency repair covered under a different category of FEMA funds that I am anticipating we will get reimbursed for,” she said.

Other business

Article 14 approval added $80,000 to finish Simonds Brook Bridge repairs. “Last year we voted $200,000. This is to finish it, it wasn’t enough,” said Powers.


Fire department operation and maintenance cost (Article 17) was upped because of equipment updates, operations and maintenance, electricity and training. This year the cost is $141,662.

A request for $259,000 for the tri-town transfer station was approved. Town Administrator Loretta Powers in response to a question from a voter said they looked at other transfer station sites in Newry, but none panned out. “Doesn’t look pretty for us to pull out …”

Last year Newry budgeted $221,500 for tri-town trash but Bethel Town Manager Sharon Jackson recently announced an increase in fees from Casella Waste, the tri-town contractor. Hanover, Bethel and Newry share the use and the cost of the transfer station on Rte. 26 in Bethel.

Two voters asked “where are the streetlights?” when article 19 appropriated $1,000 for six streetlights. Most are on the Sunday River side of town with one at Town Office. Because they are now LED lights the cost has decreased, said Powers.

Voters approved $4,000 for an historic register sign, new window boxes and maintenance on the Sunday River School House.

Discussion ensued about changing to LED lighting in Town Buildings for $37,584. One resident said the lights in the second floor of the Bear River Grange Hall, where the meeting was being held, should be considered differently. “For the little amount of lighting used here,  to change the character … ” he began. Powers responded that her understanding was that they wouldn’t be changing the lighting in the hall.


Article 31 established a date and rate of 8.5% annually for past due taxes. Powers clarified that they send out one tax bill per year and if tax bills are past due they send out a reminder. With 2,600 tax bills they send only one bill per year, she said. “Hey, we call to remind you about your car registration, not many towns do that,” she added.


“All I can say is Retta Powers is a sneak!”

Sylvia Gray, who, with her husband Don, was surprised when awarded the Lifetime Contribution 2023 Spirit of America award for longtime contributions to the Town. He was game warden and she was a town administrator for many years.

Charlie Bean received the Lifetime Contribution Spirit of America award for 2024, for for his commendable service keeping the town cemeteries clean for past 20-plus years.

The approved budget including school and county tax is $6, 994,961 up from $6,150,360 in 2023. The difference is $844,601 or an 13.7% increase.

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.

filed under: