Franklin Countys First News

Strong residents set budget for upcoming year

Residents at the annual Strong town meeting.

STRONG - Hints of spring welcomed residents to the annual town meeting for discussion and decisions pertaining to a 42-article warrant.

The process got underway on Friday, March 15, with the election of seven seats in four different municipality departments- three seats on the Board of Selectmen, one on the Maine School Administrative District 58 Board of Directors, two spots on the town budget committee and one position of chief for the fire department.

Of the nearly 300 ballots cast, James Burrill and Andrew Pratt II were elected into three-year term seats on the Board of Selectmen, receiving 186 and 155 votes, respectively. Incumbent Gerald "Mike" Pond received 147 votes, along with two write-in votes and 102 left blank. Chair Robert Elliott was reelected into another two-year term position with 240 votes. There were 22 write-in votes and 34 left blank.

Write-in candidate Serene Howard was elected to serve on the MSAD 58 board with 76 votes. She will serve for three years. An additional write-in candidate Barbara Worthley received 35 votes and there were 10 other miscellaneous write-in candidates. Another 175 were left blank. The two open positions on the budget committee were both six-year spots and were filled by incumbent Susan Pratt with 164 votes and Thomas Piekart II with 152 votes. Robert Webster received 133 votes; there were 138 left blank and five other write-in candidates.

Chief of the Fire Department Duayne Boyd was reelected for another three-year term with 182 votes. Aaron Marden received 85 votes, there were six other write-in votes and 23 blank.

Article 8 which designated an amount to help reduce the 2019 tax commitment was amended by townspeople to reflect a $100,000 subtraction. As proposed by the board the article would have used $250,000 from the surplus account to lessen the burden of taxes, but that number was dropped down to $150,000 with 40 'yes' votes. There 30 votes against the amended article.

Voters also decided to go with the budget committee's recommendation in Article 17, which asked to appropriate from the surplus account to meet unanticipated overages and emergency financial needs. The selectmen recommended $5,000 while the budget committee recommended $3,500. The smaller number passed in a 37 to 32 vote.

An article regarding the budget for the town's Recreation Account brought considerable discussion; the article requested $6,950, with the budget committee recommending an amount $1,000 less than that. Several town members voiced the opinion that the number was too high considering what was appropriated last year- $6,750. Some said they wanted to see more details of how the money was spent and how another 7k would be spent.

"We go down this every year," Selectman Rodney Spiller said. "A big part of this town is recreation. If someone gets hurt, the town is responsible. My job is to make sure all those things are up to par."

Several items were detailed in the town report, including expenses such as electricity, the Porta potty, landscaping equipment and other supplies for general maintenance.

"If things need to get done, you should ask before getting here. By the time it gets here we have no choice. I am trusting someone has looked at this situation," one resident said.

The article passed with the selectmen recommendation of $6,950.

Article 35 which gave permission to acquire a new wheeler truck and plow equipment via a lease purchase agreement passed with little opposition. The lease will be for six years and will not exceed $158,000, along with the trade-in of a 2004 Volvo. Payments will not exceed $31,000 per year and the first payment will be taken from the Special Equipment fund.

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4 Responses »

  1. I hope that the budget committee member that amended article 8 knows he increased everyone's taxes by 1 mil.

  2. Mike Pond lost a lot of votes to the absentee ballots passed out by a couple ladies of the town. Those same ladies "told" people how to vote, not helping Mike out. He got the short end of the stick!! I would like to thank Mike for all he has done for this town. Though some may not appreciate him, most of us residents do.

  3. People vote how they want..

  4. Some people were mislead!!

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