VASSALBORO — Selectmen voted unanimously Thursday night to spend $9,000 to update aerial images used by town planners, assessors and the public.

Town Manager Mary Sabins said the current images are from 1990, and new digital images will benefit the town code enforcement officer, conservation commission and others. The Budget Committee approved the expense Thursday and immediately sent the matter to selectmen.

“It’s an opportunity for us to refresh these old aerial photographs,” Sabins said.

She said she was able to find the money in the town budget by transferring funds from an account that pays for Town Hall expenses ($1,600), the public works budget ($5,790), and the assessor’s budget ($1,610).

The town opted for a mid-grade quality, and could have spent $5,000 to $50,500, Sabins said.

“This will prove itself down the road,” Selectman Philip Haines said. “The better it is, the happier you’ll be later.”

Selectmen Robert Browne and Lauchlin Titus joined Haines in supporting the expense.

After working last year in Cumberland and York counties, the Maine Geolibrary Orthoimagery Program is focusing on Androscoggin, Kennebec, Knox, Lincoln and Sagadahoc counties. Kennebec County has agreed to participate, spending $21,167 in capital improvement money, which means all towns will get a basic view, with the option to pay more for an upgrade.

In a memo to selectmen, Sabins wrote that if the town did not want to participate in the program now, it would not get the discounted rate made possible by the county’s participation. If Vassalboro had decided to go it alone at a later date, it would have cost about $24,000, not $9,000.

Susan Cover — 621-5643
scover@mainetoday.com