ANSON — Horrible odor and air quality caused by sewer gas leaks, a serious rodent problem and mold in the basement, all at the Town Office, are expected to be among the most important issues discussed Saturday at the annual Town Meeting.
Since July, town employees have been moved to a temporary office on Kennebec Street. The town is now considering what its next step will be in caring for the building, which is more than 100 years old, Anson Administrative Assistant Bob Worthley said.
“We think with a good cleaning it could be satisfactory for office space,” Worthley said. “There’s some sentiment that even if we put money in, we’ll be in the same boat again in a few years, so maybe we ought to do something different. It would probably cost $300,000 or $400,000 to build something new.”
The meeting is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. Saturday at Garret Schenck School, and elections will take place from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. The Town Office issue is among 54 items up for discussion on the meeting warrant, which includes a total proposed budget of $1.49 million. That number is slightly down from the current year’s $1.63 million budget.
Selectmen are recommending drawing $35,000 from the town’s property reserve account to clean and renovate the Town Office. A building vent that was installed improperly was contributing to leaks of sewer gas, and the problem has been solved, Worthley said. Still, the basement has a mold problem, and the town will need to clean up a rodent infestation that took place in crawl spaces under some of the floors, he said. The rodents also were contributing to the odor problems in the office, he said.
“There’s no guarantees. It’s still an old building, but it’s not like the roof leaked and there’s serious mold growth in the walls. Most of the stuff is where you can get at it,” Worthley said.
Other items on the warrant include a proposal to create a sex offender ordinance and the proposed donation of two properties that the town would use for public green space.
The sex offender ordinance would stipulate that registered sex offenders cannot live within 750 feet of a school or park where children are likely to be, Worthley said. He said no specific incident prompted the ordinance proposal, but that over the past few years some sex offenders have moved into the area.
Two green spaces, including a large pond near U.S. Route 201A and a vacant lot at 75 Main St., also are being considered for public green space if Town Meeting voters accept the landowners’ donations.
The town has no designated public parks now. Worthley said both properties would be made into public green spaces if the donations are accepted. He estimates there would be a $800 maintenance fee for a fountain in the pond.
Selectmen also are recommending $233,653 for debt service and capital projects, $197,622 for the administration budget, $443,518 for the highway budget; $106,664 for the fire department; $110,742 for the fire hydrant budget and $37,665 for AMS Ambulance Service.
There are no contested elections. Inez Moody is running for a three-year term on the Board of Selectmen. Raymond Moody and Harry R. Withee are running for two open seats on the Anson-Madison Water District Board of Trustees. George W. Rugh and Dana Beaulieu are running for two open seats on the board of School Administrative District 74.
Rachel Ohm — 612-2368 firstname.lastname@example.org