CORNVILLE — Voters at the Town Meeting on Saturday agreed to exempt taxes on any piece of business equipment valued at less than $50,000.
“It’s not a fair tax,” longtime First Selectman Melvin Blaisdell said of the existing tax. He said someone with a $20,000 piece of farming or logging equipment is taxed under the current standard, while a homeowner with a $25,000 tractor for work around the house is not taxed on the item at all.
“We not taxing homeowners; it’s just for businesses,” Blaisdell said. He said the money lost to the town in taxes would be minimal — no more than 10 cents per household on the annual tax bill.
Blaisdell said the state already has done away with personal property taxes on new equipment. He said it is unfair to tax a man with an old skidder who wants to make a few dollars cutting and selling firewood.
Voters unanimously agreed. There were 36 people at the meeting, who also agreed to let taxpayers pay their annual bill to the town using a credit card.
Meeting moderator, former state lawmaker and 2010 gubernatorial candidate Peter Mills announced the 99th birthday of Lawrence Amazeen, who said he has been attending Cornville town meetings when he was 14 — 85 years.
Mills also announced that resident Matt Quinn has agreed to put his name in for nomination for the state House of Representatives and resident Dale Lancaster has announced his bid to run for Somerset County sheriff.
In townwide elections, Blaisdell was re-elected, running unopposed for a three-year term. He has been a Cornville selectman for 35 years and board chairman since 1988. Veteran Road Commissioner Myron Moody Jr. also was re-elected, unopposed on the ballot.
Cornville Fire Chief Kenneth Hogate accepted a vacant position on the School Administrative District 54 Board of Directors but said he will have to check his schedule to see whether the board’s meetings confllict with other meetings he must attend.
After voting Saturday, Blaisdell said the town budget of about $543,000 will be about the same as last year’s, leaving the tax rate at $16.70 for every $1,000 in property valuation.
In voting from the floor of the meeting Saturday morning, voters agreed to raise $65,000 for the disposal of recyclables and solid waste.
“The town is growing and the price of tonnage is going up,” Blaisdell said.
Voters also approved $130,000 for winter roads, $90,000 for summer roads and $40,000 for Highway Department equipment. Residents all voted to continue annual payments of about $79,000 for the 2011 paving project loan for town roads.
Cornville residents also voted to raise $60,000 for general town government expenses and $16,000 for the Cornville Volunteer Fire Department.