BELGRADE — Voters here said yes to all the items on Friday’s referendum ballot, then continued that support for town budget items at Saturday’s session of the Town Meeting at the Center for All Seasons.
Most referendum questions had carried the unanimous support of the Board of Selectpersons as well as the Budget Committee.
The closest vote was 145-128, that allowing the Board of Selectpersons to contract with other municipalities so nonresidents could use the Belgrade Transfer Station Facility.
Most of the items passed by significant margins, including a proposal to have one full-time and one part-time rescue/firefighter I/II for a six-month period at a cost of slightly more than $29,000. It was adopted, 194-79.
These are new positions for the town, and they were initiated by the town’s fire and rescue chief, Daniel McKenzie. He said previously the hirings would address “the lack of manpower during the day during the week and to help meet state requirements.”
On Saturday, McKenzie said he anticipated having the new employees on board in June or July.
The Center for All Seasons itself got the nod for $38,285 in operational support and almost $137,000 for programs and events. Both amounts were less than last year’s.
The library budget was approved for almost $49,000.
Voters also agreed to make donations to various nonprofit charities that benefit residents in Belgrade.
They also amended the tree ordinance to define better who is responsible for certain areas and agreed to fund several campaigns aimed at protecting shorelines and removing milfoil, an invasive plant species.
Voters authorized spending $4,500 to help the Belgrade Lakes Region Business Group with its Fourth of July fireworks.
Selectpersons voted 4-1 to recommend it, and the Budget Committee voted 3-2 to recommend it.
The article garnering the most support, 243-32, was one continuing the town’s support for the Belgrade-Rome Special Needs Assistance Food Pantry.
On Saturday, 67 registered voters, led by moderator Jay Bradshaw, dealt with general government matters, including a request to authorize a $50,000 appropriation toward an account to buy land and build a Town Office. That amount was approved at the two previous Town Meetings as well, and the town treasurer said the account contained almost $130,000 prior to the addition of $50,000 on Saturday.
Soon after the business meeting began, it hit a snag when amounts read by the moderator differed from those printed in the warrant contained in the 2013 Annual Report.
Other changes included a $15,000 decrease in the town’s cost for a echocardiogram/heart monitor/defibrillator for the rescue department.
Town Manager Gregory Gill told townspeople Saturday that a new brine solution applied to the roads in anticipation of storms has been working and has reduced the amount of sand and salt used.
“We’re kind of finding out that the temperature has a lot to do with how well this works,” he said.
Residents had a number of questions about work on various roads.
Among the larger items on the agenda were road maintenance and paving projects for Chandler Road — $187,700 — and Loon Cove Drive — $138,910 — and other work on Dunn, Point and Wings Mills roads, totaling $63,500.
Resident Evelyn Smith, who asked when Point Road would be redone, was told that it would be proposed for next year. Gill told her the estimated $300,000 cost proved prohibitive this year.
George Seel, who asked about a $10,000 appropriation for legal fees in connection with the closed Chandler Landfill, was told it would be spent to attempt to settle a lawsuit filed against it by one of its landowners.
Selectman Ernie Rice said some reimbursement is expected from the state Department of Environmental Protection with regard to mitigation at that site.
It appeared that the total budget was about $2,361,552, which required a secret ballot to approve exceeding the property tax levy limit by $96,568. That was approved, 57-9.
The budget is about $150,000 greater than the previous year’s.
The tax rate now is $11.95 for each $1,000 worth of property valuation, and that supports the schools, the town and the county.
All candidates on Friday’s ballot were elected.
â¢ Michael Barrett, chairman of the Belgrade Public Library board of trustees, won the selectperson’s seat vacated by Melanie Jewell, who has served on the board for nine years. Jewell was the recipient of a Spirit of America Award for her service on the board as well as her other endeavors on the community’s behalf. She also was recognized with a special award from the other selectpersons, the Town Office staff and Belgrade citizens.
â¢ Debra McSweeney won a three-year term on the board of Regional School Unit 18. The seat is being vacated by Cathy Mckelway, who served one term.
â¢ Maurice Childs won another one-year term as road commissioner.