BELGRADE — Selectmen have agreed to pay $3,500 to the man who owns the domain name to relinquish ownership of the website name to the town.

Town Manager Gregory Gill said the town this week signed an agreement with Matthew Hunt, owner of A2Z Computing Services Company in Oakland, to buy the domain name rather than take the case to court. The select board approve the deal at its meeting on Tuesday.

Gill said the town paid Hunt $150 to set up the website 12 years ago, but it’s been unclear who actually owned the domain name.

“We sent that question to our lawyer and he said it was up in the air. It could go either way (in court) because of the type of agreement we signed,” Gill said. “So we contacted (Hunt) to see what he would sell it for rather than take it to court and battle it out.”

Hunt came back with $3,500.

“You have to look at the cheapest way to get out of this,” Gill said. “The board thought this was the way to handle it.”

Hunt, who could not be reached for comment, had told town officials that $150 was the cost of registering the site and he has always owned the domain name. It’s not clear why the town paid Hunt to register the site name 12 years ago.

“He basically ran it,” Gill said. “That’s his business. He sells advertisements on other domains. I don’t know if he’s done this for other towns.”

Gill said the select board wanted the town to own so staff and department heads could place information on the site without going through Hunt. He said selectmen also wanted to rid the site of advertising.

“He has agreed to release it to us,” Gill said. “It takes several days and to do it is quite a process. Once the town has it under our control, we’ll go to the next step. I don’t know the board’s pleasure, possibly have it set up so it automatically switches over to the new site we created,”

Gill said the town’s new website, which contains links to all municipal departments, has been up and running for about four months. He said the new site needs improvement.

In other business, selectmen Tuesday officially accepted the resignation of Martha Bennett, who has been deputy clerk for a little more than a year. Gill said she wanted to travel more and spend time with her grandchildren. He said the board is in the process of hiring someone to fill the full-time position.

Selectmen also decided against an ordinance to ban fireworks. Gill said selectmen were comfortable with the new state law that went into effect on Jan. 1 making it legal to sell, possess and use consumer fireworks.

Gill said a special selectmen’s meeting has been scheduled for Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. at the Town Office to look at requests for proposals for an energy audit for the Center for All Seasons and to work on some budget items.

He said selectmen opened bids for a new metal roof on the center, but first they want an energy audit.

Mechele Cooper — 621-5663

[email protected]

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