SOLON — It took voters just 90 minutes to transact business Saturday at Solon’s annual Town Meeting, despite a long discussion that resulted in the purchase of a grader.

The grader decision took precedence over plans for the annual paving program; voters opted to table action on the paving until it was known how the grader purchase would go.

Moderator Philip Roy judiciously led voters through the tabling action, motions and amendments to buy a used, rebuilt 1990 John Deere grader for $33,000. The decision was not without debate, what-ifs and whys.

Chairwoman of the selectmen Elaine Aloes said the town had the option to buy a new grader through a state bid for $190,400, a 1999 used grader for $92,000 or the used 1990 John Deere for $33,000. Several residents wanted to table the decision until newly elected Road Commissioner Michael Foster could review the proposal. That move was defeated, however, when voters suggested the bargain grader could be lost in a subsequent sale, if there was an added delay. Aloes also said the paving project at $120,000 still could be achieved with either proposal.

Chairwoman of the selectmen Elaine Aloes said the town had the option to buy a new grader through a state bid for $190,400, a 1999 used grader for $92,000 or the used 1990 John Deere for $33,000. Several residents wanted to table the decision until newly elected Road Commissioner Michael Foster could review the proposal. That move was defeated, however, when voters suggested the bargain grader could be lost in a subsequent sale, if there was an added delay. Aloes also said the paving project at $120,000 still could be achieved with either proposal.

For the grader purchase, $24,000 will be raised through taxation, $8,995 from FEMA funds and $4.31 from the summer road account.

As for the paving plan, voters approved raising $120,000 for paving Falls Road and Brooks, Cross, Pleasant, School and York streets, with any unspent funds applied to a sidewalk reserve account for a future improvement plan.

In other business, the town approved renaming the town’s Evergreen Cemetery Stone Maintenance Reserve Account. It now is the Cemetery Maintenance Reserve Account, to allow funds to be used for maintenance of the stones and cemetery grounds in all Solon cemeteries.

Before the annual meeting, Aloes reported the town’s overall budget was up by $5,518, but down in the amount to be raised by taxes by $2,646. This was borne out again when voters approved raising the tax cap as determined by the state, and Aloes reported the cap would not be reached this year; but the vote was approved in the event of any changes. Selectmen kept the budget proposal less than the cap of $471,742 – at $411,854 instead.

In other business, a plea from George Myers Jr. of Kennebec Behavorial Health was successful in reinstating the request for $1,100 for his agency, over the $500 recommended by selectmen.

In Saturday morning elections, candidates were elected unopposed, with one exception. Michael Foster defeated incumbent Road Commissioner Ronald Giguere, 147-67.

Brenda Seekins in a Morning Sentinel correspondent who lives in Hartland.

 

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