BELGRADE — Voters making yearly decisions about town business Friday and Saturday gave their blessing to upgrades to a town community center and agreed to purchase property next to the center.

Residents voted on the first 10 questions in the annual Town Meeting warrant by secret ballot on Friday and gathered Saturday to debate the remaining 32 questions in an open meeting held at the Belgrade Community Center for All Seasons. They approved all 42 questions in the warrant with only minor corrections proposed by selectmen to fine-tune language or dollar amounts.

The secret-ballot vote Firday settled what were considered the most controversial questions, four of which dealt with the community center. Those included a $100,000 fix for the roof; $150,000 to buy the Dalton property next to the community center to gain a right of way to Great Pond; $59,907 to support the operating budget, refinish the floor, buy a new sign and install new electrical outlets; and $139,302 for programs and events.

Voters approved each of those questions by a comfortable margin. The proposal to buy the Dalton property passed 220-184. Each of the nine other questions passed with at least 60 percent approval from the 400-plus voters.

The results of Friday’s voting were announced Saturday.

Voters on Friday also re-elected Daniel Newman (235 votes) and Bruce Plourd (271 votes) to two openings on the Board of Selectpersons. Third-place finisher Peter Sargent garnered 179 votes.


At Saturday’s open Town Meeting, voters moved relatively quickly through the articles. The majority of those who spoke were seeking information rather than arguing for or against a particular warrant article.

A public works request for $408,000 to add a finish coat of asphalt to McGrath Pond, Penney and Location roads arguably generated the most discussion. Budget Committee member Jack Sutton said he voted with his fellow committee to approve the funding, but he questioned the project’s validity. All three roads have been paved in the past three years, he said.

Road Commissioner Kevin Hawes said the finish coat is important for long-term care of the road.

At Town Manager Gregory Gill’s urging, voters reduced the amount approved to pay interest on a tax-anticipation note. The loan is used is pay bills until the tax due date. Gill said lower-than-expected interest rates allowed the budget to be cut in half, but the total municipal budget is still about $345,000 more than last year. The increase, much of which is being paid from capital reserve accounts, should have little effect on property taxes, Gill said.

Staff Writer Mechele Cooper contributed to this report.

Craig Crosby — 621-5642

[email protected]

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