NEW SHARON — Voters elected a new road commissioner Saturday at the annual Town Meeting after a long debate about the ongoing poor condition of town roads.

John Pond was elected to the one-year term, receiving 96 of the 157 votes cast.

Before the vote, Pond told those in attendance he thinks the roads are in the worst condition he’s seen in years.

He said he recommends not paying road workers unless the work is done to satisfaction as a way of finally improving town infrastructure.

“Either the work is going to be done and done right or they’re not getting paid,” he said.

The previous road commissioner, Don Lowe, was not in attendance, drawing criticism from some residents about his absence.

Pond ran for the position against Dennis McCourt and Robert Adams Jr. None of the men has held the position previously.

Several residents said that while much of the town has dirt roads, they still think they could be maintained better.

Some residents said emergency responders are not able to easily travel some roads that have long needed fixing.

Voters decided to increase the proposed town budget by $20,000 to give the road commissioner more cash to address the problem.

Voters passed an $839,370 municipal budget, up 8.7 percent from last year’s budget of $771,669.

Several residents debated paying $600 in support of Channel 10 public television. Those opposed to it said they don’t think it’s appropriate for the town to pay for public television when not everyone watches it. Even so, voters backed the proposal, 35-28.

The town passed the selectmen’s recommendation to move $50,000 from surplus funds to reduce taxes. Selectman Russell Gardner said most of the $50,000 is from funds raised last year but not used.

The town property tax rate is $13 per $1,000 of assessed value. A house valued at $120,000 would be taxed $1,560.

The property tax supports not only the municipal government but also the county and the Mt. Blue school district. Last year about 45 percent of the $1.3 million raised went to the school district and 6 percent went to the county.

Gardner said it is likely the property tax will increase because of reduced funding from the state.

Kaitlin Schroeder — 861-9252
[email protected]

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