STRONG — Voters decided to raise $607,383, increasing the Board of Selectmen’ budget recommendations Saturday at the annual Town Meeting.

Selectman Milton Baston said residents decided to increase the budget in multiple areas, but the largest increase was from voters deciding to approve the entire $20,000 requested for the firetruck reserve account, Baston said. He said selectmen and the budget committee recommended funding $10,000 of the fire department’s requested $20,000.

He said the town asked selectmen to find funds other than town money, such as grants or donations, to raise $8,500 to buy a fire suppression system to upgrade the Municipal Building’s kitchen so it conforms with the fire code.

The kitchen is part of the Forster Memorial Building, which houses a rental hall and dining room. The building is also home to the public library, meeting rooms and the Town Office.

The stove has had limited use in the last year. The State Fire Marshal’s Office said the stove can be used only to reheat food but not cook it until the town installs a fire suppression system — a stainless steel hood with a built-in extinguisher.

The selectmen did not formally recommend the $8,500 but instead asked roughly 50 residents in attendance to consider if they wanted to make the purchase and bring the kitchen up to code so it can be rented for weddings or other events that require a fully functioning stove.

Incumbent Milton Baston and Gerald Pond won two open Board of Selectmen seats, beating incumbent Rupert Pratt.

In uncontested races, Langdon Adams, Loretta Deming and incumbent Susan Pratt were elected to three Budget Committee seats, and Fire Chief Dwayne Boyd was re-elected to his position.

Kaitlin Schroeder— 861-9252
[email protected]

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