CORNVILLE — Participants at Town Meeting on Saturday agreed to buy a used road grader, borrow up to $1 million to pave roads and to form a road advisory committee to help the road commissioner and the selectmen plan long-term projects.

Resident Jason Voter suggested forming the committee from the floor of the meeting, noting that aside from the costs of sending kids to school, roads are the biggest town expense.

“If we create a road committee it might benefit the town. It’s the biggest expense we have,” Voter said.

First Selectman Melvin Blaisdell said that because the idea of forming a committee was not on the Town Meeting warrant as a formal article, the question would have to be addressed by way of a straw poll.

Residents agreed to form a five-member committee, noting that members wouldn’t make decisions on everyday road matters. That would remain the job of Road Commissioner Myron Moody Jr. The new committee would serve in much the same way that the current budget committee operates, with recommendations to the Board of Selectmen, Blaisdell said.

About 30 residents on hand for the Town Meeting voted to borrow up to $1 million to be paid over 12 years for a road paving plan that includes the entire 6.3-mile length of East Ridge Road from the Athens town line to the Skowhegan town line. The borrowing plan also includes the entrance to Moody Town Road, the top of Huff Hill Road and portions of Oxbow Road, Molunkus Road, Lower Mills Road, Wood Road, James Road and Rowell Mountain Road.

Voters noted that the town is just finishing paying off another loan to fix Cornville roads. The final two payments of $77,395 were approved Saturday — one from taxation, the other from surplus. The new borrowing plan is necessary to keep the roads from deteriorating, Blaisdell said.

“We’re going to lose them if we don’t do it,” he said.

Blaisdell said the town originally borrowed money to pave the same roads 14 years ago, in particular East Ridge Road and Molunkus Road, knowing that paving would have to be done again in the next decade or so.

“This is a re-do of it. We knew within 10 or 12 years we’d have to do them over again, and we’re doing them again,” Blaisdell said before the meeting. “It’s the same roads. There’s no new roads.”

Work on the paving projects would start in July.

Voters also agreed to the purchase of a used 1991 John Deere road grader for $27,000, rather than sink as much as $35,000 into fixing the town’s current grader. Moody said the 1991 grader came from Bethel and has a new motor. The old one was purchased new in 1987 and can be adapted to fit the summer roadside mowing machine, he said.

In other roads-related voting Saturday, Cornville residents agreed to appropriate $130,000 for winter road maintenance, $90,000 for summer roads and $40,000 for highway equipment.

Blaisdell said the $80,000 raised Saturday for recycling and solid waste is higher this year because the wooden walls at the transfer station are 20 years old and need to be replaced.

“The retaining walls are rotting away and it’s time to replace them,” he said.

Voters also agreed to reduce the amount needed for General Assistance from $3,000 to $2,000 because there is less need this year.

Residents also approved spending $65,000 for general town government — lights, heat, insurance — $16,000 for the Cornville Volunteer Fire Department and $1,308 for the Brenda J. Hogate Library, named for the librarian at the former Cornville Elementary School and now the Cornville Regional Charter School.

This year’s town budget is about the same as last year’s $543,000 approved by voters, Blaisdell said, leaving the tax rate at $17 for every $1,000 in property valuation.

Residents also agreed to take $300,000 from surplus to reduce the tax rate.

In town elections Friday, 37 votes were cast to return to office Selectman Christopher Poulin, Tax Collector and Town Clerk Tammy Chamberland, Treasurer Charlotte Prosser, Road Commissioner Myron Mood Jr. and school board director Theresa Howard. All of the candidates were unopposed on the Town Meeting ballot.

The meeting moderator was Peter Mills.

Doug Harlow — 612-2367

[email protected]

Twitter: @Doug_Harlow

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