The town of Anson collected $144,000 more in excise taxes in 2015 than in 2014 — a figure that could translate to a tax savings for residents as they consider using the money to pay for highway repairs at this year’s Town Meeting.

The difference between the two figures is a result of the fact that the town received all the excise tax money it was supposed to get in 2015, said Arnold Luce, chairman of the selectmen.

Luce declined to say why some excise taxes might have not been collected in 2014. “You can read into it what you want, but I think this shows that we did collect all the taxes this year and it was turned over to the town,” Luce said.

Claudia Viles, the former tax collector, is charged with taking $438,000 from the town’s excise tax collected since 2011 and is currently awaiting trial on 13 counts of tax-related fraud. The town also has filed a civil suit against her. Viles resigned in September.

At the Town Meeting on Saturday, residents will consider a $1,751,652 budget, with $1,051,364 to come from taxation. While the overall budget being considered this year is more than last year’s, town officials are asking for about $130,000 less to come from taxation. Residents last year approved a $1,553,914 budget with $1,180,466 to come from taxation.

The difference largely comes from the increased excise tax collections, according to Luce, who said that the taxes collected in 2015 — which will go to fund the budget considered at this year’s meeting — were $411,000.

The excise taxes collected in 2014 — which went toward the budget considered at last year’s meeting — were about $267,000.

The business portion of the town meeting is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. Saturday at Garret Schenck School. Elections will be held from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the school.

Luce said he hopes the increase in excise tax money, which typically is used to fund the highway budget, will help reduce residents’ taxes. Motor vehicle excise tax is a tax collected locally on motor vehicle registrations. Aside from a small percentage of the tax that covers state fees, most of it remains in the town in which it is collected and often is used to pay for things such as road repairs and capital projects.

In July, Luce told the Morning Sentinel that the roughly $400,000 missing from the Town Office and allegedly taken by Viles resulted in a shortfall in excise taxes that meant officials had to raise additional tax dollars each year at Town Meeting. He estimated the shortfall cost taxpayers about $1.50 per $1,000 of assessed value each year over the last four years.

On Saturday the town will ask residents to approve $454,674 for the highway budget, almost all of which will be covered by excise taxes. “Rather than raise about $190,000 (from taxes), we’re only going to have to raise $35,000 or $40,000,” Luce said. “Our goal is to pass this on to the people in a tax break.”

Other items that residents will consider at the meeting include the adoption of two new ordinances and a change to a third.

The Board of Selectmen and an advisory committee are recommending that residents approve a change to the Special Amusement Permit Regulations Ordinance that would exempt permit holders seeking a renewal from having to hold a public hearing.

The town also is proposing a new property maintenance ordinance that would allow the town to charge up to $2,500 per day for violations that are not corrected. The ordinance requires property maintenance to include regulation of trash, scrap metal, junk cars and other debris and would put in place more regulations than what the state requires, Luce said.

“It just makes it hard for the code enforcement officer. People complain about a property, and then it’s really quite a process for it to go through for them to clean it up. This should make it easier,” Luce said.

An ordinance also is being proposed that would require the town to receive notification from anyone who is planning to do road construction and put in place regulations so that roads are not left in disrepair after construction.

“We’ve had some problems with people digging in the roads and not letting us know what they’re doing,” Luce said. “This makes it so they should come and make an application to open the road.”

In contested elections, three candidates are running for two seats on the Board of Selectmen, and three for two seats on the School Administrative District 74 board of directors. In the three-way selectmen’s race, Luce is running against candidates Angela Manzer and Daniel Savage.

Luce, 59, has served on the board for 22 years. If re-elected, he said, he would like to keep taxes low. He said the Viles case is something that has been “looming over the board,” but that he believes the board has done a good job keeping the public informed. “It got past the auditors for a few years, so I don’t think the board had any inclination anything like this was going on,” he said.

Manzer did not respond to a call seeking comment Wednesday.

Savage, 32, is a 2002 graduate of Carrabec High School and has a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from the University of Maine at Farmington.

“I’m ready to work on just about anything,” Savage said. “I attend meetings regularly and understand the issues of the town. I expect to work on a broad range of issues and anything that comes up.”

Troy Dunphy, Brian Nelson and Dulcie Welch are the candidates in the school board race.

In uncontested races, Heather Taylor and Brian Nelson are each running for a three-year term on the Anson-Madison Sanitary District Board of Trustees.

Rachel Ohm — 612-2368

[email protected]

Twitter: @rachel_ohm

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