ANSON — Anson voters struck down two longtime tax discounts and voted to demolish a house attached to the Town Hall on Saturday at their Town Meeting.

About 50 residents and town officials gathered in the Carrabec High School cafeteria to cast votes in the municipal election and weigh in on the town spending plan.

In a meeting that lasted little more than an hour, voters approved a $1.68 million budget, a $30,108 decrease from the previous year’s spending plan. The approved budget included $102,599 for the Anson Fire Department, $120,500 for the fire hydrant budget, and $85,000 toward solid waste disposal.

Voters debated the merits and logistics of the tax discounts that rewarded residents and commercial taxpayers who paid early or in full with 1 or 2 percent discounts.

Tammy Murray, Anson’s Town Clerk, argued against the discounts, saying they were originally intended to bring revenue in during slower times of the year but did not work that way in practice. She said with low interest rates at banks, the town actually was paying to provide the discounts. Had voters approved the discounts, they would have needed to raise an additional $23,000 to cover the lost tax revenue.

“I don’t think they realized it was being put into the budget and how much it was costing the taxpayers,” Murray said.

Residents approved up to $60,000 to repair the Hilton Brook Bridge on Carrabassett Road. They also approved $30,000 to replace the roof on the Town Hall and demolish the deteriorating house next door, deciding not to save the house after being presented with an estimated $42,900 in additional costs to get the building up to code for commercial use. Groups such as the Historical Society and the Sunshine Club, which used the house for meetings, will now gather at a nearby garage.

In elections, Inez Moody, 76, lost her seat on the Select Board to local business owner James Smith, by 10 votes. Moody said after 18 years on the board, she was looking forward to the break.

“I think it’s time for a change. We need to get younger people interested in our town,” Moody said, “but I might go bug them once in a while.”

Smith, who owns Smith Mountain Investing, a business with 30 employees that inspects and treats utility poles around the country, shared Moody’s sentiment.

“I had no issues with what was going on. I just feel like a breath of fresh air and new opinions are needed,” Smith said. “And I’m very opinionated.”

Board Chairman Arnold Luce thanked Moody for her years of service and led the crowd in a round of applause. At the end of the meeting, Smith was sworn in for a three-year term. He was joined by Grace Carreiro and Judith Dunphy, who were elected to three-year terms on the Regional School Unit/School Administrative District 74 board of directors; Raymond Moody, elected to a three-year term as an Anson-Madison Sanitary District trustee; and Ralph H. Withee, elected to three years as Anson & Madison Water District trustee.

Kate McCormick — 861-9218

[email protected]

Twitter: @KateRMcCormick

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