CANAAN — Voters had a sex offender ordinance, a retail marijuana ordinance and road spending on their minds Saturday at Town Meeting. Along the way, Canaan residents voted to trim proposed spending to $1,173,261, an increase of $34,874 over the previous year.

In voting from the floor of the meeting Saturday, residents were asked to spend $1,310,592, but opted for the lower amount. Budget trimming included declining to give $4,459 to the Skowhegan Area Chamber of Commerce and to raise $25,000 instead of a proposed $50,000 for a reserve account to fund an addition to the town garage. Voters approved a proposal to allow selectmen to enter into a lease/purchase agreement for a new snowplow truck not to exceed $200,000 and to make the first of four $35,000 payments on the agreement.

In debate on the proposed marijuana ordinance, one resident stood to note that it appears cities and towns in Maine are singling out marijuana retail sales and social clubs, while ignoring the possible revenue from such services.

“We don’t restrict any other form of businesses,” resident Fred Heavey said. “I don’t see why we should restrict this one.”

Rep. Joel Stetkis, R-Canaan, said it was important to have an ordinance in place while the state figures out how to deal with such clubs and shops under the new state law passed in November. Selectmen said that there has been interest shown in Canaan to set up some kind of marijuana retail sales.

Voters, not taking any chances, voted 43-21 in favor of the ordinance by written ballot.

The vote on the proposed sex offender ordinance wasn’t so close. Canaan residents voted 62-4 in favor of the ordinance, also by written ballot.

The town now will enter into an agreement with the Somerset County Sheriff’s Office for the enforcement of criminal violations. Civil violations would be handled by the Board of Selectmen.

The ordinance spells out setback requirements for “restricted properties” such as schools, public parks or playgrounds, along with residency requirements for registered sex offenders. No property owner will be allowed to rent or lease to a designated sex offender a residence that is within 750 feet of any of the restricted properties in town.

Selectwoman Rita Graf, who is not seeking re-election Monday, said the town can post pictures of registered sex offenders at the post office and online, but without a binding ordinance, there would be no way to keep offenders from living next to a school, library or playground.

“It’s just to protect our kids, that’s all,” Graf said.

The ordinance will remain in effect through March 27, 2022. The town Planning Board and the sheriff’s office will compose and maintain maps showing the designated restricted zones and file it with the town clerk.

Discussion on road spending and highway department matters dominated part of the meeting Saturday. Residents agreed to spend $175,000 to continue road improvements, mostly on Pinnacle and Strickland roads, the two worst roads in town, Selectman Dan Harriman said.

Residents also agreed to spend $35,000 to add to the Moores Mills Road and Red Bridge Road reserve account. They also agreed to appropriate $160,100 for winter roads and $93,900 for summer roads. The Canaan Fire Department will get $68,500 under the new budget approved Saturday morning and $23,500 for new shingles on the firehouse roof. Voters also agreed to take $300,000 for surplus to offset taxes.

The meeting was attended by about 65 people. The moderator was Phil Curtis, of Madison.

Town Meeting adjourned until Monday, when the municipal election is scheduled for 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the Town Office, next to the fire station. Incumbent Selectmen Garrett Buzzell and Dan Harriman are seeking re-election, challenged by Jeffrey Clark and Joseph Jackson, for three seats on the board for a one-year term. Michael Robinson Jr. is seeking to return as road commissioner, unopposed for one year; and Jean Franklin is on the ballot unopposed for a seat on the school board. Denise Stetkis is unopposed on the ballot for a three-year term as town clerk. Deborah Connell, Paula Robinson and Richard Tory are on the ballot for five open seats on the Planning Board.

Doug Harlow — 612-2367

[email protected]

Twitter:@Doug_Harlow

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