ANSON — Residents Saturday approved a $1.7 million municipal budget, an increase in spending of about 2.6 percent that was attributed partly to handling the aftermath of the case of Claudia Viles, a former tax collector convicted in 2016 of stealing more than $500,000 in excise taxes over a number of years.

The budget, which includes money to be raised from taxation as well as other sources such as reserves and excise tax, is up from the current $1,681,976 budget.

The town doubled its budget for legal expenses to $30,000 to continue handling the fallout from the Viles case.

To date the town has recovered $250,000 from its insurance company and $58,500 that was seized from Viles’ home, but it still is awaiting the remainder — $566,257 plus interest — in restitution.

The town also is finishing legal work stemming from abatement requests from the former Madison Paper Industries, which recently dismissed abatement requests it had made for 2016 and 2017 taxes in Anson.

The increased legal fees, included in the town’s administrative costs, generated no discussion Saturday, and there was little debate aside from questions that arose out of a need to either repair or buy a new plow truck.

About 35 people attended the meeting at Carrabec High School.

On the plow truck item, residents debated buying a new truck to replace a 2001 International truck that was in an accident this winter. The truck rolled over onto its side, and the town’s insurance company has deemed it a total loss.

Voters were presented with the option of paying a $1,000 deductible and $8,500 to buy the truck back from the insurance company and to set aside $20,725 in insurance claim money to pay for repairs.

Some people said they would rather see the town set aside money for a new or secondhand truck that could be purchased without needing to make repairs, but Road Commissioner Arty Lane said the repairs are estimated to cost only $3,000 to $6,000, and if they are made, the truck could be back on the road this winter.

A motion not to make the repairs failed, and the item ultimately passed as written.

Other items approved by residents Saturday included $113,560 for the Anson Fire Department, $47,800 for AMS Ambulance Service, $24,900 for streetlights, $476,230 for the Highway Department, $30,110 for recreation, $5,525 for animal shelter services, $14,500 for public libraries, $27,860 for charitable organizations and $242,940 for debt service.

Voters also approved $35,000 in spending from the Fire Department’s capital reserve fund for new equipment and to paint the Anson fire station.

In addition, they authorized $20,000 in new funding to establish a sewer capital reserve fund.

In elections, Angela Hawkins was elected to the Board of Selectmen with 41 votes; and Arnold Luce, with 40 votes. On the Regional School Unit 74 board, Troy Dunphy was elected with 42 votes; and Ellen McQuiston, with 33 votes.

Heather Taylor was elected to the Anson-Madison Sanitary District board of trustees with 46 votes. Gary Anderson was elected to the Anson & Madison Water District board of trustees with 47 votes.

 

Rachel Ohm — 612-2368

[email protected] 

Twitter: @rachel_ohm

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