ATHENS — Two veteran town selectmen are being challenged in annual Town Meeting voting in Athens on Friday, and increases in town salaries are on the table Saturday during the annual business meeting.

Polls will be open for municipal voting 4-8 p.m. Friday in the Athens Somerset Academy. The annual business meeting is set for 1:30 p.m. Saturday, also at the Academy.

On the voting ballot Friday, longtime selectmen Charles Rotondi and Guy Anton are being challenged for two-year terms on the three-member Board of Selectmen.

Cristian Goodman is on the ballot opposing Rotondi. Anton, whose photo graces the cover of the Annual Report, is being challenged by former fire chief and military veteran Chad Stewart.

All other positions are uncontested, but write-in candidates are allowed for each post.

First Selectman Mark Munn said voters will be asked to approve $1,000 per position for the town clerk, tax collector, treasurer and fire chief.

“Based on a 10-hour work week for each position, the hourly salary was $10 an hour or less, therefore being less then minimum wage,” Munn said. “We also suggest an increase for the road crew, from $17 an hour up to $18 an hour on the road commissioner and from $14 an hour up to $17 an hour for assistants. We feel the town will benefit from this in attracting and keeping good people during this tight workforce market.”

The municipal fire chief will receive $4,000 a year. The position paid $3,000 last year.

Voters at a special town meeting last year agreed to make the road commissioner’s position one appointed by the Board of Selectmen, not elected as it had been.

Munn said last year the town appropriated $611,764 for its municipal budget, not including money for the school or the county tax. This year the spending warrant is asking for $652,911.87, up about $41,000. The tax rate going into the Town Meeting is $18.50 for every $1,000 in property valuation.

Munn said the largest increase in this year’s spending requests is for salt and sand and the winter roads accounts.

He said the Budget Committee asked for an increase of $10,000 on each of those two articles.

Voters will be asked to spend $45,000 for stockpiling sand and salt, $65,000 for summer roads and $60,000 for winter roads.

“It seems the ice hits the budget pretty hard both for the sand and salt and the increased hours and wear and tear on vehicles,” Munn said.

The town also is trying a salt brine on the roads and using a new type of plate for the plow cutting edge on town trucks.

Voters also will be asked to set up a road account specifically for utilities, he said. In the past, electricity, phone and heat came out of the summer or winter road accounts.

“It’s felt a separate account would be easier to keep track of — we do the same for the fire department,” Munn said.

Also being requested is $50,000 for the road paving account and $49,000 as the second annual payment on the $250,000 road bond for paving.

The Budget Committee also is asking if there is interest in forming a Buildings Committee and raising $2,500 to fund that committee.

“Our insurance company puts a value of over $2 million on our buildings — without the school — and we have no short- or long-term plan for either maintenance or use of our buildings,” Munn said. “The selectmen feel they may have certain ideas, but any plans should involve the entire town.”

Another $2,500 is being requested to help  establish the new Veterans Area at the Athens Fairgrounds.

 

Doug Harlow — 612-2367
[email protected]
Twitter:@Doug_Harlow


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