Residents at the Starks annual Town Meeting on Saturday will be asked to discuss the possibility of using town land for the installation of solar panels for the generation of electrical power.

Townwide elections are set for noon until 8 p.m. Friday at the Starks Community Center on Anson Road. The annual business meeting and voting on the 55-article town warrant is scheduled for 9 a.m. Saturday, also at the Community Center.

Paul Frederick, chairman of the Starks Board of Selectmen, is up for re-election, unopposed on the ballot for a three-year term. He said he is seeking his 14th year on the board, with the past 10 years being consecutive. He said he previously served on the Board of Selectmen in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

Maryann Gawlinski is unopposed on the election ballot for a seat on the Board of Assessors. Gwen Hilton, the incumbent, is not seeking re-election, Frederick said. The Starks seat on the local school board is not up for election this year.

Frederick said if all spending articles are passed as written Saturday, the annual budget will be $564,272, or up just over 1 percent from last year’s figure of $555,267. The town tax rate is $17.60 for every $1,000 in property valuation. There is a proposal in Article 48 to take $28,040 from undesignated funds, or surplus, to lower the tax commitment.

Frederick said the board wants authorization to investigate the use of various town properties as possible sites for photovoltaic or solar-collecting equipment. Frederick said a gravel pit on Sawyers Mills Road is a possible site.

He said there is no money involved with the idea at this point. The idea is to conduct a study about the possibility of erecting solar panels on the property that served as the town gravel pit for some 60 years. It’s about a 25-acre piece of property, he said.

“It’s just sitting there. It’s a worked-over gravel pit,” he said. “I don’t know if this is a practical concept or not, but we’ve discussed it some, and we’d like to pursue more information, investigate.”

Frederick said the second item of possible interest Saturday involves the town fire station.

“We raised some money last year to do some work there, but we did not do the work,” he said. “That’s a $35,000 item, and we just did not find a contractor to do what we wanted done in a timely fashion. We’ve delayed that until this year.”

Also on the town warrant is a proposal to raise $5,000 and to appropriate another $4,157 from the 2018 Federal Emergency Management Agency reimbursement to purchase a commercial generator for use at the town garage and the fire station. He said, when there are power outages in Starks, town officials will be able to electrically lift and lower the heavy rolled doors at the fire station and the garage.

“We’ll be able to get our equipment out during power outages without having to fight with those heavy doors and lift them up manually,” Frederick said.

Voting on Saturday also will include requests for funding general administration in the amount of $98,166. That account includes computer upgrades, payroll taxes, insurance and legal expenses. Voters also will be asked to raise a total of $65,650 for town salaries, $3,500 for operating expenses at the former Starks Town Hall on Locke Hill Road and $12,160 for the town’s contribution to the Anson Madison Starks Ambulance Service.

Funding requests Saturday also are to include $43,300 for the Fire Department, $18,000 for the Community Center and $46,000 for equipment maintenance for the coming year. For the road accounts, funding requests include $72,500 for summer roads, $62,000 for winter roads and $9,787 for the debt service on salt shed bond.

In Article 43, Starks residents will be asked to take $135,000 from the state Local Roads Assistance Program to pave the upper section of Chicken Street.

 

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


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