NORRIDGEWOCK — Residents approved a municipal budget of more than $2.2 million, OK’d using $1.6 million in revenue to reduce the tax commitment, increased the town manager’s pay and approved hiring two full-time firefighters at Monday’s town meeting.

“We are very thankful for the confidence that voters have shown to the department,” fire Capt. Todd Pineo said Tuesday. “We look forward to implementing a program that is successful and is sensitive to the cost and needs of the town.”

The fire department, which responds to about 200 calls a year in the towns of Norridgewock and Mercer, has 18 on-call volunteers. They are paid per call, but do not have a set schedule.

Pineo said the department is looking for daytime coverage, and adding the full-time positions takes the burden off the on-call volunteers.

A straw poll taken at the 2019 town meeting indicated residents wanted to hire two full-time firefighters, but a federal grant selectmen applied for to help pay for the positions was not granted.

David Jones, chief for the Norridgewock Fire Department, at the department in Norridgewock on Wednesday. Residents approved hiring two full-time firefighters Monday during Town Meeting. Morning Sentinel file photo by Michael G. Seamans

The article on the town warrant called for voters to authorize two full-time Norridgewock Fire Department firefighters to begin no sooner than July 1 and for $50,000 to cover the cost of the new positions through the six months remaining in 2020. With the positions approved, the request from the fire department in fiscal year 2021 is expected to be a minimum of $100,000, but more likely in the range of $120,000 to 130,000 per year to adequately fund the positions, according to Town Manager Richard LaBelle.

Pineo said it will be a few months before applications will be accepted as job descriptions and qualifications are in the process of being created. He said that they have looked at other departments’ job descriptions, including Fairfield, Farmington, Oakland and Skowhegan.

Residents approved a municipal budget of $2,245,351 and the use of $1.6 million in anticipated revenues to reduce the tax commitment. LaBelle said that $600,000 comes from excise tax revenues and $550,000 from the host agreement with Waste Management.

Residents chose to approve the administration budget of $354,725 recommended by the budget committee, over the $346,725 recommended by the board of selectmen. LaBelle said the higher figure recommended by the budget committee increases the town manager’s salary so that it is competitive in the labor market.

Lindsey Lynch, a newly-elected member of the Board of Selectmen and a member of the budget committee, said at the town meeting that the reason for the $8,000 was to “stay competitive” with other local towns.

“Looking at similar sized towns and what their town managers are being paid, the thought was that we want to stay competitive and pay a fair rate.” she said.

The question calling for removal of the speed tables from Upper Main Street did not pass, with 149 in support of removing them and 164 opposed.

Elected as selectmen and overseers of the poor were Matthew Everett, James Lyman, Ronald Frederick, Sara Wilder and Lindsey Lynch. The term is for one year.

Elected as tax assessors were Ronald Frederick, James Lyman and Charlotte Curtis.

Elected as budget committee members, who serve a three-year term, were Melannie Keister and Sara Wilder. John Lynch was elected to a two-year term and Tara Desroches was elected to a one-year term.

Elected as planning board members, who will serve a three-year term, were Charlotte Curtis and Margaret O’Connell.

Elected as School Administrative District 54 directors were Desiree Libby and Brandy Morgan.

Rebecca Ketchum was elected a library trustee.

Elected as sewer commission members, who will serve a two-year term, were Kristina Gossman and Jennifer Smiley. Jason Dixon was elected to a one-year term.

LaBelle said that 318 votes were cast in the referendum and 315 in the candidate elections on Monday.

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