FAYETTE — The town’s $3.05 million budget was approved by residents during annual Town Meeting at Fayette Central School on Tuesday.

In addition to the spending plan, residents elected selectmen and School Committee members.

The approved spending plan represents a $6,109 reduction over the current budget. While the overall budget is down, the municipal portion increased by $177,068 — or 14.63% — from the previous $1.21 million spending plan. Notable increases include general government going up by about $100,000 and public safety increasing by roughly $50,000.

The town, however, anticipates applying $614,425 from all nonreal estate funds throughout the year toward lowering the commitment, bringing the total down to $777,600, or $16,565 less than the previous budget.

Only one article did not pass as presented. Article 26, which asked voters if they would support transferring up to $4,000 in excise tax money from the sale of boat registrations to the 30 Mile River Watershed Association, was amended so the transfer is limited to $3,000.

The nonprofit corporation is an association of town officials along the 30 Mile River Watershed, from Kimball Pond down to the Androscoggin Dead Water, with the purpose of protecting and preserving the watershed.


Fayette Town Manager Mark Robinson said this will not have an effect on the tax commitment, and said a motion was first made to stop supporting the organization entirely. After this failed, a second motion to reduce the total to $3,000 ultimately passed.

Since 2008, Robinson said, the town has traditionally spent up to $3,000 annually to be part of the organization, and the majority of residents during the meeting felt the $1,000 increase was not justified.

Kirstie Ludwig, who represents the town of Fayette on the association, explained during the meeting why the increase was justified while Fayette Budget Committee member Brent St. Clair presented an argument against the additional funding.

According to Ludwig, St. Clair expressed concern the additional funding would go toward raises for salaried members of the organization.

Ludwig on Wednesday said all of the costs required for the organization’s work, which includes ensuring water quality is optimal and monitoring and eradicating invasive plants, have risen since 2008.

“Expenses have certainly increased,” she said, “and we don’t have a product to sell. We’re not selling a physical item, our product is the people that go out and do this work.”


She said the sentiment from some in attendance was that the organization’s work should be done on a completely volunteer basis, and that salaried members were overpaid.

In addition to Fayette, she said the towns of Chesterville, Leeds, Mount Vernon, Readfield, Vienna and Wayne are part of the organization. They also receive funding from donors, corporations, grants and conservation organizations. The organization consists of more than 150 volunteers and 16 paid staff members.

“We are, as a community, environmentally conscientious, so this was surprising and disappointing to me,” Ludwig said after the meeting.

St. Clair was not immediately available for comment.

For the election, incumbent Jon Beekman was reelected to the Board of Selectmen for a three-year term with 59 votes. As for the School Committee, Kristen Laverdiere and Richard Darling were elected to three-year seats with 49 and 46 votes, respectively, while Shelly Weston was elected for a two-year term with 41 votes.

Roughly 50 people attended the meeting, which lasted approximately two hours. Robinson said this was the town’s first time conducting the meeting on a weekday, as opposed to the weekend. He added that he hopes the new format continues in the future.

“As disagreeable and hot as the weather was in terms of attracting people to the gym — it was uncomfortable and sticky — we had a good attendance,” Robinson said. “We got more people, and new people we hadn’t seen before, and that was the goal — to get some of the younger people who traditionally wouldn’t go on a Saturday morning on one of the most beautiful days in June.”

Looking ahead, he said the town will consider hosting its meeting at an earlier date in the year when the weather is more agreeable.

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