First Selectman Earl “Lee” Ireland speaks Saturday during the annual Industry Town Meeting. Pam Harnden/Livermore Falls Advertiser

INDUSTRY — Voters approved an additional $50,000 for design and construction of a new town garage, passed all budget articles and elected town officials during Saturday’s annual Town Meeting.

In about an hour, 22 voters moved their way through 34 warrant articles.

Voters approved $30,000 for the fire department, $5,000 less than the usual amount. Last year when voters approved purchasing a truck, the department agreed to put $5,000 toward the payment, Ireland said. “They will try to do more with less.”

Article 22 sought to increase the salary of the select board by $1,000 for each position.

“Why?” resident Mark Prentiss asked. “You can’t get through this this easy.”

It had taken voters 15 minutes to make their way through 19 articles.

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The board went back through town reports, discovered the selectmen are “on kind of the low end for selectmen in Maine,” First Selectman Earl “Lee” Ireland said. The last adjustment in salary was in 2006, and increasing it could help attract good people to serve, he noted.

“Selectmen can increase the salaries of other town employees, we can’t do that for ourselves,” Ireland said.

“Industry selectmen are some of the lowest paid in the area,” resident Betty Clark said.

One resident asked what “summer roads” meant. Road Commissioner Joseph Paradis Jr. said it was for road repairs in the summer.

“Years ago we talked about having just a ‘roads’ account due to the uncertainty of when plowing would need to start each year,” Ireland said. Selectmen came up with an annual program that puts $75,000 toward summer roads, $80,000 for winter, and anything not spent goes back to those accounts, thus the odd amounts, he noted.

For summer roads, $61,741 was approved and $59,735 was earmarked for winter roads.

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Resident Richard Plouff asked if a crosswalk could be installed near the beach area at Clearwater Lake.

“The state won’t let us do that,” Paradis said.

“We could do it, but the state isn’t going to sign off on it,” Ireland said. “It’s a liability the town of Industry just can’t handle.”

Clearwater Lake Association is going to erect plastic Jersey barriers filled with water in a half circle around the monument to channel kids and hopefully slow traffic down as it’s coming down Route 43, he noted.

Voters also approved $50,000 for continued work on the design and construction of the new town garage. Last year $22,000 was raised toward it.

Multiple meetings were held to determine if it could be built and where, Ireland said. “The goal is to bring it back to voters in June, before taxes are committed,” he noted. “If it comes in at $1.5 million, we’re not going to do it, we’ll leave the money in the account, hope costs go down.”

“Industry pays $1.6 million per year to keep the town running,” Ireland said. Of that, $124,000 went to county taxes and $935,000 to Regional School Unit 9 last year, he noted. In 1986, those amounts were $14,000 and $134,000 (respectively), he added.

In elections earlier in the day, incumbent Stewart Durrell received 43 votes for another three-year term on the selectboard. He was unopposed.

Richard Ruhlin received 39 write-in votes for a two-year term on the Regional School Unit 9 board of directors. A post March 9 on the Industry Facebook page indicated he was seeking the position.


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