SMITHFIELD — Voters at the annual Town Meeting approved a 180-day moratorium on commercial solar projects, a municipal budget totaling $952,023 and amendments that include one for shoreland zoning.

The meeting, held Saturday at the Smithfield municipal building, lasted about an hour and 45 minutes and 40 registered voters attended, according to Smithfield administrative assistant Nichole Clark. Five seasonal residents also attended but could not vote.

The solar moratorium went into effect Saturday and will run through Sept. 12. It prevents town officials from accepting applications for commercial solar power facilities. The intent is to give the town’s Planning Board time to develop and put to voters an ordinance regulating the construction of large-scale solar farms.

Nearby communities, including Belgrade, Norridgewock and Rome, recently adopted similar moratoriums.

The amendment to the Shoreland Zoning Ordinance incorporates updates to state laws that address hazardous trees, storm-damaged trees and dead tree removal. Other updates relate to exemptions to clearing and vegetation removal and revegetation requirements.

A change to the Smithfield Fire & Rescue bylaws includes changes to meeting and training attendance requirements for members.


Meanwhile, the municipal budget total of $952,023 represents a $73,705, or 8.4%, increase over last year’s budget.

Clark said the increase doesn’t necessarily mean the property tax rate will increase, as the school budget and the amount paid to Somerset County will not be known until July.

The town budget includes $52,020 for a fire tanker bond payment. It also includes $150,000 in tax dollars and $100,000 from the town’s surplus account for road paving.

Voters also approved using $1,000 in tax dollars and $5,000 from surplus for a secretarial position at the fire department.

One warrant article appropriated $14,500 in American Rescue Plan Act funds to extend the entrance to the town’s ballfield.

Article 54 was the only article not approved by voters. It was generated by a resident petition to use $115,552 to pave Bickford Road. The article was not recommended by the town’s budget committee.

During the secret ballot election that was held the same day as the town meeting, Richard Moore, Molly Chapman and Justin Furbush were all reelected to one-year terms on the Select Board.

Meredyth Tuttle was elected as town clerk, Joni Gould as tax collector and treasurer, Travis Warren as road commissioner, and Furbush as sexton. All the candidates ran unopposed.

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