UNITY — More than 50 people gathered at Unity Elementary School on Saturday to approve the town’s municipal budget and to consider federal coronavirus relief fund allocations as well as a 180-day moratorium on large-scale commercial solar projects.

All articles at the Town Meeting passed, except the moratorium, Administrative Assistant Kari Hunt said Monday.

The municipal budget totals $1,457,487, up $92,324, or 6.8%, from last year. Some of that increase will be offset by drawing funds from the town’s surplus or its tax increment financing, or TIF, account. The amount to be raised by taxes is $764,238, Hunt said.

The meeting lasted more than four hours and didn’t include any notably contentious issues, Hunt said. Residents engaged in normal discussions about various warrant articles, she said.

The article that drew the most discussion involved a $40,000 allocation from the town’s TIF account for the installation of broadband infrastructure. Some residents questioned the appropriateness of using taxpayer money for the installation of infrastructure that would ultimately be owned by a private company, Hunt said.

The hometown telecommunications company UniTel, which was recently purchased by Idaho-based Direct Communications, gave a presentation at the Town Meeting about the new owners and broadband, Hunt said.


One article on the warrant involved a $14,711 request from Waldo Community Action Partners that was amended down to match the Board of Selectmen and budget committee’s recommendation of $2,200, Hunt said.

An article asking to allocate $18,125 in federal coronavirus relief funds was also amended down to $14,250.

Other allocations approved Saturday for the town’s federal relief funds included $20,000 to Unity Ambulance for purchase of a Lucas Device and personal protective equipment; $9,000 to the Volunteer Food Pantry, $3,000 each year for three years; $3,000 to The Open Door, a volunteer group that hosts soup kitchens and distributes food, $1,000 each year for three years; and $50,000 for water remediation.

In polling the day before the Town Meeting, newcomer Timothy Parker Jr. ran unopposed and was elected with 29 votes to replace Tony Avila on the select board. Avila, who was not on the ballot, received 16 write-in votes, Hunt said.

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