BELGRADE — Voters at Saturday’s annual Town Meeting approved a $1.67 million budget and elected a selectman to fill the unexpired term of Rick Damren, who died while in office.

The budget represents an increase to the $1.41 budget passed last year, but whether the current tax rate of $15.38 per $1,000 of assessed valuation will change will not be known until the school and county budgets are decided, according to Town Manager Lorna Nichols.

About 85 people turned out for the meeting, held at the Belgrade Community Center for All Seasons. They passed all warrant articles in about two hours, according to Town Clerk Mary Vogel.

In elections Friday, Peter Rushton defeated Nicholas Alexander to fill the unexpired, three-year term of Selectman Rick Damren, who died while in office. The vote was 187-42.

Rushton, who served as chairman of the Planning Board for many years, resigned from that board to take the selectman’s position, according to Vogel.

“The Planning Board will be looking for a new chair,” Vogel said Sunday. “It leaves a leave a vacancy, so it’s an opportunity for somebody else to join the Planning Board.”


The board has authority to appoint a new member, she said.

Incumbent Selectman Daniel Newman, running unopposed, was reelected, as was incumbent Sara Languet, also running unopposed for her seat on the Regional School Unit No. 18 board of directors.

Also on Friday, voters approved five referendum questions by private ballot: $60,000 for lake protection, with $24,000 of that amount to go to the Belgrade Lakes Association efforts for milfoil removal on Great Pond. Friends of Messalonskee Lake will get $19,650 of the total for Belgrade Stream milfoil removal, $12,600 will go to Seven Lakes Alliance for courtesy boat inspections and the Youth Conservation Corps and $3,750 is designated for McGrath-Salmon Lake Association for courtesy boat inspections and the Youth Conservation Corps.

Voters also approved spending $1,138 for the Sexual Assault Crisis & Support Center.

By private ballot, voters also approved an update to the town’s cemetery ordinance, and agreed to spend $1,500 for Hospice Volunteers of Waterville Area and $1,488 to help fund Spectrum Generations for Belgrade residents.

On Saturday, voters approved a request to create a public works capital reserve account in the amount of $500,000, from undesignated funds, to prepare for the possibility that outside contracted resources are not available in future years. The town seeks to build a new building for the Public Works Department.

Voters also approved: $800,720 for municipal operations and administrative activities; $592,519 for public works; $479,555 for public safety; $416,240 for maintenance of facilities and grounds; and $365,800 for solid waste operations.

Additionally, residents voted to spend $23,418 for the town’s share of the 2023 operations and maintenance costs for the Village Dam and the Wings Mills and Salmon Lake dams.

They also agreed to raise and appropriate from taxation $297,060 for the first payment on the remaining two years of the road bond, $49,894 for the eighth payment on the 13-year bond for the Town Office and $15,000 for the tax anticipation interest, for a total of $361,954.

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