Ira Hall speaks about the proposed 3% tax discount and what the return would be for him and other taxpayers Monday evening during the annual town meeting at Dave Archer Town Hall in Chesterville. Pam Harnden/Livermore Falls Advertiser

CHESTERVILLE — Voters at Monday’s annual town meeting changed how the Federal Emergency Management Agency money for storm damage is to be divided, splitting it evenly between capital roads improvements and road maintenance.

They also reduced interest on overdue property taxes and turned down a 3% discount for early payment.

Any FEMA reimbursement received in 2024 for storm damage was changed from 75% for capital roads and 25% for road maintenance to 50% for each.

Resident Edward Hastings IV said there are a lot more categories under road maintenance than capital roads. It gives flexibility, so the future Select Board can decide to put some of the money toward paving under road maintenance, he said.

Resident Scott Gray asked if some of the money would be used for a crusher to grind material from the town gravel pit, saving trucking.

That was the purpose of the warrant article, Selectperson Eric Hilton said. Road Foreman Clayton Tibbetts stressed that some of the money be allocated for crushing material the town has, Hilton said. “That is going to last us for years,” he noted.


Town Clerk Melissa Letarte said FEMA is still working on the Dec. 23-24, 2022, storm. She said the agency is four storms behind, and what will be paid this year isn’t known. “They want to pay the money out as quick as they can,” she said.

All money spent for storm damage this year came from the Public Works budget, Tibbetts said, and gravel was taken out of the town pit.

“In the future, us having our own gravel is going to be a real big savings,” Tibbetts said. One-and-a-half-inch crushed gravel will pack harder, bind better on shoulders and give better drainage, he said.

Riprap, 4-inch rock or larger could be put in ditches, Gray said. “It is all part of making our roads last,” he said. “Roads are the most expensive thing in our town.”

The interest on overdue property taxes was lowered from 8.5% to 5.5%.

“That is an amount we have the ability to control,” Hastings said. “This is what we are passing on to our fellow residents who can’t afford to pay their taxes. If we modify that down to 5.5% that would be a little bit generous, but still be an incentive for them to come in and pay their taxes.”


Norton said the state sets the maximum rate at 8.5%, but towns can lower it.

Voters also opposed a 3% discount for paying taxes in full within 30 days of receiving the bill. If approved, $46,000 from taxes would have been needed to cover the cost of the discount.

Resident Ira Hall said the discount would cost him $12.89 in taxes and he would get back $88.44 if he paid them within 30 days.

For most residents, the average return is about $40, he said.

“People who can’t pay their taxes are going to pay a higher rate, get hit with an additional cost,” Selectman Tim LeSiege said. “It hurts me if we vote it down. I am trying to do the right thing for everyone in town.” The bottom line is it will add $46,000 to the town’s budget, he added.

Hastings said the discount is motivation to pay taxes on time.

Norton said there was no trouble paying expenses after the discount was discontinued last year. Expenses were paid even though more waited to pay taxes without the discount, she said.

Hall suggested a flat rate be considered next year. “It is fairer to give a flat rate rather than a percentage,” he said.

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