Appleton residents made no changes to the proposed budget at the June 14 annual town meeting, approving an $11,600 increase in town spending.

Former Select Board Chairman Donald Burke also asked current board members to remember to be respectful and civil during interactions with townspeople.

About 40 people attended the annual meeting, held at the Appleton Village School, which lasted a little more than two hours. In total, residents approved an $842,443 municipal budget, up about 1.4 percent from this year's spending package. Townspeople agreed to take $260,000 from surplus to further reduce the tax commitment to $582,443.

The only changes to the articles as presented were to not approve taking $2,500 from the town land conservation fund to pay for computer software to assess personal property and reducing the interest rate on late taxes from 7 percent to 5 percent. Residents chose to take no action on a question asking how much money should be taken from the school's unassigned fund balance for school services.

Burke, who was honored by the town with a Spirit of America award for his decades of service at the start of the meeting, expressed his concern with the conduct of board members during an article dealing with stipends for the Select Board. He reminded the board that it works for the townspeople, not the other way around, and said he is concerned with the lack of civility he has witnessed recently.

He said he had seen board members "wag their fingers" at people and was concerned when he attended a regular Select Board meeting and Fire Chief David Stone, who also is an Appleton resident, was told he was not allowed to speak.

"It's unacceptable to be treated that way," Burke said. "We are not children." He asked the board to show respect and demonstrate civility in the future.

Katharine Woodman said she had heard that certain townspeople had been referred to as riffraff, which Select Board member Peter Beckett said was a lie.

Claire Adams defended board members, saying she had seen them modeling professionalism and thanked them for providing proper information to townspeople.

Later in the meeting, an article asking to adopt an ordinance that outlines a petition method for townspeople to remove elected officials from office was approved.

Chairman John Fenner said state law only allows for the removal of an elected official if that person has been convicted of a crime and the town is the victim. This ordinance, he said, goes beyond that and provides for the town to put additional protection in place. He said Liberty has a similar ordinance on the books.

Residents asked why the Tri-County Solid Waste facility in Union is no longer open on Sundays. Beckett said the state stepped in because waste was building up outside of the dumpsters during the weekend because all the places where trash is taken are closed on Sundays and Mondays. Beckett and Board member Scott Wiley encouraged residents to contact the town by email or phone to express their concerns with the limited hours and they would address the taxpayers' concerns. The two are the town's representatives for Tri-County.

The town department budgets were approved as follows:

— General government, $219,447

— Protection and safety, $135,257

— Highways and Bridges, $414,400

— Sanitation, $40,100

— Community, $23,500

— Provider agencies, $6,739

— Capital improvement projects, $3,000

Courier Publications Editor Kim Lincoln can be reached at 236-8511 or by email at