Union voters approve $1.9 million budget

By Beth A. Birmingham | Jun 17, 2014
Photo by: Beth A. Birmingham Code Enforcement Officer Grant Watmough explains some revisions to the land use ordinance at Union Town Meeting June 16. All warrant articles passed with ease. Standing at the podium is moderator Ron Hawes.

Union — More than 50 residents turned out at town meeting June 16 to vote on Union's $1.93 million budget, up 3.76 percent

Voters approved appropriating $231,000 for the repair or replacement of the salt and sand shed at the public works garage, borrowing $160,000 to buy a new highway plow truck, and a $100,000 increase for the paving and road construction fund.

The town will trade-in or sell the most expensive vehicle to maintain in its public works fleet, according to Town Manager Jay Feyler. The ultimate goal is to get a reduced lifespan on the fleet.

One of the heftiest changes made to the preliminary budget was adding $100,000 to the public works paving and road construction. Feyler said funds have been earmarked to rebuild some of the dirt roads.

"The priority is set," explained selectman Greg Grotton regarding which roads would receive attention. "We need to face reality, otherwise we may as well get the horse and buggy back out," said Grotton.

"The board debated this for a long time, and the intent is to make a dent in these roads," said Chairman Elmer "Buddy" Savage. "It is not a cure-all, but it is a step in the right direction."

One resident who lives on one of the town's dirt roads was relieved to hear there is no plan to pave any of those roads, just conduct some necessary maintenance.

Union has 42 miles of roads to maintain, and 95 percent of residents do not live on the dirt roads in question. Feyler expected this article may see some resistance, but after little discussion it was approved.

The town meeting lasted about 90 minutes.

"It was the quickest town meeting I have ever attended," said Feyler.

Also at town meeting, the following municipal officials were elected:

Lee MacFarland, as trustee of the Cemetery Trust Funds, three-year term; John Mountainland, John Shepard, Lynn Athens, and Ann Donaldson to the Budget Committee, all three-year terms; and Paul Gaudreau as trustee of the William Pullen Fund, four-year term.

At the June 10 municipal elections, incumbents Savage and Grotton were reelected to the Board of Selectmen; Laura Curtis was reelected treasurer; and Robert Williams was elected to the Regional School Unit 40 Board of Directors.

Courier Publications reporter Beth A. Birmingham can be reached at 594-4401 ext. 125 or via email at bbirmingham@courierpublicationsllc.com.

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