2013 Town Meetings
By Doug Harlow email@example.com
SOLON — Voters at the annual Town Meeting on Saturday put off borrowing money to pave five roads this year in favor of raising money to do repairs and replace culverts on the roads instead.
The original plan was to raise $217,000 from taxes, to take $48,000 from the local road assistance program and to borrow $580,000 over four years to repave Brighton Road, French Hill Road, Drury Road, Grant Road and the already paved portion of Hole In The Wall Road. Selectwoman Elaine Aloes and Road Commissioner Michael Foster said they would prefer to raise the $217,000 this year for work to ensure that the road surfaces will be ready for paving. Aloes said the 1999 town road plan is ahead of schedule and those roads were not scheduled for hot top until next year anyway. Resident Gary Farnham made the motion to table the paving indefinitely, and voters agreed. The $217,000 also would be used to make final payments on the town’s sand salt shed. In a related article Saturday, Solon voters rejected a proposal calling for the town to pay for 80 percent of the health insurance of Foster, the road commissioner; and his worker, Nick Rollins. The men will continue to pay for their own health coverage. Residents, including Farnham, said they can sympathize with them, but the reality is that many people pay their own way. Others who are on fixed incomes simply can not afford their taxes to go up every year, Farnham said. “Those people who are hurting the most can’t do it,” Farnham said. “They can’t cover these costs. They can’t make it up.” All three selectmen and a majority of residents agreed in a show-of-hands vote. Aloes said selectmen and the Budget Committee agreed on a proposed municipal budget for 2013 of $790,473, which is $53,000, or 7 percent, higher than last year’s budget. Voters approved it. In other voting Saturday, Kennebec Behavioral Health was the lone social service agency to secure its original request for funding after recommendations to cut spending for four agencies. The agency had asked for $1,100, but selectmen and the Budget Committee recommended $500 on the Town Meeting warrant. Voters approved the higher amount. The Family Violence Project, Crisis and Counseling Centers and the Sexual Support Crisis Center will receive less than the funding they requested. After the meeting, selectmen noted that Kennebec Behavioral Health was the only agency to send a representative to the budget meeting and to the town meeting. The other agencies did not send representatives. Spending articles approved at Saturday’s Town Meeting included $63,000 for the town’s transfer station, $81,000 for winter roads, $77,000 for summer roads and $21,200 for the Fire Department. Voters also agreed to take $80,000 from surplus to reduce taxes. In Town Meeting elections, veteran incumbent Elaine Aloes defeated challenger Lois Miller for a three-year term, 80–54. About 45 people attended the meeting. Doug Harlow — 612-2367