February 24

Solon Town Meeting to consider $380K in borrowing

Meeting on Saturday will consider municipal spending levels that are flat compared to last year.

By Doug Harlow dharlow@centralmaine.com
Staff Writer

SOLON — Residents at the annual Town Meeting Saturday will be asked to borrow $380,000 for a project to repave several roads in town and to set aside money for a public sand and salt pile because of all the ice this winter.

Polls for the election of town officers will be open from 8 a.m. until 12:15 p.m. at the Solon Elementary School. A public dinner will follow, with the annual business meeting set for 1:30 p.m. in the school gymnasium.

First Selectwoman Elaine Aloes said the proposed road project would repave Brighton Road, French Hill Road, Drury Road, Grant Road and the Solon section of Hole in the Wall Road. The project also would replace a deep culvert on River Road, west of Michael Stream.

The proposal is to raise $271,000 from taxation, take $115,000 from state road assistance funds, $148,000 from the town’s paving reserve fund and to borrow $380,000 at 4 percent interest over two years.

Aloes said if voters reject the idea of borrowing they will have the option in the following article to raise $217,000 by taxation to add to the paving reserve account and put off paving the roads for another year. She said the work could be done next year without borrowing any money, but now is a good time to get the work done.

“Rates are low and it’s a good time to borrow,” Aloes said.

Over all, Aloes said municipal spending for the coming year will be about the same as was approved by Solon voters at the 2013 annual Town Meeting. Last year’s budget came in at about $503,000, which was up from $432,000 the year before. The municipal budget does not include the county tax and the school budget.

The town tax rate is $16.00 per $1,000 in property valuation.

Voters on Saturday will be asked to spend $30,000 for the Fire Department and $65,000 for the transfer station. In the proposed public works budget, residents will be asked to raise $84,000 for winter roads, $94,000 for summer roads, $10,000 for equipment maintenance and $15,000 for the equipment reserve account.

The Board of Selectmen is recommending raising $1,000 this year for an extra sand and salt pile for residents to use. Aloes said this winter’s pile was reduced because of all the icy weather. The town Budget Committee recommends against the idea.

“We usually put out some sand every year for the townspeople to use out of our own sand pile — we have a little shed down by the town garage,” Aloes said. “But this year it was so icy, we used so much more sand than we normally use so we had to stop doing that. It’s just something our town and a lot of towns do, they put a little sand out after every storm for people to use on their driveways.”

In town elections, incumbent Selectwoman Sarah Davis is running unopposed, as is Town Clerk and Tax Collector Leslie Giroux and school board member Laura Layman. Judith Robertson, the incumbent Town Treasurer, has withdrawn her name from the ballot, leaving the position open to a write-in candidate.

Doug Harlow — 612-2367 dharlow@centralmaine.com Twitter: @Doug_Harlow

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