Residents breezed through all 35 warrant articles at the 2010 town meeting, which town officials said was sparsely attended compared to past years.

Selectwoman Sophie Glidden attributed the low attendance to the fact there were no controversial questions facing voters this year and the budget was proposed to remain about the same. Town Clerk Sheila McCarty also reported the lowest municipal election turnout in generations at the polls March 12.

The meeting lasted about three and a half hours, which included a one-hour break for lunch. A full buffet-style meal, including turkey, ham, mashed potatoes, vegetables, beans, rolls and pies, was provided by Branch Mills Grange. An estimated 75 people were there at the start of the meeting, but numbers slowly dwindled as the morning went on.

Residents approved a $617,463 municipal budget, down about $12,642 from this year. In addition, the town will also make the last payment of $17,500 toward the fire truck. A total of $264,737 will be paid to Waldo County for services, which is up $5,005. The budget did not exceed LD1, the state’s property tax levy limit law.

Townspeople agreed to contribute $6,000 toward the Palermo Consolidated School’s eighth-grade trip to Washington, D.C. The money was approved for this year’s seventh-graders. Five current eighth-graders gave a presentation, along with their teacher, Brian Wedge, on the trip details and their fundraising efforts.

“This is a great educational opportunity for the students of our town,” Wedge said.

Wedge said the current eighth-grade class of 17 students had raised more than $6,000 for this year’s trip, between benefit dinners, car washes and more.

“I feel very proud that our class gets to go on a trip like this, but it wouldn’t be possible without the help of the community,” student Donald Pilsbury said.

Residents also agreed to spend $10,000 to expand Hannan Cemetery by 88 gravesites. The lots will be sold for $200 each.

A question whether to increase the amount requested by the Palermo Youth Activities group by $1,000 to $4,000 generated a lengthy discussion before being approved by voters. PYA President Ryan Harmon said the extra $1,000 was to fix a drainage issue on the field and would be a one-time request from the town. Harmon said timing did not allow him to get the request in before the warrant was printed.

One resident said the question should have been a separate article to guarantee the money is used to fix the field. Another resident reminded folks that all kinds of groups, not just PYA, use the field. It is used during Palermo Days, by the school and for other adult sports.

Other line items approved were:
• Municipal wages — $141,920, down $16,100 from current year. The decrease is mainly due to cutting a staffer position that was created several years ago and never filled.

• Health and safety — $50,750.

• Roads — $340,000. The town expended $314,691 in 2009. In addition, $175,000 was approved for paving and repaving.

• Town charge — $65,900. The account is for insurance, staff training and expenses, dues, printing and advertising.

At the polls, Selectman Paul Cowing was re-elected, receiving 68 votes, Simeon Blake Brown was re-elected assessor with 71 votes, Kathy Tesseo gathered 80 votes to be re-elected as tax collector, Virginia Fleming was re-elected as general assistance administrator with 78 votes. All terms are for three years. Scott Childs was elected road commissioner for a one-year term with 81 votes.

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