Residents at the annual town meeting March 17 officially abandoned hopes of getting a new exit ramp from Interstate 95 and approved a budget on-ramp to the information superhighway.

The idea of an I-95 exit was first broached in the 1960s and was allegedly killed by influential town residents. Officials revived the topic last year and voters gave tepid approval to look into it.

At the time, the benefits appeared to be largely speculative, and a year later, Selectman George Robison gave a similar account and said he was advised by the state that speculation wouldn't be enough.

"Unless you have a real economic advantage," Robison said, "not just, 'If you build it, they will come.'"

If the town wanted to press forward, Robison said, residents would have to pay for half of a traffic study and could end up footing a major share of the overall cost, which was not known.

One resident said the exit at Trafton Road in Oakland had cost $6.5 million, of which a property owner paid half. Former Selectman Roger Chadwick said a Burnham exit could be as much as $10 million to $12 million. He anticipated the town would be on the hook for a quarter of the cost.

"I could see a price tag of $4 or $5 million," Chadwick said.

Robison said $4 million might not be out of the question under different circumstances.

"If we had a commercial activity, that would be a possibility," he said, "but we don't have it."

Residents voted to pass over the article that would have authorized selectmen to continue to with the next phase of the process for establishing an I-95 exit.

Voters approved starting a town website, but not without debate. Resident Laura Singh volunteered to build the site for free and said $288 would cover the cost of hosting for three years. After some discussion, that number was bumped up to $400.

Earlier in the meeting, residents had complained that some of their neighbors had not received Town Reports. At present the town pays someone to deliver the reports door-to-door. Singh said posting the annual report on the website would go some way toward making it more available.

Planning Board Chairman Brian Croft said it would be very helpful to be able to direct residents to a website for common questions.

Roger Chadwick questioned future costs to the town, and placed the website among other projects started by volunteers that later had to be picked up by paid workers. Chadwick asked if the work would fall to Town Clerk Stacy Patterson and Deputy Clerk Cay Jones. Patterson and Jones seemed to indicate some concern that updating a website would add to their workload.

A nonresident, who identified himself as working in information technology, said setup is the costliest part of having a website. He said he "wouldn't touch" a website construction project for $400 and advised residents to take advantage the volunteer work offered by Singh. They did, approving the $400 for hosting.

In town elections, voters re-elected Selectman Stuart Huff to a three-year term, Highway Commissioner Charles King to a one-year term, and Treasurer Arlene Miles to a one-year term. Miles has been Burnham's treasurer for 65 years. All candidates ran unopposed.

Roughly 40 people attended the annual town meeting. The event ran 3 ½ hours and covered 58 articles. Maine Senate District 11 candidate Jayne Giles, R-Belfast, and House District 99 challenger April Turner, D-Freedom, attended the meeting but were not formally recognized or invited to speak.