BURNHAM — About two dozen residents sat for roughly four hours in the Burnham Fire Station March 19 for their annual town meeting. Most of the 60 articles on the warrant were discussed. The most notable discussions were about a road bond and making the town treasurer’s position one to be appointed by the Select Board rather than elected each year.

Residents did not act on an article authorizing the town to borrow $1.5 million for a road bond to resurface parts of Pond, North Horseback, Whitten, Basford, Cookson, Mountain, Morgan, Perkins, Johnson Flat and Winnecook roads. It figures out to about 19,145 tons of material, according to Robert Charles King, fire chief and road commissioner, who noted that some roads had not been repaved for as many as 16 years. Voters also did not act on an article authorizing the Select Board to put the work out to bid.

Town officials recommended residents take no action on the two articles because a financial statement was not presented to the bond attorney with the warrant for the meeting, Treasurer Susan King said. She said the statement had not been presented for previous bonds, but the state is starting to crack down on the formality.

She discussed some of the bond proposals at the meeting and said she hoped to seek additional proposals from other banks suggested by residents at the meeting. She expects a special town meeting to be scheduled soon.

Resident Roger Chadwick said if the town had repaved the roads when he last suggested it at a previous meeting, more roads could have been paved at a lower cost. “I apologize to the rest of the town, you all got screwed because somebody wanted to take it out on me, but I was looking out for your best interest and basically you got shafted,” he said.

King acknowledged that the roads should have been better maintained before they got as bad as they are now. “We should have been doing more in the past, but we didn’t,” he said.

When the time came for the article about changing how the treasurer is chosen, members of the Select Board said making the office an appointed one would allow them to oversee the position and to set requirements regarding job performance.

Chadwick took issue with the article because he liked the idea of the public having control over that office. Every year he sees rights being voted away, he said. Another resident opposed the measure because she thought the public would have no say in removing a person they do not like or who does not do a good job. However, the article passed.

In three articles related to the Fire Department, residents decided to increase the budget for fire protection, firemen’s payroll and Fire Department equipment, adding a combined $15,000 more than the Select Board recommended for those line items.

Residents agreed to raise $728,713.68 from taxes at the meeting, a 2.1% decrease from the $744,368.88 raised at last year’s meeting. The overall budget was 0.92% higher than last year’s, up from $756,368 last year to $763,313.68 this year. Residents voted to take $30,000 from surplus this year, compared to $12,000 last year.

Brent Chase won a three-year term on the Select Board over Sherri Thornton. Robert King was reelected to a one-year term as highway commissioner. Susan King was voted in for another one-year term as the town’s treasurer. Brian Whitney won a three-year term on the MSAD 53 Board of Directors. Franz Spiegel was reelected to a three-year term as sexton.

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