Palermo residents pull the plug on generator purchase

By Ben Holbrook | Mar 19, 2014

Palermo — Palermo officials described this year's annual meeting as “rather uneventful” with the exception of discussion regarding the merits of buying and installing a generator at the Town Office.

Town officials asked residents if they would raise and appropriate $5,000 for the purchase and installation of a generator at the Town Office. Selectman H. Dean Potter said officials began discussing purchasing a generator in the wake of the 2013 ice storm that left much of Waldo County in the dark.

Potter said having a generator at the Town Office would not only keep pipes from freezing in the building, it would also keep computers running and the phone lines operational for emergency use.

The $5,000 expenditure was approved unanimously by the board of selectmen and the budget committee, but was eventually defeated at town meeting after a majority of residents voted against the purchase, Potter said.

Residents also approved a $310,000 roads budget without any changes. Of that amount, the town would raise from taxation $60,000 with the remaining $250,000 coming from excise.

According to the town warrant, it was suggested $80,000 would be allocated to road maintenance; $160,000 to snow removal and sanding; and $70,000 to road improvements.

During discussion of an article related to the sum of money the town would raise and/or appropriate for paving and repaving roads, residents debated the recommendations made by the selectmen and the budget committee.

The selectmen recommended a $100,000 budget, $29,302 of which would come from Urban Rural Initiative Project (URIP) money, which is now designated as the Local Road Assistance Program (LRAP). The town would then raise $70,698.

However, the budget committee recommended a $180,000 budget, $29,302 of which would come from URIP funds. The committee would raise the remaining balance of $150,698.

Potter said as residents discussed the issue, one resident eventually motioned to appropriate $50,000 from undesignated funds and then raise $101,000, in addition to the $29,302 from URIP funds, which was passed by voters.

According to a report from Road Commissioner Scott Childs, projects for 2014 include doing work on Marden Hill Road, Parmenter Road, Hostile Valley Road and Arnold Lane. In addition, Childs indicated paving projects for 2015 and 2015 include South Liberty Road, Level Hill Road, Nelson Lane and Hostile Valley Road.

During last year's town meeting, residents approved the purchase of a new grader, which now has a total of 324 hours on it after grading all 20 gravel roads in the town.

Potter noted the issue of municipal wages, which has been a topic of intense discussion in the past, was approved without much talk during Saturday's meeting. This year, the selectmen and budget committee recommended a budget of $76,000, which voters approved.

He said in past years, the town cut some wages for budgetary reasons and also reduced the number of workers in the town office from four people to three. In addition, he said the town also saved money on municipal wages by going to an hourly wage as opposed to salary a few years ago.

Potter said the meeting adjourned around 2 p.m.

Election results:

Selectman (three year term) — Harry Dean Potter

Assessor (three year term) — Dennis Keller

Road Commissioner (one year term) — Scott Childs

General Assistance Administrator ( three year term) Darryl McKenney

RSU Board Member (three year term) — Richard Reitchel

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Ben Holbrook
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Ben Holbrook is a reporter for The Republican Journal covering general news.

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