Wales Town Meeting draws nearly 100 for contested headmaster’s seat
WALES — Nearly 100 people crammed into a standing room area at the town office on Saturday for the annual town meeting.
In total, residents voted on 39 term items in a meeting moderated by selector Randall Greenwood.
Greenwood said the high turnout was likely related to the disputed election of the Regional School Unit 4 board of trustees. Last year, just under 50 people turned out for the Annual Municipal Assembly.
During the meeting, coach Eric Gagnon was elected to his fifth term on the board and Fyfe was elected to complete the final year of a three-year term on the RSU 4 board.
The proposed municipal budget of $1.33 million was adopted without changes. The 27% budget increase represents $287,000 more than the current spending plan of $1.05 million.
If the proposed $23.1 million school budget is passed on Tuesday, residents of Wales can expect to see an estimated property tax increase of $1.20 per $1,000 of assessed value. At this rate, the owner of a property valued at $100,000 would see an increase of $120.
This calculation includes the municipal, county and proposed school budget.
All 18 expenditure items were approved. The recommendation of the elected officials, which was often the same as that of the budget committee and the recommendations of the stakeholders, was chosen for each article.
One article authorized the city to raise $25,000 in overdraft fees on city paving projects and to approve up to $30,000 from the undesignated fund in the event of a future overdraft. City Treasurer Sharon Siegel said it was the first time the city had been exposed.
Residents also approved donations of $9,500 to local nonprofit organizations, with the largest amounts going to the Ministry of Rural Community Action ($3,000) and Community Concepts ($2,000).
An article asked citizens for permission to transfer up to $180,000 allocated from the Public Works maintenance budget for snow removal to the capital reserve account if the City could not find a road maintenance contractor municipal this winter.
If the city cannot find a contractor, Public Works will have to purchase its own snowplow and snow removal equipment under state law.
At the start of the meeting, Gagnon presented Amy Raymond with the Spirit of America award.
As a mother of six, Raymond is deeply involved in RSU 4. She is the current President of the Oak Hill Boosters Club and a member of the Oak Hill Pike Derby Committee. She also helped organize the 2021 prom for the Oak Hill High School students.
Incumbent Gagnon presented himself without contest to the Board of Selectmen. Fyfe, who will serve a one-year term, was named to the board by elected officials last August to complete the second year of a three-year term.
There were 84 voters present in the election of the director of RSU 4, but only 79 ballots. Fyfe, Hannah Dieterich and Jess Smith have been nominated for the job.
In the original election, Fyfe received 30 votes, Dieterich 29, and Smith 20. The city charter requires a majority vote to fill the position, so Smith was removed from consideration and a runoff was held. venue.
Fyfe won the seat by a single vote, winning 40 votes to Dieterich’s 39.
Following the election of the board of directors, approximately one third of the participants left the meeting.
A solar ordinance targeting commercial developers was also passed by voters after significant discussion. The ordinance details the areas in which solar farms are permitted, setback requirements and screening requirements.
“It’s not about keeping solar farms out, it’s about adhering to guidelines,” Planning Council Chairman Christopher Siegel said.
Several residents raised concerns about whether the ordinance contained a clear distinction between residential and commercial development projects. President Siegel responded that residents would continue to be able to install solar panels on their roofs for their personal electricity use.
“If we don’t pass it, they can really come and do whatever they want,” he said.
A moratorium previously adopted by the Board of Selectmen expired this week, according to Sharon Siegel.
A resident pushed back against the statement, commenting that a solar project would still have to undergo site review by the city without the ordinance.
“If we don’t pass this, there’s a lot less we can ask of solar developers in this city,” amended Christopher Siegel.
The fee schedule referenced in the order has yet to be set, according to Sharon Siegel.
MSAD 52 budget passes revised; the second vote is Tuesday