WINDSOR: Every article but one passed unanimously

by Mary Grow

A dozen Windsor voters, mostly masked, who spaced themselves around the Windsor School gymnasium were in an agreeable mood at the July 15 town meeting.

Supplemented by four selectmen and several town employees, they voted unanimously in favor of every warrant article except one. That one they voted unanimously against; moderator Jeffrey Frankel even asked for a revote to make sure he hadn’t missed a murmured dissent.

The defeated article was the annual one asking voters to override the state-set limit on the amount of spending from taxation. Assessor’s assistant Vern Ziegler said previously-approved spending for 2020-21 was more than $900,000 under the limit, so the article was unnecessary.

Normally a written vote is required on the spending limit, but Frankel said Governor Janet Mills waived the requirement to minimize contact among voters and staff.

Most of the articles dealt with the 2020-21 budget. Voters agreed to put $446,000 into eight different reserve funds; approved requested expenditures, with public works, administration and the transfer station being the most expensive areas; and bought the public works department a new plow truck for $175,000, with $100,000 coming from the truck replacement reserve fund and $75,000 to be borrowed over three years.

The spending article that took the most time, because each item in it needed an individual vote, was the appropriation of $3,450 to nine out-of-town social service agencies that serve Windsor residents.

Meeting attendees got information about town business from Town Manager Theresa Haskell’s opening statement and from answers to questions raised as articles were briefly discussed.

Haskell said town officials had prepared a pre-Covid-19 budget that they revised downward beginning in mid-March. The budget approved at the meeting had $293 less in expenditures than the 2019-20 budget, she said.

Two articles generated questions about cemeteries, specifically lot sales and maintenance. Each answer included, “Talk to Joyce,” meaning cemetery sexton Joyce Perry. Selectman Ronald Brann praised Perry’s work.

The Veterans’ Memorial Fund got $10,000 from voters. Haskell said with previous private donations and town appropriations there is enough money for the memorial itself; future fund-raising will provide a base, ground work and lighting, followed by a wall and a parking area.

Haskell said the town crew has finished roadside mowing. Voters asked why Routes 32 and 105 were still overgrown.

They’re the State of Maine’s responsibility, Haskell replied. Routes 32 and 17 are state roads, and the state is responsible for year-round maintenance. Route 105 is a state aid road with shared maintenance: the town plows it, but the state does summer work. She blamed Covid-19 for state workers being behind schedule this year.

The town meeting opened a couple minutes after its announced 6:30 p.m. start and adjourned at 7:50 with a round of applause for moderator Frankel.

The July 15 open meeting was preceded by a July 14 written-ballot local election, with no contests on the ballot.

Brann and Richard H. Gray, Jr., were re-elected for three-year terms as selectmen. Successful write-in candidates for the budget committee were Robert Holt, Tom McNaughton and Jeremy St. Onge. Ryan Carver was unopposed for a seat on the Regional School Unit (RSU) #12 school budget committee.


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