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Gill votes on pavement, trucks and raises

GILL — Residents approved spending for repaving at the elementary school, buying a truck, plowing and sanding equipment and raises for the town clerk and the treasurer.

Both articles to fund the repaving project, $5,000 from the maintenance account and $45,000 from the town’s “Free Cash” surplus account passed on audibly close voice votes. Some residents complained the lower parking lot in its present dimensions is too small and the addition of a guardrail has resulted in accidents during parking and exiting, and asked whether the lot would be expanded.

Selectboard member John Ward said the plan was not to increase the footprint. Selectboard member Randy Crochier said after the points raised he needed more information and would discuss the plan with the highway director the next day, but asked that voters approve the money so it is available.

The $155,000 appropriation to purchase a dump truck, plow attachment and other equipment passed by a declared two-thirds majority, with one vote in the negative and no discussion. The new truck will replace a 1990 Ford for the Highway Department.

The article setting salaries of elected town officials, all level-funded before a cost of living increase voted in the next article, passed unanimously following the semi-contentious addition of $1,000 raises for the treasurer and town clerk.

Treasurer Veronica LaChance made the motion and Town Clerk Lynda Hodsdon Mayo said the increase is the fourth year of an effort to raise the two salaries incrementally to an objectively determined fair amount.

Members of the Selectboard and Finance Committee opposed the move saying they had received no explanation for the request.

After some discussion the raises passed by a strong audible majority.

Residents voted down the Recreation Committee’s $3,000 budget, at the request of the Selectboard, to highlight the lack of a Recreation Committee. Selectboard member Ann Banash said the committee is currently one person, too few to run the recreation programs, and asked that volunteers come forward.

Also approved:

∎ $10,206 for the town’s assessment from the new Cooperative Public Health Service, in its second year and now running without the initial startup grant funding.

∎ A 1.7 percent cost-of-living adjustment for all town employees and elected officials, excluding the Selectboard, Board of Assessors and Board of Health.

∎ $1,419,256 for the Gill-Montague Regional School assessment and $20,087 toward debt.

∎ A $1,456,479 omnibus budget, excluding the Gill-Montague school budget and other articles voted separately.

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