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Town projects get go ahead
DIXFIELD — Voters at Wednesday night's special town meeting approved a $1.8 million road, sewer and water construction project, along with several other items.
Engineer Al Hodsdon explains the scope of a water, sewer and road project for a part of downtown Dixfield at a public hearing Wednesday night. Residents later approved the $1.8 million project at a special town meeting.
The meeting was preceded by a public hearing on the construction project as part of the town's application for a federal Community Development Block Grant. If it's approved, the money would pay for part of the work.
Engineer Al Hodsdon outlined the proposal that includes work on Pine, North and High streets and on Coburn Avenue. Some of the areas would have water work, some sewer, some both, and all would be repaved once the project is completed.
The town will apply to borrow up to $1 million from the Maine Bond Bank, $110,000 from the Clean Water State Revolving Fund and $676,000 from the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund.
Part of the loan could be forgiven if at least 51 percent of the residents in the construction area are low to moderate income. Selectmen are currently conducting a survey to determine whether a sufficient number meet the income criteria.
If the town gets the $500,000 CDBG grant, it would offset some of the loan.
Town Manager Linda Pagels-Wentworth told residents she believes income eligibility will be met.
If all goes as expected, the town would know in the spring whether it has received the CDBG grant. Work would start late next summer.
Scott Belskis's motion to have all votes cast via secret ballot was approved.
For the construction project, residents voted 18-8.
Another $151,215 was approved 21-3 for the Dixfield Water Department to purchase an electrical generator and to make other upgrades to the town's pump station.
Water Department Supervisor Jim White said the department's capital budget account, which is paid by water users, will repay the loan.
Residents also will have a chance to pay their property taxes monthly, rather than semiannually, following a vote of 24-2 to establish a tax club. The monthly schedule begins in September.
Finally, by a vote of 25-1, voters approved a town ordinance that would allow residents to borrow funds through the Property Assessed Clean Energy Program Agreement to improve the energy efficiency of their homes. Under the program, residents may borrow up to $15,000 at 4.99 percent interest for such things as new windows, furnaces and insulation.
Pagels-Wentworth said information about the PACE Program will be included with property tax bills mailed later this week.