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TOWNSEND — The selectmen zipped through their most recent meeting in less than one hour, with no appointments or hearings on the agenda.

“I think this is the first time in recent history,” Chairman David Chenelle said. The meeting, usually held on Tuesday evenings, was rescheduled to Monday, Nov. 3 because of the national election.

The selectmen finalized warrant articles for the Special Town Meeting on Nov. 18. Only one article was discussed at length.

The board decided to include an article affecting non-union town employees. The article asks for a change in the bylaws to make the personnel policies more consistent between union and non-union workers.

“This is basically putting them (non-union employees) in the same subset as the union,” Chenelle said. “It will correct the inconsistencies done by another department we had no control over.”

If the article is adopted, it will have more weight than if it were just a part of the personnel procedures. “The bylaw gives it more standing,” town administrator Greg Barnes said.

Much of the remaining discussion involved possible budget issues. Barnes said he is anticipating the possibility of cuts in state aid and local revenues.

The number of permit licenses has declined and collection rates have declined as well, he said. There is a noticeable decline in new growth.

“In other years, we have been asking department heads to provide two budgets, one with level funding and one as a wish list,” Barnes said. But this year he is asking department heads for a level-funded budget and one with cutbacks.

“We could be looking at a 15 percent cutback scenario,” Barnes warned.

Barnes said one cost-saving measure the town could make would be to hire a fleet mechanic, to take care of routine vehicle maintenance. Highway Superintendent Ed Kukkula has been conducting interviews and has a candidate lined up.

“This position is for the entire fleet of town vehicles,” Chenelle said. “We’re saving outsourcing” by doing the repairs in-house, he said.

Barnes said this position was approved at the last town meeting. He said a Highway Department employee would be retiring soon and that position is less crucial than a fleet mechanic. If there are budget cuts, not replacing the highway worker could free some funds.

Selectmen also discussed the former power plant building at 13 Elm Street. The front building has fallen into disrepair.

Barnes said the condition of the building is so bad that the roof could collapse with a heavy snowfall. It is likely the front will then need to be torn down. The Fire Department and EMS administration offices are located in the rear building.

“I learned that if the front building were to structurally collapse, that would cut off utilities to the back building,” he said.

Barnes said the town is considering moving the water and electricity services to avoid having the offices cut off, which he said would cost about $6,000. He said he will discussing funding for the project with the Finance Committee.