Vassalboro residents ready for June 4 town meeting

by Mary Grow

Vassalboro voters are scheduled to assemble at the Vassalboro Community School at 6:30 p.m. Monday, June, 4, for their annual town meeting, at which they will elect budget committee members, authorize spending for the 2018-19 fiscal year and settle policy questions.

The meeting continues on June 12 with a two-question local ballot asking voters to endorse or reject the school budget approved June 4 and to elect two town officials. John Melrose and Jolene Clark Gamage are unopposed for re-election to the board of selectmen and the school board, respectively. Vassalboro polls will be open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. June 12 in the town office meeting room.

At the June 4 meeting voters will need to choose at least three new budget committee members: Melrose and Eddie Scholz have resigned, and Elizabeth Reuthe will not seek re-election.

The committee has 10 members who serve two-year terms. The person elected to succeed Scholz will serve only one year, to finish his term that ends with the 2019 town meeting. (ep)

Most of the expenditure requests are similar to prior years’ proposals. Voters are asked to approve a municipal budget totaling more than $2 million and a school budget totaling more than $7.7 million.

If voters approve all expenditures as recommended by the selectmen and school board, Town Manager Mary Sabins calculates they will increase the local tax rate by 90 cents for each $1,000 of valuation, from 14.55 mils ($14.55 for each $1,000 of valuation) this year to 15.45 mils in 2018-19.

The budget committee agrees with most of the expenditures as proposed. They differ with selectmen on Art. 7, asking for $37,500 to be added to reserve funds set aside for a new plow truck and a new roof on the Riverside fire station: both boards approve the amount, but selectmen recommend taking it from taxation and the budget committee recommends appropriating it from the town’s surplus (also called undesignated or unassigned fund balance).

On Art. 8, funding for the public works department, Budget Committee members recommend $3,000 less than selectmen have endorsed.

On the school budget, budget committee members recommend a $50,000 cut, to be taken, they suggest, from the Vassalboro Community School administration account.

The two boards agree in recommending a total of $14,617 for 11 social service and similar agencies and groups that asked for town funds. The requests total $23,094 (Art. 34).

Most of the policy issues are also familiar:

  • setting four tax due dates and authorizing sale of alewives, for example. New questions include:
  • a request for authorization to apply for grant money to provide a generator at Vassalboro Community School so that the school might become an emergency shelter (Art. 22);
  • a request to accept two parcels of land on South Stanley Hill Road from Paul and Elisabeth Cates (Art. 23); and
  • action on a revised Building Permit Ordinance (Art. 24).

The revised ordinance is on the town website, and copies are available at the town office. The town meeting warrant is also on the website, posted in public places in town and printed in the town report for 2017.

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