China voters to be presented with three ballots on June 11, 2024

by Mary Grow

China voters will be presented with three ballots at the polls on June 11: the annual town business meeting, the school budget referendum and a choice of state primary ballots. All ballots can be previewed on the town website,, under the Elections tab on the left side of the main page.

Voting will be in the portable classroom behind the town office on Lakeview Drive. After a moderator is elected at 6:45 a.m., polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

The warrant for China’s annual town business meeting has 32 articles. Voters will act on authorizations to spend town money on listed purposes (and set the fall 2024 and spring 2025 tax due dates to collect some of the money); grant authority to select board members to carry out official functions; and accept or reject three amended or new ordinances (Arts. 29, 30 and 31).

There are no local elections. They will be held Nov. 5.

Select board and budget committee members debated many of the June 11 articles at multiple meetings, sometimes with input from audience members. A May 6 public hearing on the warrant was sparsely attended.

Some of the articles discussed were:

Art. 4, administration expenses, $1,184,525, which includes a 3.2 percent cost of living increase plus one percent merit raises (the same increases are in other budget lines that include town employees).
Art. 5, town boards’ and committees’ expenses, $84,220. For the second year, this article includes no compensation for select board members.
Art. 7, public safety, increased to $420,931, mostly because Delta Ambulance’s fee has risen from $15 per resident this year to $25 per resident in 2024-25.
Art. 9, public works, increased to $1.848 million, including planning for truck replacements, but no additional staff.
Art. 10, $74,000 for community support organizations (China Historical Society, two libraries, two lake associations, Golden Agers, China Rescue, supplemental funds for the three volunteer fire departments, veterans’ markers and Memorial Day expenses).
Art. 28, authorizing the select board to contract for ambulance services, in case the contract with Delta Ambulance falls through.
Art. 32, authorizing up to $155,489 from federal ARPA (American Rescue Plan Act) money for the long-discussed records storage vault at the town office and $70,000 from undesignated fund balance (surplus) for a broadband project, the latter to be spent only on (future) town meeting approval.

The budget committee recommends voters approve all proposed expenditures. At their April 3 meeting, budget committee members supported select board members’ plan to spend up to $296,715 for a new town truck, provided that the select board gets at least a second price quote before signing a contract.

* * * * * *

Three articles propose ordinance amendments. These, too, are on the website under the Elections tab.

Art. 29 asks voters to replace the current Planning Board ordinance, dated 2008.

If voters approve the new ordinance, the six planning board members (five regular, one alternate) will be appointed by the select board, instead of elected; and the four planning board districts will be abolished, so that a resident of any part of town can fill any vacancy.

Board members’ two-year terms, their compensation ($25 per meeting with a maximum of $700 per year) and their responsibilities would be unchanged.

Art. 30 asks if voters want to amend parts of three chapters of China’s Land Development Code. Two documents are on the website, one including explanations of the changes.

Substantive changes are mandated by the new state affordable housing law, known as LD 2003 and titled “An Act To Implement the Recommendations of the Commission To Increase Housing Opportunities in Maine by Studying Zoning and Land Use Restrictions.” China’s town attorney advised on wording.

Major changes include creation of a South China Development District and its description and regulations. Its purpose is to “provide for the siting and construction of affordable housing, and resources and services in a clustered (higher density) land area.”

The district, described in an appendix, is the area around South China Village and along Route 3 and Route 32 South (Windsor Road) that was recommended as a development district in China’s 2020 comprehensive plan. It goes west to the Vassalboro line and south on Route 32 just past the Weeks Mills Road intersection.

A map titled Future Land Use Map, page 14 of appendices to the China Comprehensive Plan, shows the area. This map is found on the town website under Ordinances, Policies and Orders, named Comprehensive Plan Appendices – March 2022.

A second major change allows for accessory dwelling units on residential lots. Provisions allow a house-owner to add a separate unit or a separate building to provide additional housing.

A third provision required by the state amends the subdivision ordinance in the Land Development Code to add what are named affordable housing developments.

Art. 31 asks voters to accept the long-discussed Solar Energy Systems Ordinance as a new Chapter 8 in the Land Development Code.

This ordinance, if approved, will set standards for large ground-mounted solar energy systems. Large means any system with more than an acre of panel area; some requirements – height limit, setback and screening requirements — apply to systems with more than 5,000 square feet of panel area.

The ordinance includes requirements for decommissioning a system after its useful life ends, with a required pre-construction guarantee of decommissioning funding in the form of a “surety bond, letter of credit or other form of financial assistance.”

The select board and the planning board recommend that voters approve all three ordinances.

* * * * * *

A separate ballot has only one question, asking if China voters want to approve the Regional School Unit #18 budget that was adopted at a May 16 RSU meeting.

Information on the RSU #18 website says the proposed 2024-25 school budget totals $44,377,494.71, an increase of $1,459,447.19 over the current year’s budget.

The income section of the budget shows how much each member town is asked to contribute. For China, the amounts are: under “Local EPS” (Educational Programs and Services), $3,487,526.34, an increase of $216,273; and under “Local Additional,” $2,166,576.72, an increase of $228,274. China’s total share is $5,654,103, an increase of $444,547 over the current year.

In addition, RSU 18 Superintendent Carl Gartley said in an email, there is a $10,716.20 assessment for the adult education program.

The EPS figure, Gartley explained, is the amount “the state deems necessary for all students to achieve Maine’s Learning Results.” State officials calculate each EPS based on the municipal valuation, population, number of students and other factors. Each municipality must raise the amount the state calculates to be eligible for its full state subsidy, Gartley said.

Member towns in RSU 18 are Belgrade, China, Oakland, Rome and Sidney.

* * * * * *

In China’s June 11 primary voting for the state and national legislatures, the only contest is on the Republican ballot for the District One Congressional seat. Andrew Piantidosi, of Cape Elizabeth, and Ronald C. Russell, of Kennebunkport, seek the nomination. The winner will run in November against Democratic incumbent Chellie Pingree, of North Haven, who has no opponent on the Democratic ballot.

There is also a Green Independent ballot, with no candidate’s name.

In the Maine State Senate primaries for District #15 (Augusta, Belgrade, China, Mount Vernon, Sidney, and Vassalboro), Republican Richard T. Bradstreet, of Vassalboro, and Democrat Raegan French LaRochelle, of Augusta, are unopposed.

In House District #62 (China, Palermo, Somerville, Windsor and Hibberts Gore), Republican incumbent Katrina Smith and Democrat Pamela Swift are unopposed. Both are Palermo residents.

State law says voters enrolled in a party may vote only on that party’s ballot; but unenrolled voters may request any one of the three party ballots. All primary ballots have a line for a write-in candidate.


Responsible journalism is hard work!
It is also expensive!

If you enjoy reading The Town Line and the good news we bring you each week, would you consider a donation to help us continue the work we’re doing?

The Town Line is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit private foundation, and all donations are tax deductible under the Internal Revenue Service code.

To help, please visit our online donation page or mail a check payable to The Town Line, PO Box 89, South China, ME 04358. Your contribution is appreciated!

0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *