The results of China voters’ June 8 decisions at their annual town business meeting, posted on the town website, show information that would not have been available from an open meeting.
As reported previously, all articles were approved except funding for FirstPark (see The Town Line, June 10, p. 11).
The most enthusiastic “yes” vote came on Art. 9. Two hundred sixty-one voters approved, 15 dissented and two cast blank ballots. Art. 9 asked for $151,547 for China’s three volunteer fire departments and China Rescue.
Art. 12 was related. Its list of Community Support Organizations included additional money for firefighters and rescue members who respond to calls, as well as money for the historical society, the libraries, this newspaper and three organizations that support water quality. The vote on Art. 12 was 190 in favor to 86 opposed, with two blank ballots – one of the least popular expenditures.
Only two other articles received fewer votes. On Art. 2, asking approval to exceed the state property tax levy limit if necessary, the vote was 183 in favor, 81 opposed and 14 blank ballots. Becky Hapgood, Town Treasurer as well as Town Manager, said China will not exceed the state limit.
Art. 25, authorizing selectmen to sell a 40-acre lot on the east side of Lakeview Drive, got 174 “yes” votes, with 87 voters opposed and 17 blank ballots.
The last five ballot questions each had 15 or more blank ballots. The only other article on which more than seven voters expressed no opinion was the tax levy limit, the first presented to voters. Art. 1, election of a moderator, was dealt with before the polls opened.
By rejecting the article seeking $26,471 for membership in FirstPark in Oakland, and approving the article funding any defeated appropriation at the current year’s level, voters approved $39,000 for FirstPark. Hapgood said the town will expend only the amount requested.
Selectmen are likely to discuss whether to withdraw from FirstPark membership. Hapgood has a copy of a legal opinion obtained by another member town in which an attorney explains the complexities of withdrawal.
On the separate June 8 ballot seeking approval of the almost $40 million Regional School Unit (RSU) #18 budget, China’s vote was 204 yes and 68 no, with five blank ballots. According to the Central Maine newspapers, the other four RSU #18 towns – Belgrade, Oakland, Rome and Sidney – also approved the budget.
A total of 278 votes were cast, as absentee ballots and at the polls June 8. Nelson said China had 3,158 registered voters when the polls closed, two added during the day.
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