June 12, 2013

Residents vote on area school budgets, municipal issues on Tuesday

STAFF REPORTS

Area regional school unit budgets went before voters Tuesday, and all were projecting decreased state subsidies in 2013-14 and budgeted to pay a portion of teacher retirement costs for the first time, as proposed by Gov. Paul LePage.

Though votes were still being counted Tuesday night for regional school unit budgets, votes were available early Wednesday morning.

The $24.4 million school budget in Regional School 2 was validated in each of its five municipalities Tuesday despite requiring substantial increases in local taxes to support it. The vote was 1,019-613. It will increase the tax rate per $1,000 in taxable value by $1 in Dresden, $1.40 in Farmingdale, $1.80 in Hallowell, $1.50 in Monmouth, and 90 cents in Richmond.

Voters in three of four towns approved a proposed $24.8 million budget for the School Administrative District 49, administrators reported Wednesday morning. The proposed budget was not approved by voters in Fairfield, where it was publicly opposed by the town council.

Rejection of the proposed Regional School Unit 4 school budget 180-121 in Sabattus was enough to defeated the validation effort in that district. Litchfield  voted 109-100 and Wales 62-51 to approve the proposed $17.7 million budget. The vote total of 331-292 was enough to defeat it.

Voters in three of four towns in Regional School Unit 38 opted to validate the proposed $15.7 million school budget, and the votes were enough to pass it 844-812 overall.

Voters also decided municipal races and issues in several towns.

CHELSEA

Residents overwhelming supported adopting a town charter in Tuesday's election, with a high enough turnout to meet the voter count required for enaction.

The charter passed with 88 percent of the vote, 364-45, according to Town Clerk Lisa Gilliam.

State law requires at least 30 percent of the number of voters in the most recent gubernatorial election to vote for the measure in order for it to be adopted. The town needed 347 total votes, and 416 residents voted Tuesday.

The charter outlines the town's governing structure and provides guidance to municipal officials on how to conduct business.

Former Selectman Rick Danforth defeated Doug Crochere for an open seat on the Board of Selectmen by a 241-154 vote.

Danforth will serve the remaining two years of Linda Leotsakos’ three-year term on the board. Leotsakos, who died last month, had planned to resign at the end of June for health reasons.

Residents also re-elected Selectman Michael Pushard to a three-year term with 369 votes.

Chelsea residents voted 507–178 in November 2011 to establish a charter commission to draft the charter, following the arrest of former Selectwoman Carole Swan that February on fraud charges.

Gilliam said town officials were pleased that enough residents voted to enact the charter.

DRESDEN

Gerald M. Lilly was elected second selectmen over two challengers. Ann Pierce was elected tax collector 149-93 over Susan Bickford-Lilly.

MANCHESTER

Tom Oliver and Paula Thomas were elected to the Board of Selectmen Tuesday.

Oliver, with 248 votes, and Thomas, with 234, topped Lance Boucher, who received 154 votes, in the three-person race for the two available seats.

Manchester residents voted to approve the Regional School Unit 38 budget, 231-172.

Voters, in a second school budget-related question, elected to continue validating the budget annually, by a vote of 265-134.

All other races were uncontested.

MONMOUTH

The town will remain in Regional School Unit 2. The vote to withdraw fell 22 votes short of the total number of votes that needed to be cast in that election.

The vote was 537-399 to withdraw, but Ron Moody, who headed a committee to withdraw from the current school district, said that did not reach the 960 total.

(Continued on page 2)

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