June 14, 2011

Town meetings, school budgets bring out voters today

Kennebec Journal Staff

STAFF REPORT

Voters will return to voting booths and ballot boxes across central Maine today.

Some elections are for municipal offices pursuant to Town Meetings; other ballots will yield final decisions on regional school budgets.

See below for polling places and times.

School budget validations

Winthrop

A $9.51 million school budget that's lower than last year's by $218,000 -- or 2.2 percent -- goes to voters today.

The Town Council approved the cut-down school budget last week. It would require a property tax increase of 58 cents per $1,000 of assessed value if validated.

The school budgeting process started in March with planned expenditures of about $10.2 million -- about half a million dollars higher than the previous year.

Three months of arduous public hearings later, the board had whittled that number down by about $900,000, with $152,000 coming from the deferral of a contractual 3 percent raise for teachers and support staff.

The saving realized through the deferred salary increase, however, was offset in part by a 6.5 percent rise in the cost of benefits.

Among other actions, five staff positions were eliminated, a retiring teacher was not replaced, and energy costs were reduced by closing areas of buildings.

Polls will be open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. at Town Hall.

Regional School Unit 38

Maranacook school district will weigh in on a $15 million plan for 2011-12 that's about $400,000 higher than the current plan.

With the district getting about $800,000 less in state subsidy, the district will be asking residents in its towns to contribute about $9.2 million in local dollars for the education of 1,250 local students.

Under that partnership, the schools' bill to three of the towns would rise,

The increases, figured on a home valued at $150,000, mean Manchester property owners will pay $78 more annually; and Mount Vernon and Readfield residents will pay $102 more annually. Wayne property owners will see a decrease because the town's population and property valuation have both decreased.

Poll times are as follows:

* Manchester: 4 p.m. to 8 p.m., Fire Station

* Mt. Vernon: 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., Community Center

* Readfield: 4 p.m. to 8 p.m., Town Office

* Wayne: 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Ladd Recreation Center

Regional School Unit 12

Voters in the Sheepscot Valley Reginal School Unit towns of Alna, Wiscasset, Westport, Island, Palermo, Somerville, Whitefield, Windsor and Chelsea will weigh in on that school district's $25.1 million plan.

The school budget proposal that carries a 1 percent increase in spending.

The original 2012 spending proposal was $25,103,272, but the school board added $27,500 for curriculum workshops over the summer for teachers.

With the exception of Palermo and Somerville, towns in the regional school unit will see a reduction in their share of property tax payments to support the 2011-12 school budget. Contributions from Alna, Chelsea, Westport Island, Whitefield, Windsor and Wiscasset will remain flat for fiscal year 2012.

Municipal elections

Windsor

Daniel Gordon is up against incumbent Selectmen Ronald Brann and Richard Gray Jr. for a seat on the Board of Selectmen. The top two vote getters will serve.

No one took out nomination papers for three seats on the town's Budget Committee, nor for one alternate Budget Committee position. All are three-year terms.

Incumbent Thomas Birmingham is the only candidate for a seat on the Regional School Unit 12 Budget Committee, a three-year term.

Polls will be open 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the Town Hall. Town Meeting is 10 a.m. Saturday at Windsor Elementary School.

Dresden

Four men are seeking a lone vacancy on the Board of Selectmen. James Bleau, John Jesse James, Philip A. Johnston and Michael A. Nylen are all seeking election to the first selectman's position.

(Continued on page 2)

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