Tremont town meeting: Recall rules, budget on ballot



TREMONT — Voters here will go to the polls Monday to elect a selectman and determine whether a recall ordinance for members of that board should be enacted.

On Tuesday, at the open annual town meeting, a $1.86 million municipal budget and $2.59 million for the Tremont Consolidated School will be considered.

Polls are open Monday from 1-8 p.m. at the town office. The open town meeting, also at the town office, begins at 6:30 p.m.

In the selectman’s race, David “Jed” Campbell and Jamie Thurlow are challenging incumbent Dean Wass for a three-year seat.

Voters also are being asked to elect a member of the School Committee and three high school trustees. Write-in candidates are to fill these slots; no one returned nomination papers for the positions.

The recall ordinance would apply only to elected municipal officials. At this time, selectmen are the only officials who could be subject to a recall; school committee members, who also are elected, are not considered municipal officials.

To initiate a recall election, a petition calling for the recall and signed by a number of voters equal or greater than 25 percent of those cast in the most recent gubernatorial election would be needed for a secret ballot vote on the matter. The issue would be discussed at a public hearing before the vote.

Another ballot question asks voters if they wish to continue as a member of the Municipal Review Committee and authorize that body to enter into an agreement with Fiberight LLC for solid waste disposal.

The proposed $1.86 million municipal budget holds an increase of about $11,200, or .6 percent. As a result, there would be no property tax increase needed to fund the municipal side of the budget for 2016-2017, officials estimated.

Retirement of debt service is a major factor in the budget remaining flat, Town Manager Dana Reed has said. Bond issues for construction of the town office and the purchase of a public works truck have been retired. The $159,116 budgeted for debt service reflects a $151,238 decrease.

There is a major jump in the money being set aside in reserve accounts. The $71,000 proposed is about $66,000 more than for this year. Two reserve accounts – $27,500 for a public works truck and $38,000 for town equipment – account for almost all that amount. No money was budgeted for those reserve accounts this year, and the change is viewed by town officials as a way to be more proactive about planning for future major purchases.

The other significant increase is in the public works budget, where the $529,000 proposed is about $54,000 more than for this year. Factors include a nearly $39,000 increase in public works salaries and $239,500 for summer road repairs; a jump of $101,700.

The $559,000 proposed budget for administration, which includes town office expenses and salaries, is about $11,000 more than for this year. Protection, which includes the fire department, the contract with the sheriff’s department, the ambulance service and emergency dispatching, has been budgeted at $233,000, an increase of $5,200.

Seven community service agencies have requested funding from town meeting voters. The $12,300 total includes a high of $3,000 each for Island Explorer bus service and the Campfire Coalition to a low of $800 for Hospice of Hancock County.

The proposed $2.59 million budget for the Tremont Consolidated School is $107,000, or 4.32 percent, higher than for this year. School officials estimate that the owner of a $200,000 property would pay an additional $13.78 in property taxes if the budget is approved at that level.

Two factors contributing to the increase are a rise in employee health insurance costs and an average 2.75 percent increase in salaries.

About $22,000 of the increase comes from the decision to hire a half-time librarian for the school. The need for a librarian arose last fall when an arrangement with the Bass Harbor Memorial Library for services dissolved.

The school also is facing significant maintenance costs this year. The $42,850 budgeted for capital outlays is an increase of $36,450 and includes purchase and installation of a fence, vinyl siding and a generator.

The budget for regular instruction is up nearly $9,200. Special education costs are down by $6,700.

 

Mark Good

Mark Good

Reporter at Mount Desert Islander
Mark Good

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