Belgrade residents get to weigh in on a number of issues this week during the Town Meeting.
On Friday, the polls are open 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. for voters to answer a number of questions on the referendum ballot. The Town Meeting session continues at 1 p.m. Saturday. Both will take place at the Center for All Seasons.
Most referendum questions have the unanimous support of the Board of Selectpersons as well as the Budget Committee.
The Center for All Seasons is the topic of several questions: a $38,285 request for operational support — about $12,000 less than the 2013 request — and almost $137,000 for programs and events, about $500 less than was sought in 2013.
The library budget is up $78 from the 2013 figure, standing at $48,927.
Residents will be asked whether they support two new posts: a full-time employee who would be a rescue/firefighter I & II, to work 40 hours a week; and a per-diem person working 10 hours a week. The cost is listed at $29,350 for a six-month period because it would take so long to advertise, interview and then hire candidates. Those posts carry recommendations for approval from both the selectmen and the Budget Committee.
Several questions ask voters about making donations to various nonprofit charities that benefit residents in Belgrade.
On policy questions, voters are asked if they want selectmen to sign agreements allowing residents of other municipalities to use the Belgrade transfer station and whether to amend the tree ordinance to better define who is responsible for certain areas.
Several questions ask voters to approve money to support campaigns aimed at protecting shorelines and removing milfoil, an invasive plant species.
Two items garnered split recommendations, and one pit the selectmen against the Budget Committee.
One involved a $4,500 appropriation — the same as in 2013 — to help the Belgrade Lakes Region Business Group with its Fourth of July fireworks.
Selectmen voted 4-1 to recommend it, and the budget committee voted 3-2 to recommend it.
All five selectmen unanimously support a $5,000 appropriation to support the volunteer Friends of Messalonskee in a continuing milfoil removal project in Belgrade Stream near Hammond Lumber Co. and in Messalonskee Lake near the Route 27 boat launch. However, the Budget Committee voted 3-2 against it.
Three Town Office posts are on the ballot as well, each with no opposition.
â¢ Michael Barrett, chairman of the Belgrade Public Library board of trustees, is seeking the selectman’s seat being vacated by Melanie Jewell, who has served on the board for nine years.
â¢ Debra McSweeney is seeking a three-year term on the board of Regional School Unit 18. The seat is being vacated by Cathy Mckelway, who served one term.
â¢ Maurice Childs is running for another one-year term as road commissioner.
At the business portion of the Town Meeting, voters will be asked to deal with general government matters, including a request to authorize a $50,000 appropriation toward an account to buy land and build a Town Office. That amount was approved at the two previous Town Meetings as well.
Among the larger items on the agenda are road maintenance and paving projects for Chandler Road — $187,700 — and Loon Cove Drive — $138,910 — and other work on Dunn, Point and Wings Mills roads, totaling $63,500.
The tax rate now is $11.95 for each $1,000 worth of property valuation, and that supports the schools, the town and the county.
Town Manager Gregory Gill said if everything passes, the municipal budget would total $2,386,552, which is $177,932 higher than the current year’s and would require a vote to exceed the limits set by state law.
Gill said that total will drop if any amounts are changed during the meeting and because the bids for tax-anticipation loans for the town have come in lower than expected.