Belgrade’s March 18 town meeting warrant includes two articles for funding for lake water quality improvement. As a budget committee member I’d like to clarify the relationship between these articles and explain my votes to recommend them both.

Article 9 (2017) to raise and appropriate $40,000 was introduced by a citizens’ petition and is presented for secret ballot. Based on a technicality the corresponding 2016 request is noted as zero, although an equal amount for similar purposes was approved by the town under Article 10 (2016), also by secret ballot. Last year’s $40,000 total comprised $31,750 raised and appropriated, with $8,250 appropriated from 2016 boat excise tax collections.

Contingency Article 41 (2017), to be voted from the floor if Article 9 (2017) is defeated, would provide a total of $19,900, comprising $9,950 from 2016 boat excise tax collections and $9,950 from Belgrade’s Water Quality Fund.

I voted with the committee majority to recommend both articles. I believe the amount of $40,000 is consistent with the scope of the invasive milfoil problem, with its potential for long-range damage to the reputation of the Belgrade Lakes, thereby risking the future of Belgrade’s property tax base.

Given the demonstrated dedication and accomplishments of the individuals and groups working on the milfoil problem, I’m satisfied that this money will be well spent.

If Article 9 (2017) is defeated, passage of Contingency Article 41 (2017) would at least make $19,900 available to continue the fight against invasive milfoil.

Jack Sutton