BURNHAM — Residents at Saturday’s annual Town Meeting will vote on a town budget of about $600,000 that isn’t much different from last year’s, according to selectmen Chairman Stuart Huff.
The municipal budget includes $117,000 to pay back a loan for road resurfacing; $150,000 for snow removal, sanding and salting; and $10,000 for a capital reserve account for a future bridge replacement.
At Town Meeting, scheduled for 1 p.m. Saturday at the Reynolds Corner Municipal Building, residents also will be asked to vote about whether to pursue the creation of an Interstate 95 exit off Johnson Flat Road.
“For years we’ve been trying to get it,” Huff said, adding that such talk always seemed to stop short. This vote would allow the selectmen to begin looking at the process and feasibility of the project, he said, so right now they don’t know much about the process or cost.
“It’d be a big benefit for Pride Manufacturing,” he said, referring to a company in Burnham that makes wooden products. The interstate is only about 1.5 miles from the road, Huff added, and the state already owns the rights of way.
Voters also will be asked whether to enact an ordinance banning recreational marijuana establishments at the ballot on Friday. Polls are open from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m.
The proposed ordinance would ban retail stores and social clubs, as well as marijuana product manufacturing facilities, testing facilities and cultivation facilities.
Huff said some citizens raised concern over the issue after Question 1 — marijuana legalization — passed by a small margin in the Nov. 8 election.
“There ain’t enough information out there yet for us to make a decision now, so we’re gonna hold off on it,” he said.
Burnham voters have three choices for one selectman’s seat for a three-year term.
Roger Chadwick, 55, is the incumbent selectman running for re-election. Chadwick graduated from Skowhegan High School in 1980 and owns Chadwick’s Automotive on Winnecook Road.
Chadwick has been a selectman off and on for six years, he said. The board is trying to create long-term plans for the town, which he wants to continue working on, he said.
“Last year, we replaced a lot of roads and culverts. We’ve paved about one-third of the town,” he said. “We’ve been replacing a bunch of culverts and stuff that have been neglected over the years.”
One upcoming issue is sorting out how to handle the town’s solid waste, as its contract with the Penobscot Energy Recovery Co. comes to an end in 2018 and the board has to decide between staying with PERC or switching to Fiberight, he said.
“We got a lot of stuff done last year and we’d like to continue along that frame of mind,” Chadwick said.
Brent Chase, 48, another selectman candidate, has been on the Planning Board and Board of Appeals for two years each and is running for selectman because he thinks the town needs a change in leadership, he said.
“I just think that the town needs things changed, and if it goes the way that it’s going right now, then it’s just going to be the same,” he said.
Chase graduated from Maine Central Institute in Pittsfield in 1987 and is unemployed because of a disability.
Chase said he gets frustrated when he asks a selectman a question now about where money paid to the town goes, and says he gets the response, “The big black hole in Augusta.”
“I’d just like to make things better in town and give people the answers they’re looking for,” he said, adding that he would want to take the time to research issues and to get those answers. He can talk to anyone in town and they’ll have a complaint, he said, but when he asks them why they don’t go to the selectmen, they say it’s never done any good.
George Robison, 65, was a selectman for six years a few years ago, ending in 2010, and now he’s running again. He was also on the Planning Board before that.
Robison, a self-employed surveyor, went to high school in New Jersey and then graduated from the U.S. Army Field Artillery Survey School in 1973. He was with the 82nd Airborne Division of the U.S. Army paratroopers after that, he said.
Robison sees the work of a selectman as more a civil service than anything, he said, and he’s running again because he’d like to do his part.
“I think the town needs some direction for the future, and this might be the time in terms of trying to get on the bandwagon of economic progress,” he said, adding that he is interested in the prospect of adding a highway exit.
Robison said he doesn’t have a “real burning issue” that he’s running on, but he’s lived in Burnham since 1981 and would “just like to do my part to keep it rolling.”
Voters will decide between Roger Huff and R. Charles King in a race for a one-year highway commissioner’s term.
Huff, 69, is the incumbent commissioner and has worked in the position, on and off, for about 18 years.
“As long as I’m able to do it and they’ll vote me in, I’ll probably keep doing it,” Huff said.
Huff said it’s a pretty simple job with a small budget. “There’s not much to it in this town,” he said.
King is also running for highway commissioner. He did not return a call Wednesday seeking comment.
Madeline St. Amour — 861-9239