CARRABASSETT VALLEY — Voters at the annual Town Meeting tonight will be asked to approve two major capital projects seeking to repair a trail system devastated by flooding and to make golf course upgrades.

The projects would fix problems at two of the town-owned recreational attractions, Narrow Gauge Pathway and Sugarloaf Golf Club, which is leased to Sugarloaf resort, according to Town Manager Dave Cota.

Selectmen are asking voters to raise $50,000 to pay the town’s share of the trail system repair project.

The system needs about $300,000 in repairs because of flood damage from Tropical Storm Irene last August. Federal and state disaster relief aid would pay for up to 90 percent of the project’s cost if the town approves the local matching share required for the aid, the article states.

The golf course project consists of installing a $1.7 million irrigation system. If passed, the town and Sugarloaf would agree to each pay about $63,000 annually to fund the project to replace the course’s antiquated irrigation system, Cota said.

Cota described the two projects as integral to the town’s longstanding goal to promote the community as a tourist destination. He said year-round residents, of which there are about 600, benefit from lower property taxes because Sugarloaf ski resort, the golf course and other recreational attractions draw people who buy expensive seasonal homes.

Selectmen have proposed a $2,536,407 budget for the coming year. They believe the budget will decrease the tax rate to $6.30 per $1,000 of assessed valuation, which is about a 3 percent drop from last year, Cota said.

In other articles, voters will be asked to raise $400,000 to build up the town’s recreational endowment fund.

The recreation fund has supported projects for decades that enhanced the town’s ability to draw seasonal residents, Cota said. In the last ten years, it has helped fund a new library, athletic center and other projects.

The fund was started in the 1970s and reached more than $1 million about 15 years ago, Cota said. It currently is at $207,981.

The request to raise $400,000 will be offset by a substantial surplus in the town’s school budget, Cota said. The surplus is caused by a significant drop in the number of students from the town attending School Administrative District 58.

The town pays tuition to the school district based on the number of students it sends, which has dropped from 92 to 65 over the past three years and resulted in a $665,435 surplus, Cota said.

Selectmen are requesting to use $400,000 of the surplus to replenish the recreation fund, as opposed to lowering the town’s budget, he said.

David Robinson — 861-9287

[email protected]

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