Voters in five local communities decided various ballot questions on Tuesday, including school district withdrawal votes and changes to a local mining ordinance.

Monmouth

Voters in Monmouth accepted a land donation 1,862-142 to host a new park and approved converting the former rescue building into a police station.

Lifelong resident Lloyd McCabe planned to donate to the town a small parcel of land bordering Mud Stream on Maple Street. The half-acre parcel is about three-tenths of a mile east of Main Street. McCabe paid $5,000 to purchase the plot from the Monmouth Museum. It cannot be used as a house lot.

Voters also agreed 1,367-644 to spend $50,000 from surplus to renovate the former Monmouth Rescue Association building on Main Street into a new permanent home for the police department. The renovation, which would not cause a property tax increase, would save the town more than $10,000 it spends every year to rent space that serves as the current police headquarters.

About half of the $50,000 was requested to convert the heating system. The remaining money was to go toward renovating the building, including converting the two garage bays into office space for Chief Kevin Mulherin and his officers, which includes three full-time and 10 part-time officers.

Voters also agreed to enact amdentments to the fire department ordinance 1,619-360.

Whitefield

Whitefield residents Tuesday approved 559-451 an overhaul of the town’s mining ordinance, changes prompted by a construction company’s plan to expand mining operations at its site on Route 218.

The town began pursing changes to its ordinance after learning of a proposal approved in December by the Maine Department of Environmental Protection for Harry C. Crooker and Sons Inc. to excavate below the water line at its 157-acre pit on Thayer Road and Route 218 and create a 37-acre pond.

It was necessary to examine the town’s ordinance because the Sagadahoc County Superior Court ruled it was unconstitutionally vague in 1994 after Crooker and Sons took the town to court about a Board of Appeals denial of a mining expansion. The ordinance hasn’t been updated since then.

Readfield

Readfield residents voted 882-544 to switch to secret ballot voting on town warrant articles at Town Meeting.

Supporters say they believe it will be less divisive in town if the issues listed in the warrant articles are settled by secret ballot. The ballot question indicates the change would take effect beginning in June 2015. Selectmen have said the vote is nonbinding because the town does not have a charter.

Palermo, Windsor

Voters in Palermo rejected a proposal to withdraw from Regional School Unit 12, a sprawling district that also includes Somerville, Alna, Chelsea, Whitefield, Windsor and Westport Island. The vote in Palermo was 214 in favor of the withdrawal and 495 against it.

Results from Windsor, where residents were voting on a similar proposal, followed suit, with 682 voting no and 445 voting yes.

In a previous vote, Wiscasset withdrew from the district that was created following a 2009 state law mandating district consolidation.

People supporting withdrawal for Palermo and Windsor say it’s the only way to zero in on educational cost-drivers and control them locally, while opponents say the towns would lose financial and educational economies of scale, hurting students.

The towns are among 10 statewide from Freeport to Belfast that voted Tuesday on withdrawal proposals.


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