The budget West Gardiner residents will review Saturday is less than 3 percent higher than the budget approved last year and would raise the same amount from property taxes.

Gregory Couture, chairman of the Board of Selectmen, described the proposed budget as consistent with previous budgets passed by residents. A proposed ordinance that would set limitations for telecommunications towers built in town is also on the agenda.

“There’s nothing new or big,” Couture said of the budget.

Residents will vote on the $1,075,328 budget at the Town Meeting, scheduled for 1:30 p.m. Saturday at the West Gardiner fire station. Polls for the town election, with no contested races, will be open from 8 a.m. to noon.

Couture said even though the money requested from taxes is the same as last year, the other factors that affect the tax rate, including the school budget, the county budget and revenue sharing from the state, won’t be known until later this year. The tax rate this year was $11.10 per $1,000 of assessed value.

New purchases requested in the proposed budget include paying $24,400 from excise taxes for the first of seven payments for a plow truck and $3,500 to buy a van for the town’s animal control officer. The plow truck, which already has been purchased, is similar to another plow truck bought six years ago and replaces an older truck the town has sold, Couture said. The town hasn’t had a vehicle for its animal control officer in recent years, so the officer, Ross Boardman, must use his personal vehicle to transport animals, Couture said.

Other increases in the proposed budget include $20,000 more for insurance for the town and $13,000 more for communications.

The proposed telecommunications ordinance is a response to a plan last year to build a cellphone tower on Crams Point on Cobbossee Lake. Voters at a special town meeting in August adopted a 180-day moratorium on the construction or use of communication, wind power and other towers not already permitted to give the town a chance to draft an ordinance with restrictions on future towers.

At the time, Couture said he didn’t know anything about the plan, and he said Wednesday that the company that got the work permit to build the cell tower hasn’t contacted the town since then.

Black Diamond Consultants, an engineering, technology and security company with offices in Gardiner and Portsmouth, N.H., received the work permit from the town last July. Representatives from the company weren’t available this week to talk about the plan.

The main restriction in the proposed ordinance would require towers to be constructed at least one mile from great ponds and lakes, Couture said. In West Gardiner, that would mean Cobbossee Lake and Cobbosseecontee Stream, he said.

The original plan called for the cell tower to be built on Crams Point, which extends into the middle of the lake.

In the town election, four people are running uncontested for four open seats they already hold, including Couture, who has served on the Board of Selectmen for around two decades.

Debra Couture, Gregory Couture’s wife, and Carrie Boudway are running for re-election for the Regional School Unit 11 school board. Gary Hickey is running again for the three-year road commissioner position.

Paul Koenig — 621-5663

[email protected]

Twitter: @paul_koenig


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.