VASSALBORO — Residents should expect to see a proposal on the Nov. 8 ballot to put surplus money toward a 2018 sidewalk project in the East Vassalboro village area.

The proposal was recommended to be put on the ballot Thursday at a joint meeting of the selectmen and the Budget Committee. Selectmen voted to approve it 2-1, with Robert Browne opposed; and the Budget Committee favored it 7-3.

The sidewalk would be installed along Route 32 and Bog Road in the village. The area poses a “major safety issue” for people who want to walk, Selectman Philip Haines said on the phone Friday.

“It’s a pretty tight little area,” he said. “It’s kind of a scary place to think about walking.”

The state Department of Transportation is moving forward with plans to rebuild Route 32 from South China to Winslow. The state would pay for 80 percent of the project, while the town would take $58,600 from surplus money for the sidewalks, which would cover a 20 percent share of the project.

Using surplus would mean it would not affect the tax rate for now, Haines said, although the Budget Committee spoke about adjusting spending in the future in other areas to account for the surplus money.

At the 2014 Town Meeting, residents voted against an article that would have approved using $50,000 of surplus money to build the sidewalks, 63-52. Haines said there was a lot of misinformation about the project then.

“We have a much better handle on this and what needs to be done (now),” he said. Some people still oppose the project, he said, because it will put shoulders and sidewalks “pretty close” to some people’s houses.

“Some people are reluctant to change,” he added.

The town first started to look at road projects back in 2010, Haines said.

“This is the time to piggyback on the project,” Haines said. The state transportation department has said that the town wouldn’t be able to touch the repaired road for five years after it completed its work.

A public hearing on this proposal as well as proposed revisions to the town’s shoreland zoning ordinance is scheduled for 6 p.m. Sept. 8 at the Town Office.

Madeline St. Amour — 861-9239

[email protected]

Twitter: @madelinestamour

 

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