ATHENS — Residents at Town Meeting on Saturday will be asked to revisit a road-paving plan that failed at last year’s Town Meeting over fears of a shortfall in spending for the Athens Community School.

This year, Kevin Jordan, school superintendent at Dexter-based Alternative Organizational Structure 94, of which Athens is a member, said the predictions are not as dire as they appeared in March 2016. Jordan said the anticipated shortfall last year of $322,000 turned out to be closer to $200,000. The picture is brighter this year, he said, cautioning that there is no way to predict what the state Legislature might do with school funding.

“The timing of the Town Meeting and where we ended up in June with our actual subsidy from the state, it didn’t end up quite that bad,” Jordan said Tuesday. “As of right now, we’re not facing any sort of shortfall, except any anticipated less funding we’re going to get from the state. At this point, it does not appear to be as dire as it was last year. Unless something changes in the budget process in Augusta, it doesn’t look as bad as last year.”

Voting from the floor of Town Meeting is scheduled to begin at 1:30 p.m. Saturday at Somerset Academy. Voting for town officers is scheduled for 4 to 8 p.m. Friday at the same location. Selectmen Charles Rotondi and Guy Anton are unopposed on the ballot for a return to office. Town Clerk and Tax Collector Tracey Rotondi and Road Commissioner Dwight Weese also are on the ballot unopposed. Sean Boyd and Chad White are running unopposed for two seats on the Athens school board.

The proposal for the paving project first asks voters to raise $50,000 for the road paving account. In the next article, Athens residents will be asked to spend $475,000 for repairing and paving Dore Hill Road and Chapman Ridge Road, with $168,950 coming from the existing road paving account and borrowing the balance.

The estimated costs are $150,000 for Dore Hill Road and $325,000 for Chapman Ridge Road.

Voters will be asked to approve borrowing $300,000 for the project and to raise $65,000 this year for the first payment on the loan, which is to be paid off over five years at an estimated interest rate of 3.1 percent. The town Budget Committee is recommending passage.

Athens First Selectman Mark Munn likened the project to repairing the roof of a house to avoid rebuilding the structure.

“We’re kind of in a position that we need to do it or we end up rebuilding the road instead of repaving it, so I think it will pass,” Munn said.

Munn said the projected spending for the coming year is just over $612,000; but with the added $65,000, if voters approve the first payment on the road bond, the final spending package will be about $677,000. He said the current tax rate of $17.50 will increase to about $18 for every $1,000 in property valuation.

Spending articles on Saturday will include $120,153 for general town government, including insurance, dues and officers’ salaries. Residents will be asked to raise $11,000 for support of the poor, $25,000 for town grounds and buildings, $30,000 for the Fire Department and $175,500 for town roads.

Voters also will be asked to raise $5,000 to start a maintenance savings account for the fairgrounds recreation area and to enact an ordinance prohibiting retail marijuana sales and social clubs under Maine’s home rule authority.

Doug Harlow — 612-2367

[email protected]

Twitter:@Doug_Harlow

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