NEWPORT — Town Meeting will be held Saturday beginning at 10 a.m. in the Newport Recreation Center, with residents voting on a proposed municipal budget that’s up $40,000 over current spending.

Meanwhile, elections are scheduled for Friday, with contested races for the Select Board and the school board.

Town Manager Jim Ricker said the biggest item on this year’s warrant is a proposal to enact an ordinance prohibiting retail marijuana establishments and social clubs in town while the state continues to work on finalizing implementation guidelines. While this question is slated to be voted on by a show of hands publicly during the meeting on 81 North St., Ricker said he wouldn’t be surprised if a resident made a motion to vote on the item by secret ballot.

Ricker said residents voted against marijuana legalization when the issue was on the statewide ballot in November, but added he did not know how it would turn out this time. He said it wasn’t likely residents of a small, rural town would want their opinions on the issue made public, so a secret ballot would be beneficial.

“I would hope they go to secret ballot,” he said.

Additionally, he said residents will be voting on the municipal budget. Ricker said the proposed budget is $3,049,000, which is an increase of $40,000 over the current municipal budget. He said a large portion of this is the result of a $50,000 increase in expenditures for road repairs.

Some of the recommended expenditures also include $284,666 for the administration account, which is $8,235 less than in 2016; $512,514 for the Police Department account, which is down from $550,503 in 2016; and $214,342 for the Fire Department, which is an increase of $9,134 from 2016. The recommendation for the Public Works Department is also down from 2016. This year’s recommendation is $330,093, compared to last year’s $375,052.

Ricker said a proposed increase in the cemeteries account would accommodate increased part-time help in summer maintenance. The recommendation is $33,418, compared to last year’s $22,398.

Ricker said in most cases, expenditure recommendations were lower than those of 2016, with a few exceptions.

Polls will open Friday at 8 a.m. at the Newport Public Safety Building on 21 Water St. and will close at 8 p.m. The Town Meeting, at which residents will vote on the 51-item warrant, starts at 10 a.m. the next day.

In the town election, there are two contested races. One spot is available for a three-year term on the Board of Selectmen. Incumbent Vice Chairman Douglas Franklin is running for re-election against one challenger, Robert Ross. Also, two spots for three-year terms are available on the board of directors of Regional School Unit 19, which serves the towns of Corinna, Dixmont, Etna, Hartland, Newport, Palmyra, Plymouth and St. Albans. Incumbents Erik Stitham and Frederick Hickey are both running for re-election, and there is one challenger, Ryan Parker.

Colin Ellis — 861-9253

[email protected]

Twitter: @colinoellis

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