For the second year in a row, Richmond voters will be asked to consider a budget with an appropriation that’s smaller than the current spending plan.

The selectmen are proposing spending $2,103,818 in the upcoming budget year on usual expenditures such as salaries and upkeep of town programs, property and facilities. The proposed budget is $37,380 or 1.75 percent less than the current year’s approved budget.

The budget will go to a vote at Town Meeting, scheduled for 6 p.m. Tuesday in the gymnasium of Richmond High School at 132 Main St. Municipal elections will be held from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday, June 13, also at the high school.

Some factors that will affect tax bills are still unknown, including what Richmond might receive in revenue sharing from the state, and the town’s valuation.

The current property tax rate is $19.15 per $1,000 of assessed valuation.

For illustration purposes, Town Manager Janet Smith said that if the assessment from Regional School Unit 2, the Sagadahoc County tax and the town valuation remained the same, the municipal share of the property tax bill would increase 5 cents, or 0.3 percent. Including the most recent RSU 2 assessment amounts, the tax rate would increase by 94 cents, or 5 percent.


The reason for drop in municipal appropriations, Smith said, is the elimination of a police officer position for which Richmond had secured funding through the federal CopsFast grant to pay for four years of a police officer’s full-time salary, provided that Richmond funded the fifth year. The town’s obligation will be fulfilled by the end of the current fiscal year.

Smith said the Budget Committee and she are recommending a request for funding to hire a part-time administrative assistant for the Richmond Police Department to take over administrative tasks; the selectmen are not recommending that.

The selectmen are asking for money for road projects, including $90,000 in road maintenance and $200,000 to put overlay on roads for which bases were laid a couple of years ago.

“We won’t have to touch them again for several years,” Smith said. “It’s continuing our ongoing maintenance program.”

Among funding requests is $17,000 for repairing the town tennis courts. The state and federal grants used to build the courts required that the town keep the courts forever and maintain them in good working condition.

The board also is asking voters for permission to sell the town’s old fire station at 10 Lincoln St. If it’s sold, the money would go into a town properties improvement reserve account. Town Meeting approval to spend money in that account is required.


Selectmen also are proposing setting up reserve accounts for the library, recreation and the senior center. Establishing these reserve accounts would mean that money for those purposes could not be used for other purposes.

And with some debt being paid off, selectmen are asking that money be reallocated to the vehicle replacement reserve account so the town can pursue its 10-year vehicle replacement plan.


Voters will head to the polls a week later, when they will be asked to repeal the “blue law” that prohibits the sale of alcohol in restaurants on Sundays and approve a series of changes to Richmond’s Land Use Ordinance that are being proposed for clarity and to make language in the ordinance consistent.

They also will be asked to vote to fill the two seats on the Board of Selectmen; four candidates are running.

Andrew Alexander and Mark Pearson are challenging incumbents Robert Bodge and David Thompson for two seats on the Board of Selectmen.


Alexander, 34, a nurse, is a unit coordinator of a cardiac rehabilitation unit at MaineGeneral Medical Center in Augusta. He’s married and has two children.

He has served on Richmond’s Budget and Recreation committees and has been the baseball director.

Alexander said there are no specific issues that he’s running against.

He said he’s pleased to see the town’s proposed budget is not increasing, and as a taxpayer he’s happy about that.

But one issue that has Richmond residents, himself included, concerned is how town money is spent. In the last year, he said, selectmen have found a way to spend money “any way they like.” Alexander said any purchases over $10,000 should be approved by voters at Town Meeting.

Pearson, 48, is a supervisor in the Bath Iron Works materials division in Brunswick. He has served previously on the Board of Selectmen, the Budget and Cable committees and the Regional School Unit 2 school board. He has three adult children.


Multiple attempts this week to get a photo of Pearson were unsuccessful.

He said he wants to make sure the town has low taxes, but as a selectman, he also would like to have more sidewalks in town and to review practices at the Isaac F. Umberhine Public Library.

Bodge, 62, is the owner of Bucky’s Auto Repair in Richmond. He’s married and has two adult children. He said he’s running for re-election because he has some concerns about the direction the town is going in, but he doesn’t have any particularly strong agenda. He’s running for his first full term; he has been filling an unexpired term on the board.

“Everybody’s got a concern about taxes,” Bodge said. “If you can make everything simple and transparent, everyone can see what it takes to run town government and the services you have.”

David Thompson, 62, retired from the U.S. Postal Service as the Richmond postmaster. He’s married and has two adult children. He has served for a number of terms as a selectman. His chief concern, he said, is the number of older town residents who struggle to stay in their homes and keep them in good repair. He brings no particular agenda to the position, but if town residents bring him an issue, he said, he will take it to the Board of Selectmen.

The candidates weighed in on a number of issues ahead of the election later this month.



At the last general election in November, Maine voters narrowly approved legalizing recreational marijuana, and voters in Richmond echoed that move.

Ballot Question 1 proposed legalizing growing and possessing limited amounts of marijuana for personal recreational use as well as a slate of commercial enterprises — commercial grow facilities, social clubs and retail sales.

Earlier this year, residents voted at a special town meeting to impose a temporary ban in Richmond on commercial marijuana enterprises, while state officials work out state regulations; selectmen voted on Wednesday to extend the moratorium for six more months.

In the meantime, town officials are conducting a survey to develop an understanding of what sort of commercial pot enterprises Richmond residents would support and where.

Alexander said he doesn’t think commercial pot establishments will pose much of a problem, and a town ordinance would set limits.


“(Selectmen) have left it up to the townspeople to vote, and that’s exactly what should happen,” he said.

Bodge said he doesn’t have a problem with marijuana businesses as long as they are not in the village; on the outskirts of town they would be fine.

Pearson said he’s OK with people having reasonably small amounts of pot for personal consumption, but he doesn’t have enough information about the commercial enterprises yet. Thompson said commercial activities such as growing businesses should be restricted to Richmond’s rural agricultural areas.

“I think we would have trouble if we didn’t have a moratorium.


The four candidates have different ideas about economic development.


Alexander said there has been enough investment in Richmond’s village area, between streetlights and facade improvements, and he would like to see money collected for economic development used for better purposes.

“Since Etonic moved out, we have seen very little economic growth,” he said, referring to the athletic shoe manufacturer that produced shoes at the faculty at 150 Main St. “We have spent a lot of money, but I don’t see the benefit for it.”

Pearson said he wants to see more businesses come to town. Keeping up Richmond’s downtown and renovating buildings would attract people and businesses, he said, and it would beautify the area.

“I’d like to use the waterfront more often,” he said. “It’s a way to get people to come see Richmond, go shopping and go to the restaurants”

Both Bodge and Thompson look to school quality when they think about economic development.

“When you ask Realtors why people aren’t moving to town, they will tell you it’s the schools,” Bodge said.


“The educational results are not as good as they could be, especially for the dollars we’re paying,” Thompson said.

Getting businesses to look at the area is a struggle, he said, but he hopes that in the next five years or so, Richmond will become more popular as growth saturates Brunswick and Topsham.

Thompson said the town’s recently completed comprehensive plan as well as the state’s forecast indicates that Richmond’s population will decline in the next 10 to 15 years.

But the selectmen have been considering establishing an industrial park along the Interstate 295 corridor that could generate some revenue for the town and offer jobs to people who live in the area.

Thompson said he’s concerned that Richmond has a shortage of homes for sale. Following the crash of the real estate bubble just about a decade ago, a number of homes in town are vacant, and not many of them are for sale.

“We have property sitting out there two or three years that we could foreclose on, but we don’t want to. We want to see them on the tax rolls,” he said.


In other races, Russell Hughes is running uncontested for a seat on the Regional School Unit 2 school board. Dana Tuttle is running uncontested for a seat on the Richmond Utility District Board and Ralph Drew Jr. is running uncontested for a seat on the Budget Committee.

The ballot also includes the budget validation referendum for RSU 2.

Jessica Lowell — 621-5632

[email protected]

Twitter: @JLowellKJ

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