Readfield residents will see elements of a municipal budget proposal of just over $2.5 million when they go to the polls June 12.

The town uses a secret ballot for its Town Meeting. The budget is up almost $40,000 from that of the current fiscal year.

The property tax rate is expected to rise from the current $19.29 per $1,000 of assessed property value to $19.51 for each $1,000 to support both the municipal budget and the cost to Readfield of supporting the budget of Regional School Unit 38, the Maranacook Schools. Readfield’s share requires a contribution of $3.56 million, an increase of 1 percent over the current year. Readfield has 412 students in the four-town system.

Of the tax levy, Town Manager Eric Dyer said almost 75 percent is for the schools’ budget, 20 percent for the town and over 5 percent goes to Kennebec County.

Members of the Readfield Select Board signed off Monday night on all the ballot items, and a final public hearing is scheduled for May 14. Although a time has yet to be set, it will be held in conjunction with the board’s regular meeting, which starts at 6:30 p.m., according Dyer.

“It’s been a very good budget process,” Dyer said. He noted that while public comments have been few at the many budget meetings, residents have been able to follow the process through the town’s website, through viewing Select Board meetings and otherwise. He also noted the town sent out sent 1,000 postcards inviting residents to the various meetings.

“People are apparently happy,” he said. “They’ve had multiple opportunities to see what’s going on. When you have a 1.1 increase in the budget, most people aren’t going to complain.”

Bruce Bourgoine, chairman of the Select Board, said there had been 15 separate budget meetings and/or presentations since the process began in November 2017.

Andrews Tolman, chairman of the Budget Committee, said at last week’s meeting that committee members “wanted to be sure that we communicated the budget process as well as we could to the public and that we got feedback from them, as appropriate, during that process.”

Bourgoine said at last week’s meeting that the dollar amounts to support the school budget “were surprisingly less than we anticipated them to be.”

Both boards recommend passage of the articles. “When you have a very diligent, well-thought-out, explained process, then you do arrive at a consensus,” Bourgoine said.

BALLOT VOTES

Among the largest items on the ballot is a request to borrow $177,000 to help fund repairs to the Maranacook Lake Outlet Dam. The bond would be paid back over a 10-year period. Dyer said the town already has set aside $123,000 toward the $300,000 cost. Winthrop, which shares in the dam, is providing an equal amount of money.

Another ballot item would help lessen the effect of the property tax levy on some residents. It calls for the town to set aside $50,000 to assist older and needy residents.

“When I ran for office three years ago, this is one of the goals I had in my mind,” Bourgoine said.

A maximum of $360 would be available per applicant.

A new ordinance proposed on the same ballot would set guidelines for distribution of the funds.

Christine Sammons, vice chairwoman of the Select Board, said the money came from the proceeds from the sale of a home that had been repossessed. The board noted that no one had been displaced because of it.

Greg Durgin, a former selectman, told the board, “This is a wonderful ordinance, probably overdue. I fully support it.”

Wendy Dennis, who serves as chairwoman of the Maranacook Lake Outlet Dam Committee in her role with the Cobbossee Watershed District, thanked Readfield officials last week for coming up with a solution to fund the project by spreading the cost over a number of years and by working with the neighboring town of Winthrop on it.

BOARD ELECTIONS

Two incumbent Readfield Select Board members are running unopposed for re-election to three-year terms.

Also, incumbent Shawn Roderick is seeking re-election to the RSU 38 board of directors. Patricia L. Gordon is seeking the other three-year seat available after Thomas Sneed opted against running again. Formerly employed at Maranacook Middle School, Gordon is working as a teaching librarian at Oak Hill Middle School in Sabattus, in Regional School Unit 4.

She said Friday she is running for the school committee because “I just want to be involved in our school community.”

The ballot, as usual, includes a question asking if voters want to continue using the secret-ballot process for Town Meeting.

Changes to several ordinances also are proposed.

They include updates and clarifications to the Land Use Ordinance. “Nothing here significantly changes what people can do with their property,” said Tolman, who is also a member of the Planning Board, but he said the changes should make the ordinance easier to understand.

There is a substantial rewrite of the Animal Control Ordinance, partly to avoid redundant references to Maine law as well as to add an enforcement section. “The core here is a very solid, clear, easily enforceable ordinance that addresses domestic animals as well as livestock,” Dyer said at last week’s meeting.

The votes to forward the ordinances to the voters were unanimous.

Absentee ballots are available at the Town Office 30 days before the June 12 Town Meeting.

Betty Adams — 621-5631

[email protected]

Twitter: @betadams

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