Randolph voters are on board with a $1 million bond that will pay for road improvements.

The 40 registered voters at Wednesday night’s Town Meeting approved the 20-year bond with no discussion. They also approved the first interest payment of $17,500.

One resident, Marcia-Anne Dobres, said she liked taking out the bond because the roads are in need of the repairs.

“Taxation is for the common good of the people,” she said. “The common good is for streets.”

Voters also approved raising and appropriating $50,000 for sidewalk repair and resurfacing.

Dobres asked if repair work would include the sidewalk in front of the former T.C. Hamlin School. She said she’s been attending meetings for about 10 years, advocating for the work. Year after year, Dobres said, she has been given a different reason for not fixing the sidewalk, and when it was a school, “little kids could easily trip and get hurt.”

“This is your year,” Selectman Matthew Drost responded.

An article changing the write-in process for elected officials generated more debate, though the discussion didn’t result in any changes.

The article, which passed as written, states write-in candidates will only be counted if the candidate has filed a timely declaration with the municipal clerk. Candidates wishing to appear on the printed ballot must get 25 signatures approximately one month before the election. With the passage of the article, write-in candidates also have to declare their intentions a month prior to the election.

Dobres said not every person who wants to run as a write-in candidate will be able to make that determination a month before the election. It was noted that some people who have been elected as write-ins have declared their candidacy only a few days before the election.

Drost, elected to the budget committee as a write-in, was one of those candidates. He voted against the article, saying there were some issues with it.

Mark Roberts, select board chairperson, said he has seen write-in candidates who, “two days into the position, said ‘this is not for me’ and left.”

Drost said, in the past, formal candidates on the ballot have done the same thing.

“I just think this is how voter rights get suppressed,” Dobres said, recommending the deadline be moved to a week prior to the election to make it more reasonable.

Voters also approved $40,000 for installing LED streetlights around town.

“If you drive anywhere in Gardiner, … you’ll see these streetlights,” said Peter Coughlan, the editor of the town’s newsletter. “They’re maybe a month or two old.”

He said some streets in Randolph are quite short but have four or five lights, which he and the selectmen determined was too many.

“Crime is not going to go rampant,” Coughlan said. “Data does not support that.”

He said the annual Central Maine Power bill will drop from about $19,000 to one-tenth of that, and the kilowatt-hours will drop by 90%.

“It’s really a no brainer,” Coughlan said.

As a result of the passage of all articles, Randolph’s spending plan for the 2019-2020 fiscal year will increase by $107,854, or about 5%, to $2,242,180 in the next budget year. The town’s property tax rate — $18.40 per $1,000 of assessed valuation — is not expected to change much, Janet Richards, Randolph’s treasurer and tax collector, previously said.

Calculations on the property tax rate are not complete because the town’s valuation is not yet known. But for a property owner whose house is assessed at $130,000, the annual property tax bill would be nearly $2,392 at the current rate.


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