RICHMOND — Officials in Richmond are looking to hold a special election in March to determine whether the town should explore leaving Regional School Unit 2.

That date is expected to be March 3, the same date on which residents will be asked whether they want to renew Richmond’s pipeline tax increment financing district.

When the Board of Selectmen last met two weeks ago, two selectmen asked whether the vote could take place at the same time as the districtwide vote to validate the school district budget in June.

But Town Manager Adam Garland, citing state statute and an opinion from the town’s attorney, said the vote must take place within 60 days or on the next warrant. The next warrant is expected to be the vote on the TIF renewal.

“We really can’t put it off beyond that March date,” he said.

Garland has prepared a draft warrant article for the selectmen’s consideration.


Also at issue is how much money the Board of Selectmen would seek to cover costs associated with withdrawing from RSU 2, which includes Richmond, Monmouth, Dresden, Farmingdale and Hallowell. Garland said based on a survey of towns undertaking similar actions, he is proposing $50,000.

“It’s really next to impossible to come up with an idea of how much this process is going to cost,” he said. “But most of them have found $40,000 to $50,000 covers legal expenses, posting expenses and all the peripheral stuff.”

If expenses exceed that amount, he said, another special town meeting would take place.

The request, however, needs a recommendation from the Budget Committee. Garland suggested having a joint meeting with the Budget Committee on Dec. 30 to review the appropriation and it can vote on its recommendation. After that, he said, selectmen would be asked to approve the warrant article Jan. 13.

Selectman David Thompson said he had been approached by a three or four Richmond residents who said linking the vote to the budget validation was a bad idea.

“At least now we can tell them by law we can’t wait any longer,” Thompson said. “We have to get it done. I like that. It’s a clean answer.”

In mid-November, a petition seeking to start the withdrawal process was submitted to the Town Office. A review of the petition showed that organizers had collected enough verified signatures to require the townwide vote.

That triggers a lengthy process spelled out in state law that any town seeking to leave a school district must follow, including conducting a public hearing at least 10 days before the vote takes place.

RSU 2 was formed a decade ago after state lawmakers enacted the school district reorganization law. The goal was to improve educational opportunities and promote equity, while reducing the cost and increasing the efficiency of delivering education to the state’s students.

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