Voters cast ballots — many of them of the absentee variety — across central Maine Tuesday, though there were few contested races and budgets avoided controversial spending increases.

Readfield voters overwhelmingly said a day at the town beach should be free to residents, passing an advisory question on the annual Town Meeting secret ballot warrant, 651 to 185.

Beach fees, which were increased this year from $40 to $60 for a family season pass, will remain in place at least for the rest of this summer, as the proposal would stop charging residents fees starting Jan. 1, 2021. The town beach is off Route 17 on Maranacook Lake, and Town Manager Eric Dyer said the town has charged a fee to use the beach since the property was donated to Readfield in the 1960s or 1970s.

Voters check in and pick up ballots Tuesday at the Augusta Civic Center, where all the city’s wards voted. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal Buy this Photo

Fees collected at the beach total between $6,000 and $8,000 a year, which Dyer said falls short of what it costs to maintain it.

The beach would still generate revenue from fees charged to nonresidents and from rentals of the property. But the majority of the cost of maintaining the beach would be covered by tax dollars.

Residents approved an ordinance regulating marijuana businesses, by a vote of 434 to 314. They also approved four of the seven other marijuana-related proposals on the warrant. Residents voted to opt in to allow medical marijuana manufacturing, testing, and registered caregiver retail stores, as well as to allow adult-use marijuana cultivation, but voted against allowing adult-use marijuana manufacturing, testing and retail stores.

All articles related to the annual town budget were approved, according to Dyer. The proposed budget items going to voters totaled $6.5 million — when combined with Readfield’s share of the Regional School Unit 38 budget — down about $480,000 from current spending.

Dyer said the budget is expected to result in a tax rate of $19.25 per $1,000 of assessed property value, down from $19.55.

AUGUSTA

In Augusta, voters approved the $32.5 million school budget by a vote of 2,555 to 551.

Voters elected Jan Michaud, the only candidate on the ballot for a Ward 3 seat on the Augusta Board of Education, with 613 votes. Official write-in candidate Kelly Smith received three votes.

DRESDEN

Dresden voters chose John Rzasa from a field of four candidates to serve out the term of first selectman Trudy Foss, who resigned earlier this year. Rzasa earned 150 votes. Sabrina Doray received 82, Donald Gleason 143 and Dwight Keene 89.

In the race for third selectman, Allan Moeller Sr. was reelected to serve another three-year term with 290 votes. Challenger Dale Hinote earned 167.

Dresden voters will vote on the town’s proposed budget starting at 9 a.m. Saturday at Pownalborough Hall, at the intersection of routes 128 and 197.

FAYETTE

Joe Young and Brian Holman were elected to the Board of Selectmen, beating out Nathaniel Sparling in a three-person race for two seats. Young accrued 204 votes, while Holman got 191 and Nathaniel Sparling had 166.

Nancy Cronin and Matthew Charland were elected in an unopposed race for two seats on the School Committee, with 255 and 248 votes, respectively.

Voters approved a referendum question that allows the town to raise $200,000 in taxes and pursue a 10-year, $200,000 bond to replace three culverts in Richmond Mills. The vote was 210-147. According to the question, the culverts are engineered to “withstand a 100 year flood event.” The total debt service incurred by the bond would be $230,082.

Voters approved another referendum question, 230-123, to raise $23,216 for the first year of a four-year lease to purchase a school bus for Fayette Central School.

LITCHFIELD

Selectman Gary Parker was re-elected to the board by 652 votes in an uncontested race.

Residents will vote on the town’s proposed budget starting at 10 a.m. Saturday in the barn next to the pulling ring at the Litchfield Fairgrounds.

Social distancing signs give directions to Hallowell voters Tuesday at the Hall-Dale Elementary School gym. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal Buy this Photo

MANCHESTER

Robert Gasper was reelected to the Board of Selectmen and as Sanitary District trustee, and Dane Wing and Michael Bell were elected to the RSU 38 Board of Directors. All were unopposed.

Manchester is conducting its annual open Town Meeting at 6:30 p.m., Thursday.

MONMOUTH

Kristin Sanborn, Douglas Ludewig and Mike Minkowsky were elected to the Select Board following Tuesday’s secret-ballot annual Town Meeting.  

Sanborn received 714 votes and Ludewig received 652, while their challenger, Donna Seppy, received 299. Sanborn and Ludewig will serve three-year terms. 

Minkowsky received 602 votes, earning a one-year term on the Select Board over Emily DuFour, who received 452 votes.

Voters approved all other articles on the warrant, which adds up to $3,437,925 in spending and about $1.2 million in municipal revenue.

Voters also approved an article to spend $75,000 for maintenance on the vacant Monmouth Middle and Henry L. Cottrell schools.

MOUNT VERNON

Sherene Gilman was elected to a one-year term on the Select Board, earning 253 votes over 19-year-old Tyler Dunn’s 157. Mac Hardy was also elected to the Select Board in an unopposed race with 348 votes.

Deputy Clerk Heather Wheeler was elected Town Clerk with 382 votes and Tax Collector with 384 votes. Road commissioner Lee Dunn was reelected with 369 votes.

Alexander Wright was elected to the RSU 38 Board seat with six write-in votes.

Carey Bor was elected to the Mount Vernon Elementary School advisory board with four write-in votes.

PITTSTON

Voters elected Fred Kimball to a three-year term on the Board of Selectmen with 356 votes. Both Kimball and former selectman Greg Lumbert ran for the open seat. Lumbert earned 193 votes.

Sam Snow was reelected road commissioner with 390 votes. Challenger Ronald Smith had 200 votes.

Theresa Guerrette was elected to the Gardiner-area school board with 300 votes, unseating incumbent Linda Caputo, who received 244 votes.

RICHMOND

Richmond residents reelected Andrew Alexander and Robert Bodge Jr. to three-year terms on the Board of Selectmen with 498 and 480 votes, respectively. Scott MacMaster, former police chief, and Matthew Roberge, former fire chief, ran write-in campaigns, earning a combined 206 votes.

Among the uncontested races, Russell Hughes was reelected to the Regional School Unit 2 board with 637 votes. He serves on the Richmond’s RSU 2 Withdrawal Committee.

This year, instead of an open Town Meeting, Richmond held a secret ballot vote. Voters approved all articles that made up the proposed $1.87 million budget.

RSU 2

Voters in this school district approved the proposed $31.6 million budget, which includes $16.4 million to be raised through property taxes.

The school district encompasses Dresden, Farmingdale, Hallowell, Monmouth and Richmond.

RSU 38

The school district’s proposed $18.91 million budget was approved, but the final vote totals were not available. The district includes the towns of Manchester, Mount Vernon, Readfield and Wayne.

SAD 11 

Voters in the Gardiner-area school district approved the $21.97 million budget with $7.5 million to be raised from property taxes. Voters also approved the district’s adult education budget, and approved creating a reserve fund for special education. The district encompasses Gardiner, Randolph, Pittston and West Gardiner.

SOMERVILLE

Town voters passed 19 referendum questions at a secret-ballot-only Town Meeting, accepting $530,830 in municipal spending, a slight reduction from last year’s spending.

Jarad Greeley was reelected to a three-year term as third selectman with 83 votes.

Willard Pierpont was reelected to a one-year term as road commissioner with 101 votes.

Russell Gates was elected to a three-year term on the RSU 12 Board of Directors with 90 votes.

VASSALBORO

In Vassalboro, voters approved the proposed school budget by a 624-124 vote.

Newcomer Barbara Redmond was elected to the Board of Selectmen for a three-year term. Erin Loiko will return to the School Committee and be joined by Zachary Smith. Loiko and Smith garnered 582 and 557 votes, respectively. Two seats were up for grabs in the primary.

WASHINGTON

Tom Johnston won reelection to the Board of Selectmen, earning 277 votes to ShaRon Kelly’s 93.

Guy Bourrie was elected to the RSU 40 School Board in an unopposed race with 314 votes.

WAYNE

Incumbents Lloyd Irland and Don Welsh were reelected to the Selectboard, while Emily Clifton was elected to the Budget Committee, and David Twitchell was elected to the the School Committee and RSU 38 Board of Directors. All were unopposed.

All of the town spending articles were also approved.

WEST GARDINER 

Town residents elected Steven McGee to the seat on the Board of Selectmen that Mert Hickey gave up this year after 33 years. McGee earned 503 votes to Christopher McLaughlin’s 480 votes.

Nicole Madore was elected to a one-year term and Matthew Lillibridge was elected to a two-year term on the Gardiner-area school board.

Angela Phillis was re-elected town clerk.

This year, West Gardiner’s budget was presented as a secret ballot vote instead of an open Town Meeting. Residents approved the town’s proposed $1.2 million spending plan.

WHITEFIELD

Charlene Donahue and Bill McKeen were reelected to the Select Board in unopposed races with 421 votes and 408 votes, respectively.

Kristin Margaret Smith Mason was elected to the Planning Board with 494 votes.

David Boynton was reelected road commissioner in an unopposed race with 499 votes

Suzanne E. Balbo was elected to the RSU 12 school board with 66 votes.

Voters also approved the RSU 12 budget by a 429-146 vote and approved the adult ed program by a 381-188 vote.

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