MONMOUTH — The Board of Selectman finalized the warrant Wednesday night, confirming that 35 questions will appear in front of voters at June 8’s annual Town Meeting.

The town’s Board of Selectmen breezed through 35 articles on the warrant Wednesday, with a low level of public comment, before approving the warrant to be used at the annual Town Meeting. The warrant was approved by a 4-1 vote, with Timothy McDonald dissenting.

McDonald’s dissent stemmed from an approved Board of Selectmen recommendation of “no” on the final article on the warrant, which could allow voters to “authorize the the Board of Selectmen to purchase playground equipment, using funds from the sale of the Cottrell elementary school, to be placed at Monmouth Beach Park, at a cost of no more than $30,000.”

McDonald actually brought the article to the select board at its previous meeting, March 24, where it was denied by a 3-2 vote, with dissent from selectmen C.Douglas Ludewig, Michael Minkowsky and Kristin Sanborn.

Following that vote, a citizen’s petition circulated and gathered enough signatures to place the item on the warrant. Town Manager Linda Cohen said the petition’s signatures were verified Tuesday.

According to draft minutes from the March 24 meeting of the Board of Selectmen, during a review of warrant questions, Sanborn said she did not want an item relating to a playground at the beach on the warrant, and she would rather see green space at the beach. The minutes stated that Ludewig agreed with Sanborn, and Minkowsky “needs to see drawings of the space.”

At the March 24 meeting, Selectman Harold Jones said the $30,000 in funds from the sale of the school would not be missed, according to the minutes, and called the playground “a good investment.”

During a public hearing on the warrant Thursday, resident Jo Weiss asserted that McDonald circulated the petition and didn’t appreciate how the article was brought back to voters after the Board of Selectmen voted it down.

McDonald said he didn’t circulate any petition, and said it was circulated by the town’s recreation committee. He said the committee asked for his guidance, but he did not give any.

“Even if I did, so what?” McDonald said. “I’m a citizen in town. It stuns me to think that she would question anybody’s right to petition the local government. … That’s ridiculous.”

Later in the meeting, Sanborn, Minkowsky and Ludewig voted against a “yes” recommendation appearing beneath the article, defeating a motion supported by McDonald and Jones. The same groups swapped their votes for a “no” recommendation, which will appear on the warrant.

Shortly after the vote was approved Thursday, McDonald said he voted against the warrant because of the “shortsighted response to the last question.” He said he thought the no recommendation ignored “a great of deal people” who wanted to have more activity options for their children in town.

Voters will also decide on what direction to head with the former Monmouth Middle School complex at 117 Academy Road.

Question 32 asks if the town should approve a project demolishing the middle school, excluding the Monmouth Academy Building built in 1856, an administration building at the playground, as well as repair the academy building. That would require an appropriation of up to $1.7 million, which use funds from the sale of the Henry L Cottrell School and pursue a bond of $1.5 million. Estimated interest on that bond would be $398,675.75, meaning the total bond cost would be nearly $1.9 million.

Question 33 asks if the town should demolish all buildings on the complex except the playground and administration building. That project would require an appropriation of $452,000, which the town would cover through $200,000 in bonding and funds from the sale of the Cottrell school. Interest on the $200,000 bond would bring $28,653 in interest, or a total cost of $228,653.

According to the draft warrant released with the April 7 meeting agenda, the town has $1,798,199 in bonds outstanding and unpaid.

It is recommended by the Board of Selectmen that voters approve either 32 or 33.

The town will also decide on $3.65 million in municipal spending, which is an increase of about 8.4% from the current budget of $3.36 million.

Town Manager Linda Cohen said $113,516 will be taken out of the expenditures and placed in the following fiscal year’s budget after the town saved some money on a roads project on Packard and Gilman roads.

The budget’s debt retirement line saw a 41% increase from $194,135 to $273,889, while employee benefits rose 7.6% from $398,431 to $429,030, and the capital improvement line rose 128% from $38,947 to $89,080. Other budget lines saw smaller increases.

Some budget lines saw small cuts, like the building maintenance, debt service, risk management, town treasurer and town office lines. The code enforcement line dropped 41%, from $65,374 to $38,434.

Also appearing on the warrant will be a shoreland zoning ordinance change to add a “Recreation Business Lake Protection District,” and make other changes rezoning the Kippewa all-girls’ camp to that district.

In February, it was reported that the camp was looking to expand and a proposed rezone would allow for the camp to expand into an adjacent plot of land that it already owns. Kippewa’s attorney Andrew Hamilton the camp’s zoning proposal is stricter in some areas than the town’s current zoning, including a “number of uses that are prohibited in this zone, which could be allowed in the current zoning.”

Related Headlines


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.