The Kennebec County neighboring towns of China and Vassalboro are holding town meetings next week.

China voters will hit the polls Tuesday, June 8, for the annual town business meeting in a referendum vote, while Vassalboro is conducting its in-person town meeting Monday, June 7, at 6:30 p.m. and will have an election the next day as well.

The Vassalboro full budget, including for the Vassalboro Community School, totals approximately $6.96 million.

“We have a couple of very large capital improvement projects,” Vassalboro Town Manager Mary Sabins said. “Those are fairly large hits to the budget, but they’re necessary and needed.”

Vassalboro voters will act on a 41-article warrant during the Town Meeting, with the final three articles of the warrant to be voted on via the referendum ballot Tuesday. Two are running unopposed for posts as elected officials, Christopher J. French for the Board of Selectmen and Jolene Clark-Gamage for the School Committee. Voters will also act on the town’s marijuana ordinance, prohibiting marijuana business in the town unless they were already in operation. Voters will also act on Vassalboro Community School’s $8.3 million budget, approximately $3.8 million of which the town has to pay, and decide if they want to continue the referendum process for three more years.

“We have the option to ask (voters) every three years if they want to continue to do the ratification vote,” Sabins said. “The townspeople get to vote on it twice.”

China voters will act on a 26-article ballot Tuesday. The municipal budget is approximately $3.97 million, a 2.37% increase from last year. The town’s contribution to Regional School Unit 18 is approximately $5.2 million.

“We have put the most information we’ve ever had budget wise on our website,” China Town Manager Becky Hapgood said. “Everybody has unique questions so it really depends what piques people’s interest.”

Articles of interest include changing the town’s police coverage from municipal officers to county sheriff’s coverage and selling a 39-acre parcel of land that a town selectperson and resident want to turn into a park.

The town is looking to change its municipal law enforcement coverage from town-employed, part-time police officers to deputies from the Kennebec County Sheriff’s Office. The town currently budgets for 26 hours of municipal coverage, but the part-time officers are not hitting the total hours. The new plan calls for 10 hours of coverage from the county sheriff’s office.

The vote is not on the overall plan, though, but rather the vote is on the funding of police, which already includes the new plan.

An article to sell the land was recommended by the China Select Board, 4-1, with Janet Preston voting against selling the town-owned land on Lakeview Drive. She and resident Lindsey Harwath hope to turn the land into a system of nonmotorized trails dedicated to walking, hiking, snowshoeing and skiing.

The town’s Select Board and Budget Committee recommended all of the articles on the warrant and a majority were unanimous.

“We tried to keep this as a basic budget not knowing where we’d be as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Hapgood said. “We don’t want to see a drastic increase because people are still struggling.”

China’s polls are open Tuesday from 7 a.m.-8 p.m. at the portable building next to its town office, while Vassalboro voters can cast their ballots from 8 a.m.- 8 p.m. at the town office. Vassalboro’s in-person meeting will be held Monday at the school at 6:30 p.m.

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