Voters in Madison will be asked to decide on a proposed $3.446 million budget on Monday, with the option to use $400,000 in undesignated funds to offset taxes.

The meeting will begin next Monday at 7 p.m. in the auditorium of Madison Junior High School at 205 Main St. Masks will be optional for those who are fully vaccinated; those who have not been vaccinated will be asked to wear a mask on the honor system.

Town Manager Tim Curtis said that the budget is “relatively flat” this year due to the proposed use of $400,000 in undesignated funds to offset taxes. By using $400,000 this year, the result will be a net reduction to taxpayers of 2.59%. 

Major items in the 32-article warrant include $121,450 for the Madison Public Library; $612,980 for public safety; $620,975 for general government; and $558,000 for public utilities.

“The money that was raised to cover things like road paving and highway and fire equipment purchases will essentially be covered by the money that will be taken out of savings, or the undesignated fund balance to keep the budget flat from this year compared to last year,” Curtis said.

Ordinances on the warrant include updates and changes to the language of the Site Plan Review Ordinance, and amendments to the Automobile Graveyard and Junkyard Ordinance as well as the Vehicles and Parking Ordinance.

Curtis said that the most notable article on the warrant is No. 32, which asks voters to decide on a proposed ordinance prohibiting needle exchange programs, needle disposal sites and medically supervised injection sites.

If adopted, Madison will join municipalities in the region, including Skowhegan, Norridgewock and Solon, to adopt some sort of needle exchange program or prohibition in their communities.

In Norridgewock, the municipality voted in March to adopt an ordinance to regulate needle exchange programs after the town was approached by Somerset County Sheriff Dale Lancaster.

Maine Access Points, a nonprofit organization, provides syringe access services, overdose prevention education and naloxone distribution throughout rural Maine.

Lancaster has previously said that he was concerned about a third-party offering these services in an uncontrolled area. He said he has encouraged municipalities in Somerset County to adopt ordinances where this type of exchange is regulated.

The town of Skowhegan adopted a Needle Exchange Ordinance in August 2020, also regulating needle exchange programs within the community.

In Solon, voters decided in October 2020 to enact a prohibition on needle exchange programs as the town of Solon “does not believe it is an appropriate site.”

Selectmen in Madison are split on the issue; as a whole, the board recommends passing a prohibition by a 3-2 margin, with chairman Albert Veneziano and Sally Dwyer opposed.

Elections will be held from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday at the Old Point School at 108 Old Point Ave. Using a GPS, a more accurate address is 23 Locust St., which will take people to the parking lot on the back side of the school.

Changes to the election site went into effect for the November 2020 election, after $10,000 was spent on renovations to the space, including changes to the entrances and exits that make them compliant with the Americans With Disabilities Act.

Only one race is opposed on the ballot this year; Craig Parker and Brandon Hagopian are running for the five-year term on the board of directors for Madison Electric Works.

Absentee ballots are available at the Madison Town Office.

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