SIDNEY — In a replay of annual town meetings past, residents sparred over an $800 request by the nonprofit Spectrum Generations, narrowly defeating the article at Saturday morning.

Fifty-seven voters in Sidney approved the town’s $2,016,319 municipal budget during the meeting held at the James H. Bean School gymnasium.

Most of the discussion at the nearly two-hour meeting was related to the funding request from Spectrum Generations, the Augusta-based adult and senior services agency that works in multiple counties.

The select board had previously voted 3-2 to recommend the article at Town Meeting, while the budget committee declined to recommend any funding amount for the agency.

Sidney resident Carmen Bedard defended the agencies’ work, pointing out that the amount requested is a miniscule part of the town’s budget. In the past year, Spectrum Generations has provided services to 84 people in Sidney and provided 996 meals in the town, she said.

“When you consider that Spectrum is asking for $800, when you look at all the services residents receive, it’s nothing,” Bedard said. “It seems very reasonable to me.”


Resident William Cole, who spoke to the issue at last year’s meeting as well, called the issue a “principle thing,” wherein he believes the town should not fund “charities” that receive federal funding and provide services in places other than Sidney.

“The best thing you can do for the elderly is keep their taxes cheap so they can choose the charity of their choice,” Cole said.

A motion to vote on the article by secret ballot narrowly failed, with voters having to stand and hold their orange voter cards in the air for a count. A subsequent vote on the $800 request narrowly rejected it with a vote of 26-22.

There was also some discussion about a $4,228 request for the Belgrade Area Dams Committee, with Selectman Alan Tibbetts noting that the committee first approached Sidney two years ago for help in repairing a dam. He said the town has “done them a favor” for the past few years and should no longer contribute funding.

Articles are voted on Saturday as moderator Jim Isgro, standing, leads the annual Town Meeting in the gymnasium of James Bean School in Sidney. Rich Abrahamson/Morning Sentinel

Board of Selectmen Chair John Whitcomb disagreed, saying that the committee has control over the Belgrade Lakes system and has had to modify dam flows more in the past year to adjust water levels on Messalonskee Lake and Salmon Lake. Whitcomb said the levels of the lakes must be maintained to preserve the property value of Sidney’s waterfront parcels.

“Because of the snowpack and melting of this year, they have to open some dams more and some less,” Whitcomb said.


The article was narrowly approved by a vote of 22-19.

The total municipal budget is down $247,038, or 10.9%, from last year.

Most of the money for the budget will be pulled from the town’s surplus account, lowering the tax burden for residents. Select board member Alisa Meggison-Keimel said after the meeting that this is to keep the town’s property tax rate from increasing. The education budget, the total of which is not yet known, is where 90% of taxpayer money will go, she said.

Meggison-Keimel also noted that the millage rate could potentially be lowered this year to offset adjustments made during the past year’s revaluation project to update assessments of property values in town.

Alicia Collins and Lewis Corriveau were both voted to the Board of Selectmen in uncontested elections during polling on Friday. They will replace Meggison-Keimel and Tibbetts, whose terms are expiring.

Shawna Foye and William Cole were both reelected to three-year terms on the Budget Committee and Tabitha Cole and Trevor Hamlin were reelected to one-year terms as alternates.

Related Headlines

Comments are no longer available on this story