DRESDEN — The town’s municipal budget will not increase this year after taxpayers voted not to withdraw from Regional School Unit 2 this past week. 

Thirty-nine Dresden residents attended Saturday’s Town Meeting at Pownalborough Hall to tackle a $1.16 million budget proposal that reflected a $32,393 increase over the previous year. Much of the increase was driven by a $40,000 item related to a withdrawal from RSU 2.

Article 3 sought to appropriate $40,000 to start a withdrawal process away from RSU 2, an idea the town has floated over the past year. The town established a withdrawal exploration committee, where joining the Wiscasset School District was discussed. But since voters decided against leaving RSU 2 on Tuesday, with 177 against and 148 in favor, article 3 was omitted from the 26 warrant articles Dresden taxpayers voted on Saturday morning.

Jeffrey Pierce moderates Dresden’s annual Town Meeting on Saturday morning. Captured via Facebook

Jeffrey Pierce moderated Saturday’s meeting.

Most towns in central Maine have seen an increase in budgets due to the rising costs of materials and employee benefits, but Dresden was able to save in some areas, and was able to present a balanced budget to voters. 

Daniel Swain, the town manager since last December, said in the area of town salary and wages, though the town lost a position, Swain’s salary went up by $10,000 to $63,000, and the town is paying for his, and another worker’s, health insurance. The cost went up to $230,575 from last year’s $187,819. 


Capital improvements went up, but Swain explained he was able to budget differently than past years. 

“The town used to keep reserve money in the operating budget, so the budgets used to look a lot bigger than what was approved at the meetings, but what I did was separate the money we wanted to put aside into its own separate account,” he said to the Kennebec Journal. “Of that $70,000 in (capital improvements) we put $25,000 in for paving and whatever is left for roads and capital improvements.” 

For protection accounts, the amount budgeted for the upcoming fiscal year is $92,260 and was $146,550 last year. Highway accounts went down as well, with the budgeted amount for this year at $383,044 compared to $510,000 last year, with Swain saying some of it went to the capital improvements area of the budget. 

Saturday’s meeting dealt with the municipal budget only. In addition, Dresden must pay $2,009,757.63 for its share of the RSU 2 budget, which was approved by the five district towns on Tuesday. Dresden also will have to pay a portion of the Lincoln County budget.

At the polls on Tuesday, in addition to deciding not to withdraw from RSU 2, voters filled three positions.

Don Gleason defeated incumbent Gerald Lilly, 175-147, for a position on the Select Board. 

Gary Bleu, who ran unopposed, got 290 votes for a budget committee seat, while Jeffrey Bickford ran unopposed to retain his seat on the RSU 2 board of directors with 233 votes.

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