Central Maine voters had a strong turnout Tuesday and, in addition to statewide and legislative races, decided numerous ballot questions and filled local leadership positions.


Belgrade voters approved several local articles, including a new solar ordinance. The ordinance outlines numerous regulations for commercial solar projects in town, making it one of the first towns in the region to finalize such regulations after residents approved it in a 997-398 vote. The new ordinance includes required distance from residential dwellings, height restrictions and plans to decommission the site.

Also approved was an article to create a perpetual care fund for the First Responder’s Memorial, with 1,575 voting in support and 239 voting against, and an article to move roughly $32,000 from public works road maintenance budget and the paving capital reserve account to cover the additional expenses from the 2022 paving, with a 1,616-252 vote.

The final article was to approve an agreement with the Maine Department of Transportation for the installation, maintenance and operations of a water system for the area surrounding the town office. The article was approved with 1,419 voting in support and 411 voting against. The water system is meant to address the salt-contaminated properties in the area.



Benton residents voted to expand the Board of Select Persons from three members to five in a 754-548 vote. The two new members will be elected at the next Town Meeting in June. Also approved Tuesday were articles to increase the mileage reimbursement for the animal control officer by $1,600 in a 885-434 vote, and to create an ordinance to allow town board and committee members to offset taxes up to $1,000 per year in a 926-351 vote.

The final article approved by voters was a one-time change to authorize the board to spend 50% of the 2022 budget in the first six months of 2023, with 735 voting yes and 543 voting no. The town is in the process of changing its fiscal year from a traditional calendar year to July through June. The ordinance would allow town government to continue to function in the first half of 2023 until Town Meeting in June when residents can approve a new budget with the new fiscal year.


Voters Tuesday approved several articles asking to use more than $200,000 in federal American Rescue Plan Act money for a variety of purposes, and also elected a new member to fill an open seat on the Regional School Unit 18 board of directors.

Voters approved spending up to $70,000 in ARPA funding to buy a private fiber optic broadband internet system for unserved and underserved areas of town; up to $75,000 for a fuel assistance program for seniors as presented by the Select Board; up to $7,000 to make improvements to a radio tower for emergency services and public works communications; up to $21,590 to purchase a defibrillator for use by first responders; and up to $30,000 for municipal cemetery fence repair.

Residents also voted to enact amendments to the town’s quorum requirement ordinance, as well as amendments to the land development code.


Dawn Castner beat Wallace Pooler and Darrell Stevens in a three-way race for the school board seat. Castner got 851 votes to Pooler’s 371 and Stevens’ 403 votes.


In Clinton, voters approved changes to the town charter with a vote of 1,101 in favor and 349 against. Town officials previously said the changes are mostly related to language and grammar, and include shrinking the budget committee from 10 members to nine, the economic development committee having five members instead of seven and the addition of language on videoconferencing for public meetings.


Andrew Vellani, who served only 10 months of a three-year term when he was elected to the Farmingdale Board of Selectmen in 2019, was elected to fill the vacancy created on the three-member board when Tyler Tripp stepped down earlier this year.

He defeated Isaiah Peppard, who had stepped up to run first as a write-in in a June municipal election and in both the August and November special elections. Vellani received 748 votes and Peppard received 569.



Litchfield voters narrowly approved a roughly $2 million correction to its share of the Regional School Unit 4 budget. A typo in the budget on the warrant required school officials to go through the budget approval process again, and as a result Litchfield officials had to postpone the town’s tax commitment during an emergency selectboard meeting in September.

The typo of $1,752,630 was only included in a warrant article while the correct amount of $3,649,525 was included in all the school’s budget documents throughout the year. The correction will not result in a greater tax assessment or increased tax bills. Unofficial voting results showed 974 voters approved the question while 880 did not.


Mount Vernon residents narrowly shot down a question, 507-502, asking if they would appropriate up to $3.1 million for Matrix Design Group to construct a broadband network in town. Overall, the project is estimated to cost $5.1 million. Matrix Design Group would contribute $2 million and lease the network to the town, while the town would apply for a $2 million grant via the Maine Connectivity and bond the remaining $1.3 million over 15 years.

The five-vote margin was so close that, according to the town office, there may be a recount.



Voters on Tuesday decided in favor of a moratorium on commercial solar developments for the next 180 days.

Unofficial results show that 1,343 votes were cast in favor of the moratorium, with 748 against, according to Town Clerk Cathy Coyne.

Proposals for several commercial solar projects have been submitted to the town and the moratorium will allow officials to spend several months reviewing solar projects and developing guidelines for them.

A poll taken at a June town meeting showed that 80% of voters were in favor of some form of regulation over solar arrays.



Vienna voters agreed to allow $2.5 million in donated funds to be used to build and staff a proposed new career and technology education center at Mount Blue Middle School.

The proposal would build a new 5,000-square-foot building at the regional middle school that would be overseen by a teacher specializing in career and technology education.

It would be paid for by a donation from the Bjorn Foundation, if the article passes in the towns sending students to Regional School Unit 9 schools: Chesterville, Farmington, Industry, New Sharon, New Vineyard, Starks, Temple, Vienna, Weld and Wilton.

Vienna residents voted 317 to 30 in favor of the proposal.

Philanthropist and businessman Richard Bjorn has expressed a desire to help students who learn in other ways and address the demand for students trained in the trades, according to school officials.



Voters on Tuesday approved four questions asking for amendments to the City Charter.

Question 1 dealt with the mayor presiding at City Council meetings and casting a tie-breaking vote. Removed from the language, as part of Tuesday’s vote, was a phrase that says “excluding the appointment of members to the City Council.”

Question 2 was about vacancies on the council and residents OK’d the removal of language saying a vacancy may be declared by a 2/3 vote if a councilor is absent on three consecutive regular meetings.

Question 3 was identical to Question 2 except it referred to Waterville Board of Education seats. Again, the language about absences on three consecutive regular meetings was removed.

Question 4 referred to charter language dealing with the revision of ward boundary lines.

Voters also decided some municipal races, including those in Ward 1 who elected Democrat and newcomer Brandon L. Gilley, who ran unopposed for the council. He replaces former City Councilor Mike Morris, D-Ward 1, who moved to Ward 5. Morris was elected to the Ward 5 seat, which was vacated when Rick Foss, a Republican, moved out of the city. Morris, whose term is for two months, ran unopposed. Councilor Thomas Klepach, D-Ward 3, was reelected to his seat. He ran unopposed.

Newcomer Erin Coleen McDermott, a Democrat, was elected to the Waterville Board of Education in Ward 3. She ran unopposed.

Jeff Earickson and Michael Talbot were reelected to the Kennebec Water District board of trustees.

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