Voters in central Maine this week weighed in on a variety of ballots and other issues, ranging from municipal elections to city referendum questions to school budgets. Here are the results of some of those questions voters answered this week:
Madison residents pass $3.5 million municipal budget
Residents attending the annual municipal meeting this week approved a municipal budget of $3.5 million.
The new budget represents an increase of approximately 3.5%, or $120,385, over the current fiscal year. According to City Manager Tim Curtis, no one factor caused the increase and was instead due to an overall increase in spending outside of the city’s control. The impact of the budget increase on the local tax rate will not be known until July or August.
Major expenditures in the newly approved budget include $642,250 for general government, $659,450 for public safety, $609,000 for utilities, and $640,050 for public works.
A paper reviewed at Monday’s meeting generated significant discussion, Curtis said. He asked residents if they wanted to change the position of clerk from an elected to an appointed position. Residents ultimately decided to support the change, and it will go into effect in July 2023. Another article passed Monday changed the term of the city’s road commissioner from one year to three years.
The city clerk currently serves a one-year term, Curtis said. The position was filled by Kathy Estes, who is retiring after 19 years on the job. Winning Tuesday’s election for the position was Sadness Black-smith.
In contested elections, incumbents Ronald Moody and Al veneziano were re-elected to the select committee; Irene Christopher and Angela McKenney were elected to the Maine School Administrative District 59 Board of Trustees; and Phil Curtis and Kevin Lombard will serve on the Anson-Madison Water District Board of Directors.
The water district has come under scrutiny in recent months after the superintendent was fired and later charged with theft. The administrators elected to lay off the rest of the district staff and contracted with the Maine Rural Water Association to manage district operations.
On Monday, residents also approved the use of about $260,000 from the U.S. federal bailout to cover several expenses, including road paving projects, purchases of equipment for firefighters, matching grant programs for small businesses and municipal property renovations.
Regional School Unit 18 budget wins voter approval
Voters in Regional School Unit 18 on Tuesday approved a $41.7 million budget for 2022-23. Oakland voters approved the budget, 501-167; Belgrade voters, 250-95; China, 507-160; Roma, 124-38; and Sydney, 241-144.
Voters in those cities also approved support for a referendum on a $3.7 million revolving renovation loan. The state loan is used primarily for energy improvements and has zero percent interest over 10 years. The RSU is only required to repay about half of this.
The voters of RSU 18 also approved the process of validating the budget by referendum for the next three years.
Winslow OK School Budget
Winslow residents on Tuesday approved a proposed $18.1 million school budget for 2022-23. The budget represents an increase of 2.38%, or $198,585, in the total tax credit.
The vote was 533-168. The budget increases translate into negotiated salaries, fuel costs and the hiring of two education technicians, a social worker and a speech therapist.
Voters also chose, in a vote of 511 to 192, to continue for the next three years to hold a referendum vote to validate the school’s annual budget.
Morning Sentinel staff writers Taylor Abbott, Kaitlyn Budion and Amy Calder contributed to this report.
Fairfield residents vote against water expansion project