Board hears proposal for veterans' memorial, report on CSD budget
Lincolnville — Two items stood out on a crowded agenda when selectmen met Monday, May 12.
Selectman Rosey Gerry, also a member of the Memorial Day Parade Committee, reported on behalf of the committee on a proposal for a new veterans' memorial on a portion of the former Millington property, now owned by the town. The memorial would be located next to the library on Main Street. Other than the use of the land, the town would incur no cost, he said. The committee would pay for upkeep of the memorial and private contributions will be raised to fund it.
Gerry said a separate memorial committee will be established, and he hopes to have members of the town's Recreation Commission, the Lincolnville Boat Club, the Conservation Committee, the Lincolnville Historical Society, the library and other local groups serve on it. He hopes the existing war memorials can be moved to the new site, which would be landscaped and wheelchair-accessible, he said.
Further information about the proposal will be released after various stakeholder groups have been consulted, Gerry said.
Five Town Community School District (CSD) Superintendent Elaine Nutter reported on the budget for Camden Hills Regional High School.
Nutter said her office and the CSD School Board had worked to control expenses and increase revenues, but they were battling against declining state support for education, as well as increasing costs.
She noted the high school enrollment is approaching 700 students, and said her office has done comparative studies with other, similar high schools. In particular, she mentioned Falmouth, where she said wages were lower than at Camden Hills. Falmouth has also realized energy savings from a wood pellet boiler, she said.
Going forward, Nutter said the school would achieve cost savings by converting from oil heat to propane, a measure that has already been taken. In addition, the school will seek to install a heat recovery system for additional energy efficiency and might in the future invest in a wood pellet boiler or another alternative fuel system. She also mentioned the LED lighting the school has installed, as well as the wind turbine that generates a portion of the school's power.
She said the 2014-15 budget increased expenses by 3.1 percent, which was “above the target we were hoping to achieve,” but further reductions in expenditures would have required cutting programs, which neither she, nor the school board, felt was advisable. Because state support for schools has decreased, Nutter said the increase in cost to taxpayers for the next year is 5.9 percent.
In order to offset growing expenses, the superintendent said she was seeking new revenues. She hopes to increase tuition revenues by attracting more international students, and said she would like to be able to keep foreign students for four years instead of one, as private schools can.
Also, the district has been talking with the town of St. George about taking their students if the town withdraws from Regional School Unit (RSU) 13. Nutter said the CSD board had agreed to take the students at the state standard tuition if the town does withdraw. If St. George does send students to Camden Hills, the town will be responsible for the costs of transportation and special education, she said. Those attending the budget meeting for the CSD Tuesday, May 27, at 7 p.m. at Camden Hills will be asked to vote on the agreement, she said.
Lincolnville's share of the Camden Hills budget will increase by 4 percent for the upcoming year, Nutter told the Board.
Budget Committee Vice Chair Cathy Hardy asked when the current contract with Mid-Coast School of Technology expires, and whether contract changes could be made to reduce the town's costs for vocational education.
Nutter replied that Camden Hills will remain part of Region 8 until state law changes or the school withdraws from the region. Its share of the Mid-Coast budget is based on the proportion of juniors and seniors in the school, which led to a big jump in Camden Hills' share of the Mid-Coast budget for the upcoming year.
She said she and other area superintendents have sought to change the cost-sharing formula to include students in grades 9 through 12, phased in by including just sophomore, juniors and seniors the first year, and then going to all high school grades the next year. Nutter said she felt she and the superintendents from RSU 13 and School Administrative District 40 had enough in common to be able to work together to change the formula.
In other business, Recreation Commission member Leslie Devoe reported that work is progressing on the athletic fields, and a hot dog stand is now up and running, with electricity supplied by Lincolnville Central School. She added that the commission is starting a 55-and-older softball league for men and women this summer and hopes to get other towns involved. There are also plans for winter ice hockey teams.
Devoe also reported that her fellow committee member Donny Heald, who is in charge of the Norton Pond floats, had found dry rot in them. Heald told the Board he had spoken with Town Administrator David Kinney and others about replacing the docks and adding a third for a total cost of about $10,000.
The Board directed Kinney to work with the commission to get the new docks in place.
Devoe also said the Megunticook Watershed Association had offered the commission a speed buoy for Norton Pond, which would be place near the entrance into the pond from Megunticook Lake.
As Devoe was beginning her presentation, she asked Hardy about changes to the Recreation Commission budget recommended by the Budget Committee. They had a several minutes' exchange about the Budget Committee's recommendation to move funds carried over in the budget for recreation to a line item for septage disposal elsewhere in the budget. Asked to repeat his advice to the Budget Committee, Kinney said it was legal to move the funds as the Budget Committee proposed to do, but he felt it would be better and easier for town meeting voters to understand, if the carryover amount were returned to undesignated funds and then allocated to whatever purpose voters chose.
Jim Dunham reported for the Lincolnville Community Alliance that his group and the Boat Club had agreed on the location for a crosswalk on Main Street between the library and the Boat Club. He said David Allen of the state Department of Transportation had informed him that the town must pay for road signs warning drivers that they are approaching a crosswalk.
Kinney estimated the cost for the two signs plus striping the crosswalk at about $450, and the Alliance was told to go ahead and work with Kinney to get the striping done and the signs installed.
The Alliance has also had four signs that say “Entering Lincolnville Center” made, Dunham said, and wants to install them along routes 235, 173 and 52 to encourage drivers to slow down as they approach the village area of the town. The group will work with Kinney to determine the exact location for the signs and get them posted.
The board adopted a building use policy for the Town Office allowing governmental bodies, such as the Lincolnville Sewer District, to use it for meetings during normal operating hours or by special arrangement with the town administrator.
Selectmen approved the warrants for the annual town meeting Thursday, June 12, at 7 p.m. at Lincolnville Central School and the election Tuesday, June 10, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the school.
They also approved the warrant for a special town meeting Tuesday, May 20, at 7 p.m. at the school on the Lincolnville Central School budget, and set a public hearing on the proposed consumer fireworks ordinance for Thursday, May 22, at 6:30 p.m. at the school.
The next selectmen's meeting will be Monday, June 2, at 6 p.m. at the Town Office.
Sarah E. Reynolds is copy editor for the Courier Gazette and Camden Herald.
Sarah E. Reynolds has been a reporter and writer for more than 20 years, winning awards from the Maine Press Association and other professional organizations. She loves to read, ride her ATV and play word games.
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