Residents in Palermo approved filing a petition to withdraw from Regional School Unit (RSU) 12 by a nearly three-to-one margin.

The referendum vote asked residents if they favored filing a petition for withdrawal and to authorize the withdrawal committee to spend up to $15,000, as well as to authorize selectmen to issue notes or pledge town credit in an amount not to exceed $15,000.

Residents approved filing the withdrawal petition and appropriating the $15,000 by a vote of 103 in favor to 35 against.

RSU 12 is comprised of the towns of Alna, Chelsea, Palermo, Somerville, Westport Island, Whitefield, Windsor and Wiscasset.

According to statewide media reports, seven of the eight towns in RSU 12 approved a new cost-sharing plan that would raise taxes in Palermo by more than 20 percent.

Westport Island and Wiscasset also voted to submit withdrawal petitions in June 2012.

Residents previously voted in favor of filing the petition during a Dec. 5, 2012, meeting, but because the vote was not done by referendum, it was ruled invalid by the Commissioner of Education.

During the regular town meeting, held Saturday, March 9, residents approved raising and appropriating $180,000 for the town roads. Because of concerns about the economy, selectmen recommended raising $150,000 — down from $200,000 — while the Budget Committee recommended raising $180,000, Town Clerk Sheila McCarty said.

McCarty said residents also debated an issue with out-of-town contributions after some organizations did not provide the necessary documentation and were not included on the warrant. As a result, McCarty said, taxpayers voted on very few out-of-town contributions.

The entire meeting, which McCarty said was concluded in record time, lasted about three hours.

Republican Journal reporter Ben Holbrook can be reached at 338-3333 or at bholbrook@courierpublicationsllc.com.

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