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Lincolnville voters to decide on town budget, acquiring new park on the bay, selling much-debated town building

Park open house July 11 9 a.m. - 12 noon
By Susan Mustapich | Jul 06, 2020
Photo by: Susan Mustapich Lincolnville voters will decide July 14 on acquiring a 4.34-acre park located near the Northport-Lincolnville line in a land-swap with Coastal Mountains Land Trust for acreage along the Ducktrap River.

Lincolnville — Residents will vote July 14 on whether to take ownership of a park with beachfront on the Penboscot Bay, approve a $2.1 million town budget for 2020-21 and sell the Lincolnville Improvement Association Building.

They will also elect Selectmen and School Board members, and choose a candidate in the Democratic primary to run for State Senator Erin Herbig's seat in District 11.

Voting by absentee ballot has been encouraged by local and state officials. These ballots are not tallied until the polls close on July 14. The polling place at the Lincolnville Central School is also open for voting from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Selectmen, school board, state senate seats

Incumbent Selectman Josh Gerritsen is running for reelection. David Michael (Mike) Ray is running for an open term, previously held by Jon Fishman, who is not pursuing reelection.

Tracee O'Brien and John Williams are running for two three-year seats on the Lincolnville Central School Committee. These seats are currently held by Rebecca Stephens and Briar Lyons.

The three candidates running in the State Democratic primary for the District 11 Senate seat formerly held by Erin Herbig are Chip Curry, Charlie Pattavina and Robyn Stanicki.

Lincolnville Improvement Association Building

Voters will decide on selling the Lincolnville Improvement Association building, which is owned by the town and leased to the Association. The Board of Selectmen made the decision to sell the 128-year-old building, following an in-depth evaluation of the building that turned up repair and renovation costs and associated administrative costs and fees ranging around $700,000.

Selectmen first offered the building for sale to the Association and the Lincolnville Historical Society for $1, with the provision that the buyer would have to ensure that the building was "made structurally sufficient within one year of the vote of approval of the transfer." Both organizations declined the offer, stating they do not have the funds for the repairs and are not capable of doing the work themselves.

Engineers determined there is insufficient support for the building's second floor, and recommended no more than a handful of people use the second floor at any given time.The building needs a new roof, a poured foundation, adequate structural support for the second floor, new windows, siding and furnace, and an accessible entrance and bathroom. The assessment was done according to safety and accessibility standards to which the town would need to adhere.

Park property land swap

Voters will be asked to decide on acquiring the park property from Coastal Mountains Land Trust, through a land swap. They will also vote on using $13,700 from the town's unassigned fund for maintenance and operation of the park through 2021.

The 4.34-acre park property is located near the Northport-Lincolnville town line. It will remain under a conservation easement, and cannot be developed or subdivided. It contains two swing sets, three roofed picnic table shelters with stone barbecue fireplaces, volleyball nets, horseshoe pits, seasonal water spigots, a roofed toilet facility and septic system and a paved parking lot. In April, Land Trust representatives said they believe the best use of the 4.34 acres is not to let it return to its natural state, but to remain a park, and that the town of Lincolnville is best suited to oversee it.

In exchange for the park parcel, the Land Trust is asking the town of Lincolnville to swap a town-owned piece of land along the river of approximately 68.8 acres. The Land Trust has a long history of conserving acreage along the Ducktrap River, in order to protect the river-corridor and habitat for a species of Atlantic Salmon. The acreage is almost entirely surrounded by conserved land, according to the Land Trust, which will continue to allow public recreational access there.

The Board of Selectmen and Budget Committee recommend the land-swap and budget for maintenance and operation of the park property.

There are two opportunities for residents to view the park prior to the July 14 vote, with town officials and Land Trust members on hand, July 9 from 4 to 7 p.m. and July 11 from 9 a.m. to noon.

Municipal budget

Voters will decide on expenses totaling $2,146,092 for the 2020-21 municipal budget.
Selectmen and Budget Committee recommend the use of $1,244,300 in non-property tax revenues and unassigned fund balance to lower the amount to be raised by property taxes. After revenues are subtracted from expenses, the net amount to be raised in property tax, totals $901,792. This is a 9% decrease from the previous year (991,052).

During a June 22 public hearing on the town warrant articles, Board of Selectmen Chairman Ladleah Dunn said that prior to approving the budget, selectmen went back and reviewed the entire budget, resulting in a reduction of $89,260 from the previous fiscal years.

Lincolnville Central School budget

Voters will be asked to approve school operating expenditures for the 2020-21 school year totaling $3,629,586, a decrease of $118,534.00, or 3.16% from the prior year, according to Principal Paul Russo.

The amount to be raised  in local property tax totals $3,304,575, an increase of $101,310.00 from the prior year. While expenditures were decreased 3.16%, budget dramatically, the cost to local taxpayer will increase due to a significant decrease in state funding.

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