May 23, 2018
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Searsport residents head to polls Tuesday

By Walter Griffin

SEARSPORT, Maine — Residents will go to the polls at the Public Safety Building on Tuesday in the first portion of the annual town meeting. The warrant part of the meeting will take place at Searsport District High School on Saturday.

The polls will be open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday, March 3.

The town meeting will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday, March 7, at the school’s gymnasium.

This year’s election features three candidates for two open seats on the Board of Selectmen. Incumbent board chairman Aaron Fethke and fellow incumbent Joe Perry are each running for re-election for a three-year term. They are being challenged by newcomer Josh Sylvester, owner of Acadian Safari Co. Voters also will select eight members for a two-year term on the budget advisory committee.

The 2009 municipal budget will be determined at Saturday’s meeting. Town Manager James Gillway said if approved as proposed, the budget would represent a little more than 1 percent increase over last year. He said that although the selectmen managed to hold the line on spending, he expected that revenues in the coming year would decline somewhat.

“Revenues are down and that is what is creating our biggest problems,” Gillway said Friday. “Less in state revenue sharing and less in excise tax collections means that we will end up with less in our road reserve accounts.”

Gillway said receipts from the town’s ambulance service were on the rise and were expected to offset some of the drop in projected revenues.

Also on the warrant are proposed revisions to the town’s land use ordinance for the rural agricultural zone that ask residents whether they want to retain the present 3-acre minimum for building lots or increase their size to 5 acres or reduce the size to 1.38 acres.

There are also proposed changes to the Shoreland Zoning Ordinance dealing with light commercial and residential uses in the town’s general development districts. The changes deal with reducing the setbacks from bodies of water to 25 feet and to ensure that the total footprint of structures and parking lots not exceed 70 percent of the lot within the shoreland zone.

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