May 21, 2018
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Houlton to decide road funding bond

By Jen Lynds, BDN Staff

HOULTON, Maine — Voters in Houlton have a little more than two weeks to decide whether to approve a $1 million bond that would be used to fix local roads and sidewalks.

Town Clerk Cathy O’ Leary confirmed Thursday the special election to decide the matter would be held on March 24 at the town’s Recreation Center.

The town has tried for years to stay ahead of road and sidewalk repairs, but the increasing costs of asphalt and other materials have thwarted their efforts.

A few months ago, the town decided to ask voters to approve a $1 million bond to be used specifically for road repairs. It is expected to be paid off over 20 years.

Town Manager Douglas Hazlett has said the town would put the project out to bid, and local contractors would benefit if they were hired to do the work.

Normally, the council sets aside the equivalent of 1 mill of its annual budget for road repair and reconstruction. This year, the town did not put any money into its roads account because officials hope to secure the bond. If the bond proposal fails, the town will have to decide what to do next.

The council and the Board of Budget Review support the passage of the bond.

Some residents, however, have spoken out against the move, saying they believed the town should continue its past practice of setting aside 1 mill of the budget for road repairs. Others have expressed fear that in today’s economy, $1 million would not fix a lot of roads and sidewalks.

O’ Leary said the polls would be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. for the special election.

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