EDDINGTON, Maine — The words “stimulus funding” were not used at the town’s annual meeting on Tuesday, but worried residents debated an article that allows town leaders to accept grant funding, Town Manager Russell Smith said Wednesday.
Article 11, which has been on the town warrant for the last three years, authorizes selectmen to “apply for and accept state and federal grants and grants from non-profit organizations” for the town and to sign contracts for grants and “accept the conditions that accompany the grant funds.”
“They amended the article to read ‘with the understanding that no grants may be accepted or applied for which will obligate the residents to long-term commitments unless approved by the town at a special town meeting,’” Smith said.
To spur the economy, President Obama signed a $787 billion economic stimulus on Feb. 17. Residents are concerned that someone would be hired with the federal funding, and local taxpayers eventually would have to carry the burden, Smith said.
The proposed amendment changed so many times during the annual meeting that Smith said he didn’t realize, until reading it on Wednesday, that the final version states that the town cannot even apply for grant funds with long-term agreements without residents’ approval.
During Tuesday’s meeting, residents approved the $932,735 municipal budget for 2008-09, an increase of $19,078.
The budget includes $23,400 for general government, $286,226 for administrative salaries and expenses, $199,400 for highways, $239,997 for protection, $127,630 for human services, and $5,000 for unanticipated or emergency expenses. Residents also approved moving $425,000 in revenue-sharing and homestead reimburse-ment funds to reduce the tax commitment.
The budget does not include the Penobscot County tax or the SAD 63 budget amount, which will be established later this year and will be part of the final budget determined in June.
Incumbent Selectman Charles “Chip” Grover Jr. and school board member Therese Anderson each earned another three-year term during local elections held on Monday.