Infrastructure Phase I funding on ballot in Castine

Posted March 23, 2010, at 12:21 a.m.

CASTINE, Maine — Voters at the annual town meeting Saturday will decide whether to borrow up to $2.5 million to fund the first phase of a roadway and infrastructure improvement plan.

The meeting will begin at 8:30 a.m. March 27 at Emerson Hall.

In September, the town’s selectmen reviewed a report prepared by Olver Associates on the conditions of the town’s infrastructure and recommendation for improving the roads, drainage, water and sewer lines in the village area, according to Karen Motycka, the town’s finance officer, tax collector and treasurer.

“The report included $14 million of work that needed to be done,” Motycka said Monday. “The selectmen knew we couldn’t [afford] $14 million in one year, so they developed a five-phase plan where every five years we would do $2.5 [million] to $3 million of work.”

The plan, she said, ranked projects based on the age and condition of the lines, the roads and the drainage. The first phase of the long-term project will include work on sections of Perkins Street, Wadsworth Cove Road and Battle Avenue and will extend the outflow pipe from the wastewater treatment plant off Mayo Point.

Plans for this phase of the improvements already have been developed and the town has requested bids. Those bids are due Thursday.

Voters also will be asked to authorize the expenditure of $1 million for additions and renovations at the Witherle Memorial Library. Although that expenditure for the municipal library is included in the total municipal budget, the funds will come from a library endowment that includes a recent gift from the Deborah Pulliam estate.

With the library request included, the total municipal budget is $2,828,095 compared to last year’s budget of $1,724,582. Realizing the need to borrow for the roadway and infrastructure improvement, Motycka said, the selectmen tried to keep the rest of the budget lines at or below last year’s levels.

The proposed school budget totals $1,237,932, an increase of $12,808 from the current school budget.

Castine voters also will decide whether to trim the Board of Selectmen from five members to three. If approved, the article would revoke the decision to expand the board to five members which was approved in November.

Voters also will consider changing the town’s fiscal year from a February-January year to a July-June fiscal year, which would coincide with the state and school department fiscal years. If approved, the change would go into effect next year.

Also on the warrant are the sale of two lots of town-owned land and leases on town property for The Breeze takeout stand and for a cellular tower at the town’s transfer station, which is the designated area for communication towers in town.

Voters will consider several amendments to town ordinances including a change to the setbacks for communications towers. The proposed change would increase the front-yard setback on such towers to 1,000 feet while the rear and side-yard setbacks would remain 30 feet plus the height of the tower.

The proposed amendment also would increase the maximum height of communications towers for 100 to 300 feet.

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