Orrington to vote 4 times in 8 days

Posted June 04, 2010, at 11:24 p.m.

ORRINGTON, Maine — Local voters will be busy casting ballots over the next 10 days with three local and state elections, and the annual town meeting.

“Yes, that is a lot,” Town Manager Paul White said Friday. “It’s going to put a burden on my staff, that’s for sure.”

Residents will head to the polls Monday to vote on who will sit on local school and municipal boards and that evening will vote again at the annual town meeting.

The next day, they will return to the polls to vote in the state primary election.

A week after that, on June 15, residents will go to the polls yet again to vote on the school budget.

“It’s mandated by charter to have our annual elections on the first Monday of June,” White explained. “Consequently, state elections are June 8. The school budget is voted on during the town meeting, and that budget has to be ratified with 15 days of that meeting, which is mandated by the state” and is why the June 15 vote has to be held.

Polls for the June 7 local election will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the town hall. One selectman seat and two posts on the school board are up for grabs.

Incumbent Ralph Holmes, former board member James Goody and resident Carroll Adams are running for the single selectman seat.

School board incumbent Kyle Casburn, who serves as chairman, former member Shawn Detour and resident Sherri Norwood are running for the two open school board seats. Current member Richard Jordan is not running.

Thirty minutes after the polls close on June 7, the annual town meeting will be held.

Polls for the June 8 state election will be open 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the town hall.

The next Tuesday, June 15, residents will face two items — approving the school budget and deciding whether they want to continue the school budget validation process for another three years.

Polls will be open between 10 a.m.- and 4 p.m. at the town hall for the school budget validation vote.

Preliminary 2010-11 figures show a combined total budget for Orrington of approximately $9.04 million, which includes a town budget figure of $2,409,536, an increase of $116,508; $369,000 for Penobscot County taxes, an approximate $14,000 increase; and $6,134,264 for the school budget, which is a decrease of $26,687.

“For the second year in a row we have been able to reduce the overall gross budget,” Superintendent Allen Snell said recently. “The gross budget is less, and the request to the town is less.”

The combined municipal and school budgets “will be an increase of approximately $114,000, which is about an approximately 2.3 percent increase,” White said. That “is pretty conservative, I think.”

A big chunk of the increase is for road construction improvements and maintaining roadway reserve accounts, he said, adding that other reserve accounts set up for economic development and the town hall have been reduced.

The small increase in the budget, if approved by residents at the annual meeting, will result in a minor change in the property tax rate, White said.

“I am looking at a possible tax increase,” he said. “I have a pretty good idea it’s going to be half a mill to three-quarters of a mill. That’s what I’m thinking.”

The property tax rate will not be set until July, after all revenues have been received and recorded, he said.

If the tax rate increases by between 0.5 and 0.75 mill, a home with an assessed value of $100,000 would cost between $50 to $75 more in taxes, the town manager said.

In addition to the budget, residents at the annual town meeting also will review warrant articles that deal with changing the land use ordinance to require that final plans presented to the planning board include printed and digital boundary surveys done using GPS, and updating the sewer ordinance.

“There [are] no big issues here,” White said. “Basically, we’re running a flat budget.”

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