Closed Palmyra school in town’s hands

Posted Nov. 30, 2010, at 11:31 p.m.

PALMYRA, Maine — Voters here will make major decisions about the future of the former Palmyra Consolidated School if selectmen vote today to hold a special town meeting on the issue.

Selectmen will convene at 5:30 p.m. at the town office to review and vote on a three-question town meeting warrant, including the election of a moderator.

Question 2 would allow selectmen to create a reserve account for maintenance and repair of the former school, which is now called the Palmyra Community Center. The reserve account would allow the town to accumulate proceeds from rent receipts, fundraising, gifts and other revenue streams for the sole purpose of maintaining the community center. It would also allow the money in the account to be carried forward year to year instead of having it dump into the general fund, which is what happens with the majority of unspent funds at the end of each fiscal year, according to Town Clerk Val Sprague.

Question 3 would ask residents if the town office should move to the community center “on the earliest possible weekend and in a manner that does not disrupt municipal functions.”

According to Sprague, moving the town office to the community center was envisioned by the circulators of a petition. Members of that group could not be reached Tuesday for comment.

The town office building, which is located on U.S. Route 2, would possibly be leased to a business seeking office space, said Sprague. The adjacent Palmyra Town Hall would be maintained by the town because it is a historic building, according to Sprague, though most functions that it has hosted — including being the town’s polling place — would be moved to the community center.

Palmyra voters, at a series of town meetings earlier this year, voted to close the school — as recommended by the RSU 19 board — and later accepted ownership of it. Residents appropriated $15,000 to maintain the building and keep the heat and lights on through the end of the year, said Sprague.

The special town meeting is tentatively scheduled for Dec. 18, though Sprague said that’s not final until selectmen vote.

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