Tremont voters approve fire truck, land purchases

Posted May 11, 2011, at 9:22 p.m.

TREMONT, Maine — Local voters this week elected two new selectmen and approved municipal and grammar school budgets that total $3.86 million, according to a town official.

Tremont Town Manager Millard Billings said voting Monday in the five-way race for two selectmen seats was relatively close. Jim LaPrade received 85 votes and Hugh Gilley Sr. 83 votes, winning the two available positions on the board. Peter Gott received 79 votes, Rose Edna Urquhart 71 votes and Chris Lewis 69 votes. LaPrade and Gilley will take the seats held by Charlie Dillon and Kathi Thurston, who each decided not to seek re-election.

In the local school board race, incumbent Amy Murphy received the most votes with 152, while newcomer Jennifer Gott received 98 votes. Krista Graham, another incumbent, fell short in her re-election bid with only 88 votes. The three candidates were competing for two available seats.

On Tuesday night voters approved a grammar school budget of $2,134,814, which is $46,755 more than the current budget, Billings said. Tremont’s share of the high school budget, which was approved at a separate meeting for all Mount Desert Island residents last month, is $884,800, which is $13,890 more than its share for the current school year.

Voters also approved a separate municipal budget of $1,725,374, which is about $8,000 higher than the current budget, according to Billings. Of that amount, $835,674 is expected to be covered by surplus funds and revenues, which will leave roughly $890,000 to be paid through property taxes.

Voters authorized the town to borrow $500,000 to purchase two new firetrucks and $275,000 to buy a 50 percent share of the Hinton Estate in the local village of Bernard, Billings said. The town already owns half the property, which has an assessed value of $1.375 million. Selectmen view the purchase of the property as an investment, he said.

Billings said that, with the approved budgets, local property taxes are not expected to increase much, if at all. The current tax rate is $7.80 per $1,000 of a property’s value, which is 10 cents higher than the town’s tax rate from the year before, he said.

“We think it will either stay the same or be $7.90,” the town manager said last week.

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