Lincoln leaders mulling nonbinding ballot questions

Posted Nov. 14, 2012, at 8:18 p.m.

LINCOLN, Maine — Voters want the town and school administrations housed together, possibly at Ballard Hill Community Center, but that might not happen, Town Council Chairman Steve Clay said Wednesday.

Nonbinding ballot questions posed on Election Day had voters saying no to the town buying land for a new town office, 1,602 to 361; favoring the renovating of the Pleasant Street center, 1,069 to 917; and approving the council and RSU 67 board of directors devising a plan to house town and school administrative workers together, 1,342 to 659 votes.

The votes are not mandates, Clay said.

“I think there is always room to explore options,” Clay said Wednesday. “We haven’t really discussed it in depth yet to find different options. When each option is presented, we would have to look at the cost of each one to see which is the most cost-effective way to go.”

The town has to find a new home for its workers in slightly more than two years. Councilors agreed in February to tell the local Masonic fraternity and lodge that they plan to move the town office from the first floor of that group’s building at 263 Main St. in three years.

“We have to start thinking about something soon since we did give the landlord notice we will move out,” Clay said. “I think people definitely feel that if the town and school would share a building, it would cut down on cost as far as operating two different buildings go.”

RSU 67 Superintendent Denise Hamlin was not immediately available for comment on Wednesday, workers at her office said.

Clay fears that renovating Ballard Hill, a town building underused due to its somewhat poor condition, would be cost-prohibitive. Town leaders assessed renovating the building years ago for its intended uses and found that option very costly, Clay said.

The council will meet at 6 p.m. Monday to swear in new members and elect officers, Clay said.

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