DOVER-FOXCROFT — Residents gave their approval to six articles during the annual town meeting on Saturday, April 27, at the Morton Avenue Municipal Building. The affirmed articles will now go to the June referendum ballot, which will be decided at the polls on Tuesday, June 11.
Those in attendance approved the articles concerning town expenses for the 2013-14 fiscal year. The gross spending plan totals approximately $3,935,460, an increase of slightly more than $28,700 or 0.75 percent from the current year. A sum of just under $1.9 million from various revenue sources, an increase of just over $32,8000 or 1.76 percent from 2012-13, is included in the spending plan to equal an amount of nearly $2,036,000 that would need to be raised through property taxes. The net budget figure is an increase of $4,210 or 0.20 percent.
After the first five articles passed without any questions from the audience, Town Manager Jack Clukey was asked about the $96,670 to be appropriated from the state for capital improvements and maintenance of town roads and bridges.
“The final number does depend on what we receive from the state,” Clukey said. “We have not been made aware of any state reductions to this,” he said, adding there are proposals to reduce other state revenues but nothing so far has been linked to the road program.
Resident Chris Maas took the opportunity to mention how the proposed $96,670, is not enough to cover the town’s needed road improvements. He said several hundred thousand more would be needed, and for everyone present to keep this in mind as work begins for the next fiscal year’s budget.
The final warrant item asked if amendments to the Land Use Regulations Ordinance would be adopted, and voters decided against the inclusion of this item on the June referendum ballot.
During the discussion before the vote, Clukey said, “This article specifically pertains to LED signs.” He said both the selectmen and planning board have held several meetings on the topic, considering if regulations limiting LED signs to just two zones in town are too restrictive.
“The planning board and Board of Selectmen feel we need to get a working group together to determine how we permit and allow LED signs,” Clukey said. “What this article does is create a category of LED signs where if it doesn’t change more than once a day it would be considered like any illuminated sign,” he added, as illuminated signs are permitted under more circumstances in the Land Use Ordinance.
The proposed article on the town meeting warrant would have established provisions to last through November, during which time the working group would develop more detailed LED sign guidelines to be voted on.
“In essence this allows an LED sign, if we vote on it, anywhere in town, and then there will be a working group and their proposal will be voted on in November,” Select member Gail D’Agostino said.
Select Vice Chair Cindy Freeman Cyr and George Barton of the planning board both said they felt any amendments adopted before the recommendations of a working group would be premature. Barton mentioned the possibility of LED signs erected in the ensuing months being grandfathered before the November election.