Central Maine Power’s $15 million investment good for Orrington budget

Posted May 15, 2013, at 3:51 p.m.
An aerial lift helicopter installs a tower section that will hold power lines on the Bucksport-Orrington line.
Courtesy of Central Maine Power
An aerial lift helicopter installs a tower section that will hold power lines on the Bucksport-Orrington line.

ORRINGTON, Maine — Central Maine Power Co.’s $1.55 billion upgrade to double its electric grid’s capacity has meant a multi-million dollar investment in town that is helping offset projected state revenue cuts, Town Manager Paul White said.

“The budget for the town of Orrington — the combined school and municipal budget — shows a 0.46 percent increase,” he said Tuesday. “The reason for that is we have an additional value for the town of Orrington — the $15 million CMP project. That has helped us. That is our saving grace.”

The town is getting $201,750 in property tax revenue for fiscal year 2013-14 for the CMP Maine Power Reliability Program project that improves and adds capacity to its 485-mile transmission lines between Orrington and Eliot, where it connects to Newington, N.H.

Gov. Paul LePage’s proposed $6.3 billion biennial budget includes a two-year suspension of the state’s municipal revenue sharing program that offsets municipal property taxes and other budget changes designed to shift tax burdens from the state to local communities, town leaders have said.

The impact to Orrington is around $320,000, White said, adding “there is a lot of unknowns” about what will happen in Augusta and what the final revenue impacts will be for Orrington and the rest of the state.

The preliminary $6.27 million school budget is about $29,400 less than this year, but the local appropriation is increasing by $98,370 or 3.41 percent because the state is spending $100,994 less and there is a need for a new third-grade teacher, according to draft four of the school budget presented by Superintendent Allen Snell at the May 7 school budget public hearing.

Residents will finalize the budget at the June 3 annual town meeting, which also includes a handful of minor changes to the town’s land use ordinance. Local elections for who will sit on local school and municipal boards are being held from 7 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. and the annual town meeting begins at 7 p.m. at Center Drive School.

Two school board seats and one selectman will be selected from a group of seven candidates. Incumbent Sherry Norwood is running for her seat and Erica Libby is running for the seat now occupied by Calvin Bubar. Selectman incumbent James Goody is running for his seat against Bernard McDonald, Steven Mitchell, Luther Spencer Jr. and William Wheeler.

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