April 23, 2018
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Orrington voters to fill selectman and school board posts, decide budget

By Dawn Gagnon, BDN Staff

ORRINGTON, Maine — Residents will fill selectmen and school board positions and consider a budget for town and school operations in the coming year during local elections and the annual town meeting.

In local elections, 7 a.m.-6:30 p.m. June 2 at the Town Hall, voters will fill the expiring selectmen seats held by Howard Grover and Terrence Bladen, neither of whom are seeking re-election. Candidates for the position are Allan Snell, Keith Bowden and Mark Buongirno, according to Town Clerk Susan Carson.

Voters also will fill a one-year selectman seat that opened up when Christine Lavoie resigned last month because she moved out of state. Christopher Swanson, Charles Green and Kenneth Gilbert are seeking that seat, Carson said.

She also said that school committee seats held by Jennifer Long and Glendon Rand II are expiring, and both incumbents are unopposed in their re-election bids.

During the annual town meeting, 7:30 p.m. June 2 at Center Drive School, residents will consider a proposed $9,771,535 combined town and school budget for the coming fiscal year, which begins July 1.

The proposed budget, which has been posted on the town’s website, includes funding for town and school operations, as well as the county tax.

The proposed overall budget reflects an increase of about 4.8 percent, largely because of increased costs for education, the county tax and municipal operations.

Town Manager Paul White said town expenses would go up about 3 percent, largely because of the need to replenish salt and sand supplies in the aftermath of the recent extreme winter and because the town is funding reserve accounts for capital projects and other big ticket items as directed by voters at last year’s town meeting.

At that time, voters modified a 2008 tax increment financing district for Bangor Hydro Electric Co., which became Emera Maine, and created a new Central Maine Power Co. tax increment financing district.

The proposed $6.4 million education budget is up about 2.4 percent from this year’s budget, according to municipal budget documents.

Largely because of the combination of the increase in the gross education budget, a 5.7 percent decrease in state subsidy and a 1.4 percent drop in Orrington’s state valuation, the local share is projected to increase from $2,985,480 to $3,140,220, or slightly more than 5 percent, according to school budget comparisons.

Also up is the county tax, which at $418,054 is 2.7 percent higher than this year’s $407,058, budget documents show.

“We have a stable budget, but it’s a very tight budget,” White said Wednesday.

Because town and school officials have been “very diligent” in controlling costs, the town has been able keep its property tax rate at $13.45 per $1,000 in property valuation for the last three years.

But with several years worth of increased costs and reduced state aid, however, White said he expects that taxpayers will see a small property tax rate increase next year.

The town meeting warrant also includes an article that aims to tweak the town’s land use ordinance through language clarifications and additions. White said the proposed amendments are the product of the town’s review of ordinance provisions.

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