Budget, hunting decision top North Yarmouth Town Meeting warrant

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NORTH YARMOUTH — Residents will vote line-by-line on the fiscal 2011 municipal budget at Town Meeting on Saturday, June 12.

They will also decide whether to overturn a decision by the Board of Selectmen and open town land to hunting.

Selectmen are recommending a $2.1 million budget, which would be funded through $1.3 million in municipal income and about $842,000 in municipal appropriations, which comes largely from taxpayers.

The budget is approximately 8 percent smaller than this year’s $2.3 million, which included about $957,000 in local taxes. The local appropriation for next year would be down 12 percent.

These numbers do not take into account school and county assessments.

Residents will also be asked to decide whether all publicly purchased town land should “be open for all recreation including hunting … as meets the regulations of the state of Maine,” according to language in a petition filed last year. The petition was sparked by a debate over hunting in Old Town House Park.

The Board of Selectmen voted unanimously in September 2008 to allow hunting in the park, to the degree allowed by deeds and easements. But there is a deed restriction on the Nanovic parcel of the property in the western portion of the park. A portion on the eastern end has a conservation easement dictating that the town can decide whether to permit hunting, and the deed for the piece in the middle does not mention hunting.

Administrative Assistant Marnie Diffin noted in January that the Recreation Commission, which is responsible for the town’s recreation areas, did not want hunting in the park for safety reasons.

Last September the Board of Selectmen echoed the commission’s opposition, voting 4-1 to ban hunting in the entire park. Selectman Anne Graham, who had made the motion to prohibit hunting in the park, said in January that while hunting is allowed on 70 percent of public land, “the hunters want all the lands allowed for hunting. And some of us have a difficult time with that.”

That vote prompted resident and hunter Paul Hodgetts to start the petition to place the question overturning the decision on the Town Meeting warrant.

Town Meeting will be held at Wescustogo Hall at 9 a.m. on June 12. The hall will be open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday, June 8, for local and primary elections.

In the only contested election, Martha Leggat of Mountfort Road is challenging Lufkin Road resident Virginia Dwyer for a seat on the School Administrative 51 Board of Directors, which Dwyer has held for one, three-year term.

Two seats are available on the North Yarmouth Board of Selectmen. Robert Wood of Milliken Road is running for another term, while Anne Graham – the only Democratic candidate in Maine House District 109 – has opted not to run again. Steven Palmer of Mountfort Road is running for her seat.

Richard Baston of Walnut Hill Road is running unopposed for his place on the Cemetery Commission, and incumbent Clark Whittier of Walnut Hill Road is the only candidate on the ballot for three seats on the Budget Committee.

The other two budget panel positions will require write-in votes.

Alex Lear can be reached at 373-9060 ext. 113 or [email protected].

A Maine native and Colby College graduate, Alex has been covering coastal communities since 2001, and currently handles Bath, Topsham, Cumberland, and North Yarmouth. He and his wife, Lauren, live in the Portland area, and Alex recently released his third album of original music.