Chebeague Town Meeting OKs $2.9M budget for fiscal 2013

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CHEBEAGUE ISLAND — Residents approved a $2.88 million combined town and school budget Saturday at Town Meeting.

The meeting, held at the Chebeague Island Hall, drew 79 registered voters.

The $1.96 million municipal budget, down about $5,000 for fiscal 2013 as originally proposed, was amended once: an addition of $800 to the animal control officer budget, from $3,200 to $4,000. Officer Pam Pulsifer has received a $2,000 stipend for the position, but a majority of voters appreciated her work enough to give her an $800 raise, Town Administrator Eric Dyer said on Monday.

Other expenses in that budget line include animal sheltering and Pulsifer’s training.

Chebeague’s tax rate of $19.95 per $1,000 of property valuation could increase by 1.5 percent, depending on how much the town assessor budgets for overlay – buffer funds in case of unanticipated expenses, Dyer explained. The rate was $19.80 in fiscal 2011; in 2008, the town’s first fiscal year after its secession from Cumberland,  the rate was $20.49.

The fiscal 2012 school budget of nearly $886,000 has climbed a total of 3.6 percent, to nearly $919,000. But more money is being carried forward from the undesignated fund balance than was used in fiscal 2012 – nearly $118,000 instead of $74,500 – to offset that increase.

Nearly $139,000 is coming from the state – about $8,400 less than the town received for fiscal 2012 – bringing the net school budget for fiscal 2013 to about $662,000, a 0.4 percent decrease.

Superintendent Alton Hadley has said the gross budget increase reflects the added tuition costs of sending more students to Yarmouth schools.

Last year, Chebeague authorized the gradual transition of its elementary school students to Yarmouth , instead of sending them to School Administrative District 51 (Cumberland-North Yarmouth).

Alex Lear can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 113 or alear@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @learics.

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Uncontested elections

CHEBEAGUE ISLAND — Three candidates were uncontested in Tuesday’s election for three open seats on the Board of Selectmen.

Former Selectman Donna Damon, who sought a three-year seat currently held by Chris Rich, received 98 votes. Incumbent David Hill earned 88 votes for another three-year term.

Mark Dyer, who resigned from the Board of Selectmen last October, received 106 votes to complete the final year of John Martin’s unexpired term.

Jennifer Belesca and Kenneth Pelton were unopposed for re-election to the School Committee. They received 117 and 121 votes, respectively.

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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.