Durham Town Meeting approves $2.1M road bond

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DURHAM — Town Meeting approved borrowing $2.1 million for road improvements and made substantial changes to the Comprehensive Plan April 6 at Durham Community School.

The 10-year road bond was overwhelmingly supported, despite a projected property tax increase of $70 per $100,000 in real estate valuation during the first year of the bond. 

The bond will help improve roads like Meadow Road and Plummer Mill Road that are “almost unplowable,” according to Selectman Kevin Nadeau.

“Unfortunately, over the last 20 years or so Durham as a town didn’t focus enough on road work and improvements so we have a pretty big backlog of work,” Nadeau said in an earlier statement.

Despite changes to some warrant articles that added approximately $52,500 to the budget than proposed, the town’s spending plan is still projected to increase by about $500,000 in 2020, up from $3 million.

Acquisition of a $220,000 plow truck was approved, as was a $251,000 payment toward a $2 million road bond that was approved by Town Meeting in 2018.

Residents overwhelmingly approved a state-mandated Comprehensive Plan, which had been in development since 2016 and sets goals for the town over the next 10 to 20 years.

The plan includes preserving and protecting farms, aquifers and wetlands. The town’s Growth District will be eliminated, and the entire town will be categorized as rural. Maine’s Growth Management Act still requires the plan to be approved by the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry.

Elections

In uncontested elections on April 5, voters re-elected incumbent Rob Pantau and Budget Committee member Marc Farrin to the Board of Selectmen. Michelle Ritcheson was elected to a third term to serve on the Regional School Unit 5 Board of Directors and Jill Gastonguay was re-elected to the Budget Committee. 

Richard Emmonds and Paul First were written in as candidates for the Budget Committee, according to the town’s website, but Town Clerk Shannon Plourde would not confirm their election as of Tuesday.

Patti McDonald can be reached at 780-9123 or pmcdonald@theforecaster.net. Follow her on Twitter: @pmcdonaldme.

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