Freeport, Pownal, Durham to vote in January on borrowing $1.5M for high school track, field

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FREEPORT — Voters in January will be asked to approve borrowing more than $1.5 million to fund a turf field and track at Freeport High School.

The Regional School Unit 5 Board of Directors on Oct. 26 scheduled a Jan. 10, 2017, special election, when residents of Freeport, Pownal and Durham will vote.

The proposal to build an artificial turf field and eight-lane running track at the high school comes from the Tri-Town Track and Field Committee. The total cost of the project is more than $4 million; the committee has raised almost $2.3 million.

The borrowing proposal includes two separate bonds.

The first bond would be a maximum of just over $1.18 million for the proposed turf field and track. The second bond – which would cover the cost of installing lights at the field and is contingent on the first bond being approved – is for an estimated cost of almost $354,000, which brings the total to nearly $1.54 million.

Included in the first bond referendum is the re-purposing of bonds voters approved in November 2013 for the renovation of the high school. This includes $600,000 that was budgeted to repair the soccer field and just over $161,000 for project contingencies.

Also, the school renovation project has come in $1 million under the $14.6 million budget approved by voters, and the RSU 5 board hopes to re-purpose the surplus money for the track and field.

If the bonds are approved, the median residential property tax bill in each RSU town would increase by a few thousand dollars over the 10-year bond period.

In Freeport, if only the bond for the track and field, and not the combined bond, is approved, $12.36 would be added to the median annual tax bill each year. If both bonds, including the one for lighting, are approved, $16.05 would be added to the median tax bill each year.

In Pownal, $14.04 would be added if the first bond is approved, and $18.23 would be added if both bonds are approved.

In Durham, $11.29 would be added for the first bond, and $14.67 would be added for both.

Kate Gardner can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 125 or kgardner@theforecaster.net. Follow her on Twitter: @katevgardner.

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I'm a reporter for The Forecaster covering Freeport, Yarmouth, Chebeague Island, and Cape Elizabeth. I'm from a small town in NH no one's ever heard of. When not reporting, I can be found eating pasta and reading books, often at the same time.
  • MaineMod

    The fact that these sports fields are coming before voters AGAIN makes my blood boil.
    How many times have we voted NO on this? Too many to count. The pushers of this gold-plated project pledged to raise the funds privately, which made me think they got the message. Now they have broken that promise and come back to beg for money yet again.

    Additionally, there is NOTHING readily visible on the Town of Freeport’s web site that references the vote, when it is, where it is, or whether there is any informational meeting or public hearing on the topic. Now that I know it is January 10, I will put that on my personal calendar to make sure that I cast my NO vote.

    Freeport is fast becoming a town in which only the wealthy can afford to live. Elderly people — those who faithfully paid taxes year after year — are getting forced out.