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.