North Yarmouth Town Meeting to vote on $2.4M budget

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NORTH YARMOUTH — A $2.4 million municipal budget for fiscal 2015, down slightly from this year’s spending plan, goes to a Town Meeting vote on Saturday, April 12.

Also under consideration are two ordinance changes to address repeated code enforcement violations.

Due to the destruction by fire last August of Wescustogo Hall, the traditional Town Meeting location, this year’s 9 a.m. gathering will be held in the North Yarmouth Memorial School gym.

The proposed budget – which does not account for Cumberland County and School Administrative District 51 assessments – is down 0.1 percent from the current year.

The funding  from taxes would drop 5.5 percent, from about $926,000 this year to nearly $876,000 next year.

The board’s suggestions include the use of a high-performance chip-sealing material to pave Sligo Road, as opposed to traditional asphalt overlay, which would decrease the public works line item from nearly $711,000 to nearly $661,000.

The less expensive form of chip sealing, used last year on Town Farm Road and part of Milliken Road, uses coarse rock instead of asphalt, and is noisier to drive on and not as smooth, but costs significantly less than normal pavement.

Included in the approximately $229,000 economic development line is $100,000 for planning and consulting regarding future use of the North Yarmouth Memorial School, which is due to close after the school year ends in June, and then be “mothballed” until a new use is found.

Mothballing, which costs about $20,000 and could be funded from the public facilities line, includes draining the 38-year-old building’s pipes, getting rid of the sprinkler system, and boarding up the windows, Interim Town Manager Marnie Diffin has said.

One potential line item increase, from nearly $189,000 to about $201,000 for administration, would fund an increase in combined hours from 55 to 70 for two front-counter employees at the Town Office.

Another possible increase, from nearly $8,900 to about $24,000 in public safety, largely concerns the animal control officer post. While the town had been funding the position through Cumberland on a per-call basis, North Yarmouth is now working with Cumberland, Falmouth and Yarmouth to fund two officers, and the higher amount reflects “more of a true cost of operating the service,” Diffin said.

The ordinance changes establish a course of action in cases of continuing code violations on a property. They allow the code enforcement officer to file a notification of those offenses in the Cumberland County Registry of Deeds, and authorizes that person to not issue another permit to the violator, unless it is one that would correct the violation.

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

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.