Topsham Town Meeting to tackle $8.5M budget

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TOPSHAM — Town Meeting will be asked to approve next year’s proposed $8.5 million municipal budget by line item on Wednesday, May 14.

With assessments to School Administrative District 75 and Sagadahoc County factored in, and with revenues and reimbursements subtracted, Topsham’s total tax commitment could rise about $782,000, to $16.15 million.

That would result in a tax-rate increase of 4.1 percent, to $17.33 per $1,000 of property valuation.

Of the tax commitment, 53 percent would go toward school expenses, 38 percent to the town and 9 percent to the county, according to information the town provided.

Along with voting on several budget articles, residents will also consider three items that authorize the town to apply for Community Development Block Grants on behalf of three businesses.

The Maine Harvest Co. seeks $240,000 in funding, while Wicked Joe Coffee Roasting Co. would like $270,000 and Frosty’s Donuts wants $210,000.

Wicked Joe is in the process of fitting out its section of the former U.S. Navy Annex Commissary, while the other two businesses are eyeing the remainder. There is capacity at the site for construction of a new building, so all three businesses would have room, according to Town Manager Rich Roedner.

“The state is actually giving us the money; we then give it to the company, and the company is obligated to create a certain number of jobs based on how much money they’re receiving,” Roedner said last month.

If the businesses fail to reach those goals, the town must repay the money, he explained. The town’s agreement with each of the businesses, made before accepting the grant money, would assure the money is repaid if the businesses fail to comply with the terms, the manager said.

Voters will also make decisions on an ordinance regulating mobile food services, and on the master plan for the Route 196 corridor.

That plan, an amendment to Topsham’s Comprehensive Plan, is the result of a study that included land uses, infrastructure, visual impacts of current and anticipated growth, and transportation.

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.