Topsham Town Meeting to weigh $9M budget

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TOPSHAM — Town Meeting on May 20 will vote on a proposed $9 million municipal budget, up 5.7 percent from this year.

Topsham’s current tax rate is $17.33 per $1,000 of property valuation. The town budget would add 63 cents, while a Sagadahoc County tax would add another 7 cents, and a School Administrative District 75 tax would add 82 cents, for a total increase of $1.46.

That hike would mean a $438 annual property tax hike for a home valued at $300,000.

Those numbers are based on unapproved expenditures, and assumed valuation increases and levels of outside funding, Town Manager Rich Roedner has said.

Non-warrant articles include adoption of ordinances, including one that would adjust the boundary of the town’s Industrial Zone to give it road frontage. Another would form the Residential 2 Business zone in the area across from Center Park Road on Route 196.

Voters will also decide whether to amend one of Topsham’s municipal tax increment financing districts.

The town 11 years ago adopted the first one in and around the area of Topsham Fair Mall. The amendment would partly extend the life of that TIF, and allow funds from it to pay for improvements to Topsham Fair Mall Road.

The amendment would also add a “portage” provision to the TIF language, giving  the town the ability, if needed, to use funds from the TIF district on expenses in Topsham’s downtown TIF district, Roedner has said.

Also on the warrant is an agreement to create a bicycle-pedestrian trail through Topsham, Richmond, Bowdoinham and Gardiner.

The proposed 32-mile Merrymeeting Trail would connect Gardiner’s Kennebec River Trail to Topsham’s bike path, which ultimately will join with the Androscoggin River Pedestrian Bike Path spanning Topsham to Brunswick and Bath, according to The united links will form the Capital to the Coast trail system.

This system would also include an extension to Bath, dubbed the Androscoggin to Kennebec Trail, according to the website.

The inter-local agreement is a voluntary association of the four towns, with two members from each town. It would not have jurisdiction over the town, Roedner has said.

Town Meeting will be held at 7 p.m. at the Mt. Ararat High School Commons.

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.