Town Meeting sends Yarmouth school budget to voter referendum

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YARMOUTH — Residents at Tuesday’s Town Meeting approved the proposed $23.9 million school budget almost unanimously.

The fiscal year 2018 budget was approved by secret ballot, 187-2. It now goes to a voter referendum on June 13

Residents on June 6 also approved 27 warrant articles related to the school budget, the $12 million municipal budget, and the almost $1.1 million county assessment. These items were voted on by a show of hands in the meeting at Harrison Middle School and no tally was conducted.

The $23.9 million school budget is an increase of 3.45 percent from the current budget of $23.1 million. During public meetings, many residents referred to it as a “maintenance budget,” especially compared to this year’s spending plan, which survived contentious debate a year ago.

The fiscal year 2017 budget, which was approved by a nearly 2-1 margin last June, had an increase of almost $1.1 million, or 4.97 percent. It led to unprecedented debate and residents posting “yes” and “no” signs throughout town. This year’s budget process has been much quieter. 

The school budget, if approved at referendum, will be part of the town’s total operating budget for fiscal 2018 of $37.1 million. The overall budget is an increase of 2.9 percent from the current budget of $36 million.

Residents on June 13 will also be voting on whether to borrow $4 million for road repairs. Hillside Street road work and improvements will need half, or $2 million, of the $4 million. The remainder is for roads throughout town. If approved, interest-only payments would begin in fiscal year 2019. 

Elected officials will also be chosen next week. Six candidates are running to replace three town councilors who are not seeking re-election.

Town Council Chairman Andrew Kittredge and Councilors Randall Bates and Tamson Bickford Hamrock have decided not to run again. Anthony Cowles, April Humphrey, Richard Plourde, Darren Setlow, Timothy Shannon and Peter Small are running for three-year terms.

School Board Vice Chairwoman Margaret Groban also isn’t seeking re-election in a race that has incumbent Philip Jones and Sarah Day running uncontested for two open seats.  

Incumbents Irving Felker Jr. and Susan Krauss also have no challengers in bids to keep their seats on the Yarmouth Water District Board of Trustees.

Voting will take place June 13 from 7 a.m.-8 p.m. at the AMVETS Hall on North Road.

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.