Yarmouth delays votes while Legislature fiddles

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YARMOUTH — With large variables pending in the state Legislature, the Town Council has tentatively agreed to delay town budget decisions for two weeks.

The final budget vote is now scheduled for May 16, moved from May 2, and the Town Meeting has been scheduled for June 18 instead of June 4. The election, budget ratification vote and $1.5 million bond referendum for the library will be moved to June 25.

Town Manager Nat Tupper said the council hopes that if the Legislature is able to reach agreements on financial and policy decisions, voters will benefit from knowing more clearly what the local impact will be.

But, he said, with so many variables, it’s still unclear whether the Legislature will reach a consensus before the rescheduled meetings and vote.

The council will likely affirm the tentative schedule at their regular meeting April 18.

Also at their next meeting, the council will consider a proposal to make emergency medical service billing more consistent with other towns and decide on a plan for property the town purchased with the Public Works expansion bond referendum.

Prices for emergency services will increase for life support services and mileage.

Tupper said the price changes are being proposed to become more consistent with other towns’ pricing.

Yarmouth emergency services make about 1,100 service calls per year, he said.

The purchase of the property known as the Knaub house, which came as part of the Public Works garage expansion bond, will be final within the next few weeks, Tupper said.

The property was included into the bond proposal because the town needed a section of the property to expand the public works garage parking lot.

Initially, the town will rent the property to the current owner. But eventually the council will have to decide what it wants to do with the property, which is still undecided, Tupper said.

The town could move engineering or community services into the house, or potentially use it as public meeting space, he said, although they don’t want to intrude on the neighborhood.

The proposed plan is to lease the house as a residence for a few years and eventually sell it, Tupper said.

Will Graff can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 123 or wgraff@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @W_C_Graff.