Yarmouth school budget, road bond face 2 votes

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YARMOUTH — Residents at the June 6 Town Meeting at Frank Harrison Middle School will be voting on a $23.9 million school budget, as well as whether to borrow $4 million for road repairs.

The fiscal year 2018 school budget and the road repair referendum must be approved at the annual meeting before they again go before residents June 13. Voting will take place from 7 a.m.-8 p.m. at the AMVETS Hall on North Road.

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, 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.

Road bond

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 the $4 million bond is approved by voters at the annual Town Meeting, interest-only payments would begin in fiscal year 2019. 

Improvements to Hillside Street will benefit walkers and cyclists, not just motorists, as plans call for a contiguous sidewalk. Concerns arose during an April 6 Town Council meeting that some drivers may find a smooth, new road irresistible and drive faster.

Steps will be taken to get people to slow down and pay attention, residents were assured. Psychological signals to drive slowly and slower will be utilized, from white lines on the sides of the road to striping down the road’s center to tree plantings, town officials said.

Hillside Street is not far from McCartney Street, home to Frank Harrison Middle and Yarmouth Elementary schools, and children and adults frequently walk and bike in that area.

If voters pass the bond requests, the town would not issue the bonds or commission the work until 2018.

Kate Gardner can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 125 or kgardner@theforecaster.net. Follow her on Twitter: @katevgardner.

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.