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Warrant signed for April 29 D-F town meeting

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DOVER-FOXCROFT — The selectmen signed a 10-article warrant for the annual town meeting on Saturday, April 29 at 9 a.m. in the gym at the Morton Avenue Municipal Building complex, during an April 10 meeting.

The proposed 2017-18 municipal budget totals $5,074,820, a near $490,000 increase (10.68 percent) from the current fiscal year. After nearly $2,357,000 in revenues — which total a little more than $408,400 or 20.96 percent more from the year before due to higher excise tax collection and use of fund balance — have been applied a figure of $2,717,970 would need to be raised through property taxes.

The net budget total is up by approximately $81,300 from 2016-17, a difference of 3.08 percent. The proposed 2017-18 finances would lead to an approximate $0.25 increase in the mill rate, from the current rate of $20.25 for every $1,000 in assessed property.

In addition to the financial articles, on April 29 residents will vote on revisions to the town charter recommended by the charter commission as well as a pair of articles on the prohibition of retail marijuana establishments and retail marijuana social clubs. The first article asks if an ordinance prohibiting these operations should be enacted, and should this item fail then voters will be asked to adopt a moratorium ordinance on retail marijuana establishments and retail marijuana social clubs.

Items approved at town meeting will be moved to the referendum ballot on Tuesday, June 13. This election is scheduled to include a question on the RSU 68 school budget, which will also go to voters in the fellow district towns of Charleston, Monson and Sebec.

In other business, the selectmen met with Maine Whoopie Pie Festival Coordinator Patrick Myers to discuss a draft of the traffic plan for the eighth annual event scheduled for Saturday, June 24.

Myers said new in 2017 will be the hiring of nine people to man the various intersections featuring road closures, which will include signage directing non-local traffic away from these streets to the detour route along portions of South, East Main and Summer streets, Fairview Avenue and Essex Street. Myers said like last year, one lane open to traffic on Pleasant Street will allow these residents to come and go via Harvey Street.

Maine Whoopie Pie Festival attendees will be strongly encouraged to park at the fairgrounds. “Rowell’s (Garage) is going to let us use two yellow school buses for the day, just to hopefully increase the capacity and hopefully keep the lines down,” Myers said. He said Rowell’s Garage is donating use of the buses, as in the past smaller transportation vehicles were used for shuttling to and from the fairgrounds.

The idea of having a raffle at the fairgrounds was mentioned to encourage use of the buses on June 24.

“Most of us involved with the festival feel like it needs to stay downtown, not just for the character of the festival but to show off our downtown,” Myers said, with the event taking place on East Main and Pleasant streets instead of moving elsewhere such as the fairgrounds.

“Last week we got notice from (Lt.) Scott Arno that he is retiring from the Dover-Foxcroft Police Department at the end of this week,” Town Manager Jack Clukey said. He said Arno will be stepping down after 33 years with the department, and he will be working for the Piscataquis County District Attorney’s Office as a domestic violence investigator after holding a similar position on a part-time basis for the last decade.

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