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Budget tops Dover-Foxcroft referendum set for June 13

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DOVER-FOXCROFT — On Tuesday, June 13 residents will head to the polls to vote on a 10-article warrant — which was approved at the annual town meeting in late April — as well as make decisions on several municipal officer positions.

During a public hearing as part of the May 22 select meeting Town Manager Jack Clukey said absentee ballots for the municipal election are currently available and the ballot and other information is posted at www.dover-foxcroft.org.

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 come to 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.

Clukey was asked about a proposed $300,000 increase in the public works account.

“That’s really the biggest change in the whole budget,” he said. “Our newest plow truck is a 2007, and we are looking at replacing one plow truck.”

“That $300,000 is money we already have, so we don’t have to raise it from taxes,” Clukey said. He explained the $300,000 in reserve will be used to purchase a plow truck — a make and model will be determined by town officials post-referendum — as well as replacement sander bodies for two other vehicles.

In addition to the fiscal articles, 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.

Citizens will be electing three select members at three-year terms apiece. Listed on the ballot is Select Chair Elwood Edgerly and incumbents Stephen Grammont and Ernie W. Thomas. There is a three-year seat on the RSU 68 school board and the name of current board member Timothy Smith appears on the ballot. Two candidates, John Cushing and Christopher Maas, are listed for one three-year term on the HAD 4 board of directors.

In other business, the selectmen approved a 180-day extension for a corridor moratorium ordinance, starting May 31 and running through Nov. 26.

Three years ago residents approved an ordinance concerning private distribution corridors, including paved highways, pipelines and high-tension transmission lines. The moratorium enacted in 2014 — meaning permits for these types of development projects cannot be granted during the timeline — was in effect for 180 days. The moratorium has since been renewed five times with the current extension in place through the end of May.

Extensions can be put in place as long as reasonable progress is being made to address the needs identified in the moratorium, such as the town continuing to work on the land use ordinance.

The board approved a motion to reconfigure Union Square to its former layout after the space at the intersection of East Main and Pleasant streets was converted to a green space last year through the work of the Dover-Foxcroft Downtowners.

“They also agreed it wasn’t working,” Select Vice Chair Cindy Freeman Cyr said about the Dover-Foxcroft Downtowners after the park was in place for last summer. “I would hope people would be open to their initiatives and join them,” she said, as the group’s aim is to improve the downtown and make the area a center for people to gather.

Clukey said the lines would be painted soon after the meeting, before Memorial Day, to open up the turn for Pleasant Street to traffic again and to put back all the parking spaces.

“This is one of the years we are having a Homecoming parade,” Clukey said in his report about the event set for mid-morning on Saturday, Aug. 5. “We have not had one in three years. What the committee said is we will have one every five years.”

“It’s the 95th anniversary theme, or if you are a business and it’s an anniversary then you can celebrate your anniversary,” he said. 2017 marks nine and a half decades since the towns of Dover and Foxcroft joined together.

“It’s going to go from the fairgrounds around and back to the fairgrounds,” Clukey said with the procession following the same route along Fairview Avenue, Summer, North, East Main and Essex streets and the lower portion of Fairview Avenue as for past parades.

Observer photo/Stuart Hedstrom
BACK TO THE PREVIOUS TRAFFIC PATTERN — The traffic flow and parking along Union Square in downtown Dover-Foxcroft is now back to where it was prior to the space becoming a park in 2016. The right side of the island to head up Pleasant Street is open to vehicles again.

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