Opinion

Much to be decided in Dover-Foxcroft on Tuesday, June 13

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To the Editor;
On Election Day Tuesday, June 13th voters will be going to the polls. Unlike many other elections, we are not seeing constant media coverage as there is only one State bond question being voted on. There is a lot being decided here at the local level and it’s important that Dover-Foxcroft voters weigh in on these issues. Dover-Foxcroft voters will vote on the following:
• Candidates for local offices
• Municipal budget,
• RSU #68 School Budget,
• A revision to the town charter proposed by the Charter Commission and;
• Two questions pertaining to recreational marijuana and social clubs.

The municipal budget includes funding for the second year of our 10-year paving plan. We are funding this at the same level as last year $400,000, and hope to benefit from lower asphalt prices to get more paving done than originally scheduled. Also in this year’s budget the town is looking to replace one of its oldest plow trucks. The newest plow truck the town has is a model year 2007 and two trucks are model year 2000. One of these oldest trucks needs to be replaced this year. In addition to this truck the town needs to replace the bodies on two trucks that can still stay on the road but the original metal sander bodies need to be replaced. This is a $300,000 item that would be paid for with existing funds and not by increasing the tax rate.

The municipal budget has increased by 3% compared with last year affecting the mil rate by 1.35%. The town and school budgets together represent an estimated 2.43% increase in the tax rate. The amount to tax will be even less for those homeowners who are enrolled in the homestead exemption program. The program will exempt an additional $5,000 in valuation that will not be taxed. This is a significant benefit to homeowners.

Also on the ballot is the revision to the Town Charter proposed by the Charter Commission elected last June. The members of the Charter Commission are: George Barton, Kimberly Cavanagh, Chris Maas, Brian Mullis, W. Ernie Thomas, Erin Callaway, Phillis Lyford, Sue Mackey-Andrews, and David Perkins. These volunteers have done a great amount of work in looking at how the charter can be improved from the one adopted in 2007.

First and foremost the proposed charter revision does not remove referendum voting. Currently the budget is voted on by referendum ballot and this would continue with the revised charter. There are two ways items can be voted on at the local level. One way is by traditional town meeting, and the other is by referendum. The current charter requires that nearly everything is voted on by referendum. The revised charter allows for both methods to be used, with referendums always being used in terms of the final vote on the town budget.

Other items addressed in the revised charter include: restrictions on Board of Selectmen members attending a meeting by telephone or electronic device (the current charter is silent on this) and a provision to allow the Board of Selectmen to adopt a moratorium on the issuance of development permits after a public hearing is held. This would enable the town to respond expeditiously to put a temporary moratorium in place regarding a land use activity that is not adequately addressed within the town’s land use regulations.

On the issue of recreational marijuana there are two questions pertaining to retail marijuana.

First is the question of whether the voters of the town wish to prohibit retail marijuana activity within Dover-Foxcroft and prohibit marijuana social clubs. A yes vote on Article 9 will prohibit retail marijuana and social clubs and a no vote on Article 9 will allow these activities.

The second question only applies if the first vote is rejected. If voters do not prohibit retail marijuana and social clubs the second question asks if voters wish to adopt a moratorium on retail marijuana and social clubs. This would allow the town to have time to write the appropriate ordinances and restrictions in order to properly regulate these activities. A yes vote on Article 10 would adopt a moratorium, a no vote on Article 10 would reject a moratorium.

Neither of these two marijuana questions would affect the medical use of marijuana in any way nor would they affect the right for an individual to possess and consume marijuana as it has been allowed for by State law.

Please take the time to be a part of making these important decisions for our community. Vote on June 13th Polls are located in the municipal gymnasium on Morton Avenue and will be open from 8AM to 8PM. Also, you can register to vote on Election Day at the polls.
Jack Clukey, Town Manager
Dover-Foxcroft

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