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Dexter Town Council approves $4.5 million budget

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DEXTER — The town council gave its unanimous approval to a net municipal budget of $4,515,292 for the 2017-18 fiscal year during a July 13 meeting. This figure represents an increase of a little more than $129,000 from the previous year.

“We spent April and May going over every single line of this budget,” Council Chair Marcia Delaware said. “It is a workable budget, to allow us to plan for the future, and gives our department heads enough money to do the job we have come to expect.”

In addition to the town expenses, Dexter has a Penobscot County county tax of just over $288,000 and the municipality is responsible for an approximate $1,967,600 portion of the SAD 46 budget. Together these three items total $5,795,181 — a combined amount down by slightly more than $418,000 from 2016-17.

The near $5.8 million figure of the combined trio of cost centers is offset by $1,279,889 in revenues (an amount down by about $547,000 from the 2016 fiscal year) for the $4,515,292 total to be raised through property taxes.

With the budget approved, Delaware said the council could then accept a series of bids for town equipment. She said the funding for the purchases has been included in the respective various municipal accounts.

The apparatus included in the 2017-18 spending plan approved — in order on Thursday evening — are a loader/backhoe for the highway department from Beauregard Equipment, Inc. for $88,781 over a five-year lease/purchase with payments to be made annually; a Fujitsu heat pump for the second floor of the town hall from A.E. Robinson for $6,704 with a $750 rebate; a 2017 Ford truck for the cemetery department from Quirk Auto Group for $25,470 for a five-year lease/purchase with payments to be made annually (about $9,000 will come from a reserve account to cover most of the first two installments); a 2005 Toro rough mower for up to $9,000 for the Dexter Municipal Golf Course through an online sale; and a tractor/loader/snowblower for the facilities department for $46,748 from the Hammond Tractor Company for a five-year lease/purchase with payments to be made annually.

In other business, the council voted down a proposed ordinance that would have opened up the Zions Hill Road to ATVs, from the Main Street intersection about 2.45 miles to the Ripley town line.

The meeting featured an hour-plus public hearing on the ATV route, and many Zions Hill Road residents expressed safety concerns that could result from the vehicles traveling on the town road along with cars and trucks and pedestrians.

Councilors later mentioned some other options, such as a 60-day trial for ATV access on the travelway and opening up Route 23 and/or Lincoln Street, and these may be brought forward at a future meeting.

Observer photo/Stuart Hedstrom
DEXTER’S SPIRIT OF AMERICA AWARD RECIPIENT — Dexter resident John Parola, pictured with Dexter Town Council Chair Marcia Delaware, was presented with the community’s 2017 Spirit of America Award during a surprise announcement at the start of the July 13 council meeting. The honor recognizes outstanding community volunteers, and among Parola’s many accomplishments are organizing a now annual children’s summer camp, serving on the Dexter Revitalization Committee, involvement in the August Maine Red Hot Dog Festival, being a long-time member of the Dexter Sunrise Kiwanis and Knights of Columbus and serving seven years as the SAD 46 school board chair. “I just enjoy living every moment in this town and it’s where I want to be,” Parola said.

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