D-F budget hearing set for March 27

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DOVER-FOXCROFT — Following four weeks of budget advisory committee meetings, a public hearing on the proposed 2019-20 Dover-Foxcroft municipal budget is scheduled for the evening of Wednesday, March 27 — potentially at 6:30 p.m. but a formal start time will be announced. The March 27 date was set by the selectmen during a Feb. 25 meeting, and the board will hold its annual joint session with the budget advisory committee on Wednesday, March 20.

“Tentatively we have Wednesdays penciled in for the budget advisory committee meetings,” Town Manager Jack Clukey said. “Usually we indicate our willingness to jointly meet on those dates.”

The committee’s first meeting was set for Wednesday, Feb. 27 with two others to follow, each session looks at several components of the town budget, prior to the evening with the selectmen on March 20 and then the public hearing one week later on March 27.

At 9 a.m. on Saturday, April 27 residents will gather for the annual town meeting held at the Morton Avenue Gym. Items approved at town meeting then go to a referendum validation in June, which includes votes for various municipal positions and the RSU 68 school budget.

In other business, Clukey said, “I got an update from (President and CEO) Marie Vienneau at the hospital, I believe it’s this Wednesday but the hospital is going to vote on the merger agreement.”

The HAD 4 directors were scheduled to vote on the merger plan between Mayo Regional Hospital and Northern Light Health on the evening of Wednesday, Feb. 27. An affirmative vote would allow Mayo Regional Hospital officials to hold public meetings to discuss the plan and answer questions. The next step after that would be to have the plan approved as required by the hospital charter.

“Very soon after they have that merger plan they can get out and let everyone know about that merger plan,” Clukey said. “What I understand, as Marie explained it to me, is once they have the plan the plan does not become effective just because the board approved it.”

The town manager said the merger plan would have to be ratified by HAD 4 communities or by the hospital board, and a charter amendment would be needed for that to happen. “We don’t know if we will be directly involved at all, we might not know until the summertime,” Clukey said.

He said Vienneau thought those involved might have been at the current stage two months ago in late 2018, but the process was delayed. Clukey said hospital officials want to wait until the plan is approved to share it with the public, rather than presenting something in draft form and still subject to change.

“That’s really all they have been waiting for, having a document that’s really not going to change anymore to get out and have some public meetings,” he said.

“We have a letter from the town of Sangerville, basically saying they have a year if they want to withdraw from our transfer station and the waste disposal agreement,” the town manager said.

Per the contract, Sangerville selectmen need to give 365 days notice of their intention to withdraw but the board will be considering options as signing a new contract with Dover-Foxcroft is still a possibility.

“They pay a percentage of the total cost of the facility,” Clukey said, as the transfer station contractually accepts trash and recyclables from multiple communities around Dover-Foxcroft. He said other municipalities are billed every six months, so Sangerville officials will weigh costs after receiving a bill for January 1 to June 30.

“They are going to keep an eye on the numbers and look at the numbers in a year and make a decision,” Clukey said.

“Thursday, April 4 has been picked for the land use ordinance public hearing,” he said, with this session being part of the monthly planning board meeting. “They went down through the table of land uses and made some changes.”

The amended land use ordinance is set to be on the June ballot, as will an amended shoreland zoning ordinance.

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