Police & Fire

Dover-Foxcroft residents approve $8.3M budget at town meeting

DOVER-FOXCROFT — A proposed budget totaling $8,302,205 for the 2024-25 fiscal year was approved at the annual town meeting in the Morton Avenue Municipal Building Gymnasium on the morning of Saturday, April 27.

The figure will be offset by $4,728,035 in nontax revenues for a net amount of $3,574,170 to be raised through property taxes.

The total appropriation is up by $1,442,430 (21.03 percent) from the current fiscal year’s near $6.86 million figure. Revenues are $852,608 more than the current fiscal year or 22 percent. The $3,574,170 to be raised is an increase of $589,822 (19.76 percent) from 2023-24.

The budget approved on April 27 is now moved to a referendum vote on Tuesday, June 11 for final approval. On the ballot Dover-Foxcroft residents will vote on the RSU 68 budget, along with citizens of the fellow district communities of Charleston, Monson, and Sebec.

The ballot will also include a question concerning the recommendation from the Mayo Mill Dam steering committee that removing the downtown Piscataquis River Mayo Mill dam and connecting facilities and building a riverfront park is in the town’s best interests moving forward.

Reducing flooding dangers, improving the area’s ecology, including fish passage, and the availability of funding for dam removal were among the main reasons for the committee’s conclusion. The board voted in February to place a question on the June referendum ballot pertaining to the project concerning the acceptance of grant funds as a way to gauge if residents favor the plan or not.

A 4-page, approximately 1,600-word resolution explaining in detail the issues of the dam, with historical context of the recent process and reiterating the Feb. 26 vote was approved by the select board on March 25. The June referendum question, explaining what yes and no votes mean, was also approved at the meeting following an executive session. 

All eight items making up the 2024 Dover-Foxcroft annual town meeting warrant were passed as written over 15 minutes.

The articles passed included $6.5 million-plus for town operations which after $1,329,290 in revenue and surplus equals a net total of $5,233,730 to be raised.

Another approved article was to raise and appropriate $854,185 to the capital reserve for capital equipment, up from $350,000. The net total would be  $226,800 after $627,385 in revenues and surplus.

As a way to supplement an increased emergency call volume and staffing challenges currently being experienced by Northern Light Mayo Emergency Medical Services, Dover-Foxcroft officials are proposing the creation of a municipal EMS department to supplement that of the hospital. 

The town EMS department would be housed at the fire station and would be a separate organization. The plan is to hire a full-time director who is also a paramedic and a part-time EMT.

The EMS department would have startup costs such as the purchase of an ambulance — the exact funding package would be determined in a bid process —and all the needed equipment. ARPA funds could be used for this purpose.

In the budget the $324,185 EMS equipment costs would be covered with $274,185 in ARPA monies and $50,000 from fund balance.

The spending plan includes a one-time $300,000 appropriation from existing funds for making the second installment payment of a tank truck purchased in 2022. The move would avoid having to make interest payments at this year’s higher rates.

A question from the audience inquired about $100,000 for sidewalk improvements being a part of the 2024-25 budget.

Town Manager Jack Clukey said a year ago a recommendation was made to start addressing Dover-Foxcroft’s sidewalks via a management plan with $100,000 earmarked for this annually over a decade as is being done with a pavement management plan.

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