Police & Fire

Dexter council to start budget meetings

DEXTER — With SAD 46 budget numbers in hand, the Dexter Town Council will soon start developing its own spending plan. It will hold budget meetings twice a week beginning May 14.

“Starting next week, Tuesday and Thursday 6-8 p.m. — no later than 8 o’clock — we will be meeting through the end of the month,” Town Manager Trampas King said during a May 9 council meeting. “The public is welcome to come and listen to us talk about the budget.”

Earlier in the month the SAD 46 School Board gave its approval to a proposed $16,532,495 budget for the 2024-25 academic year. 

The approximately $16.5 million budget for 2024-25 is up by 3.16 percent from the current academic year’s  $16,025,870 figure. The $16.5 million represents a 5.79 percent increase to the total local assessment when compared to the $3,472,048 for 2023-24. For Dexter its share would be up by $76,794 from approximately $1,980,000.

The school board also set the annual public budget meeting for 6 p.m. on Thursday, May 30 at the Ridge View Community School gymnasium. The figure approved that evening will be moved to a referendum on Tuesday, June 11 in the SAD 46 communities of Dexter, Exeter, Garland, and Ripley. The Dexter council formally signed the SAD 41 election warrant at its May 9 meeting.

Last July the council approved a $6,953,627 municipal budget for the 2023-24 fiscal year.

The gross figure, which in addition to $4.8 million-plus in town operations, included approximately $404,000 for the community’s portion of the Penobscot County tax and $1.9-plus million for the SAD 46 budget. It was up by $39,709 from the year before.

The $6.9 million was partially offset by $2,127,465 in revenues for a net budget of $4,826,162, a $129,537 increase.

In other business, the council approved a motion of support for measures aimed at addressing the geese problem at and around the Lake Wassookeag public beach.

King said the town does have several permits from the state in place to allow for certified hunters to shoot and remove 20 geese per permit. He said corn oil can be placed on eggs, which suffocates these and the birds will still lay on their nests as opposed to laying more if the eggs are simply broken.

“That’s our drinking water, that’s our kids’ swimming area,” the town manager said as the geese pose a public health hazard with excrement containing e coli, salmonella, and other contaminants that can pose public health risks.

Frank Spizuoco of the newly renamed Dexter Development Association (formerly the Dexter Revitalization Committee) mentioned in addition to hunting and corn oil, motion activated sprinklers could be used as a deterrent. He also suggested educating the public such as through signs telling them not to feed the geese as well as ducks and other wildlife.

Councilor Levi Ladd said the bigger problem is with geese who have settled at the beach area, as opposed to migratory birds passing through.

King also announced the town has been awarded an approximately $2,900 safety grant by the Maine Municipal Association Workers Compensation Fund for the Dexter Fire Department.

The Ed MacDonald Safety Grants and Scholarship provide financial assistance to members of the MMA Workers Compensation Fund to purchase safety equipment or  services to assist in reducing the frequency and severity of workplace injuries. The grant programs are designed to prevent injuries and improve workplace safety for our Maine  employees. The reduction in employee injuries also benefits the taxpayers by lessening  lost hours at work, cost of claims and potential overtime expenses for employees who  might have to fill in for injured co-workers.  

The Maine Municipal Association has been awarding safety grants to members of the  Workers’ Compensation fund since 1999. The Ed MacDonald Safety Grants and Scholarships are an example of a successful partnership that has been preventing workplace injuries by bestowing more than $6.6 million in the funding of 4,687 safety  grants and 552 scholarships.  

King also said the 2024 Concert in the Park schedule for the gazebo in Wayside Park will be announced soon, with the details to be posted at https://www.dextermaine.org. Performances typically start in late June and are held weekly, weather permitting.

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