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by Bette Britt
Gathering at the historic town house on Saturday, March 5, local voters will deal with a 78-article town meeting warrant.
If approved as written, the warrant will total $696,463 to be raised and $30,800 to be appropriated from surplus. Figures from last year indicate the amount raised was $692,429 with $52,863 being appropriated from surplus.
It remains to be seen if voters can dispatch the articles as briskly as in 2010, when town meeting lasted three and a half hours., That’s because there are two ordinances to be considered this year.
Warrant Article 41 addresses “Town of Sedgwick, Maine Wind Energy Facilities” and was the subject of a public informational meeting on February 22.
By no means a new issue—a proposed 180 day moratorium was voted down at the 2009 town meeting—wind power has gained impetus in the state, while wind towers on North Haven can be seen from Caterpillar Hill. Article 42 is a “Local Food and Community Self-Governance Ordinance.”
This article was described at a recent selectmen’s meeting as seeking less state and federal regulations of family farms that supply produce directly to consumers through farmers’ markets and “community social events.”
Beginning at 9 a.m. those attending town meeting will find themselves called to vote immediately on Article 3, the Public Access Reserve Account for which $200 is requested for “researching, developing and maintaining” public ways.
Other reserve accounts include: Article 10 that continues town office repairs with a request for $2,000, considerably less than requested in the past two years when work on updating the former school building started at $10,000 per year.
Other reserve accounts include Article 13, used for town house improvements for which $500 is requested; Article 32, the legal reserve account., At $5,000, this is considerably less than the $25,000 sought in 2010 to cover, among other things a $7,000 overdraft from 2009. Article 38 is the reserve account for fire equipment for which $5,000 is again requested.
The Town of Sedgwick saw a reduction in its county tax, Article 7; it is $90,908, having been $96,022 last year.
The second sizeable assessment over which the town has no control is the cost of using the Blue Hill-Surry Transfer Station, Article 25, set at $98,642; it was $96,906 last year. Lastly, Sedgwick’s share of the Hancock County Regional Communications Center for Dispatch Services (Article 34) is up to $1,917 from $1,872 last year.
When it comes to maintaining the town’s infrastructure, Article 15 requests $1,000 for upkeep and operation of the town dock, while Article 18 again seeks $162,635 for snow removal.
Article 16 seeks $49,000 for upkeep of roads and bridges, which seems like a whopping decrease from the $80,000 request last year, until selectmen explain that there’s now a separate account for tarring town roads under Article 21, for which $65,000 is being sought.
It should be noted under Article 17 that selectmen have contracted with road commissioner Paul Carter and David Webb to take care of snow removal in FY 2011 - 12. Articles 19 and 20 relate to putting aside $100 in the salt/sand shed reserve account and $20,000 for winter road expenses, including purchase of road salt. The fire department budget covered under Articles 36 - 39 remains steady on course under chief David Carter, with the only exception being Article 37 for $157.43 to cover an overdraft.
Articles 63 - 78 cover funding requests from outside agencies, most seeking slight increases, if any, over those approved at town meeting in 2010.
For the most part, the budget committee recommends raising the funds as requested including $500 for the Sargentville Library, as in the past, and adding a similar $500 request for the Sedgwick Library this year.
While there was no request from Maine Coast Memorial Hospital in 2010, it is requesting $1,653 this year; in a similar situation, Community Health and Counseling is requesting $786, and Blue Hill Public Library is requesting $3,600.