Originally published in The Weekly Packet, April 18, 2013
Surry voters to face 63 warrant articles at April 22 town meeting
by Bette Britt
With the election of municipal officers and school board members on Friday, April 19, local voters who attend town meeting at 7 p.m. on Monday, April 22, will find they have to deal with only 63 warrant articles. This is the lowest number for consideration in the past three years, and both the school and municipal budgets have decreased. Voters will find that the two major budget items are covered in the first warrant articles, where the proposed $3,254,086 municipal budget is down $39,809 or 1.2 percent. The $2,256,395 education budget for 2013-14 is down $48,625 or 2.1 percent.
Initial warrant articles address pay for selectmen, including their duties as assessors and administrators of general assistance, and the $241,228 tab for Administration of the town.
Warrant Articles 7-21 cover the $2,256,395 proposed 2013-14 school budget. This includes decreases in transportation (down $3,515 or 1.97 percent), instruction (down $94,072 or 7.77 percent), operation and maintenance (down $20,407 or 13.11 percent) and other instruction (down $12,650 or 38.37 percent). And when it comes to funding the education budget, additional local funds are down $398,324 or 82.45 percent. The latter drop is due to, among other things, using $350,000 from carry forward funds, as explained by Union 93 Superintendent Mark Hurvitt at the second of two SCIA forums held earlier this month (see Weekly Packet of April 11).
Notable among remaining warrant articles is WA 23, seeking $50,900 for the Surry Fire Department; the $8,428 increase is due in large part to the growth in manpower over the past year. The department has more than doubled the number of firefighters, all of whom need training and equipment. By combining five 2012 warrant articles into one under WA 32, voters will be saving time when voting to spend $230,264 for the town road budget, which includes winter roads ($134,764), road maintenance ($34,500), roadside mowing ($5,000) and road construction ($56,000); as voted individually last April, the town road budget was $229,177.
The budget for the Planning Board and Board of Appeals includes something new for the $2,900 being asked; that includes revision expenses for work on the Unified Development Ordinance, with $1,500 to come from the UDO reserve. The usual request to fund a 12-month contract with Haslam’s Septic to take care of septic waste from Surry households has something new, as well; in addition to the $800 contract, voters will be asked to raise $1,600 more for “porta potties in town areas.”
In addition to requests for 12-month contracts with Peninsula Ambulance Service ($9,200) and County Ambulance ($5,681), Surry voters will have their say about such enrichment opportunities as Ellsworth and Blue Hill libraries, ($6,000 each); Down East YMCA ($3,500), the Osgood Lot ($5,250), town waterways properties ($6,300) and utilities at the Old Town Hall/Surry Historical Society ($1,000). New on the list of social service organizations, voters can choose to support is the Tree of Life Food Pantry ($1,400). The “Y” is requesting $3,500 from the town to allow wide use of its facilities, while a small number of outside supplicants request support ranging from $500 for Hospice of Hancock County to $2,700 for the Washington Hancock Community Agency.