News Feature

Originally published in The Weekly Packet, April 24, 2014
Ordinances and comprehensive plan among warrant articles in Surry

by Bette Britt

Unless they have attended meetings sponsored by the Surry Community Improvement Association on April 7, 10 and 14, local citizens might consider asking for copies of fireworks and waterways ordinances when they go to the town office to pick up their town reports. At 164 pages, and considered too lengthy to be copied and handed out, the 2013 Surry Comprehensive Plan will also be on the 7 p.m. April 28 Civic Center town meeting agenda, along with a total of 66 warrant articles.

Selectman Bill Matlock spoke to the overall budget at the first SCIA meeting and gave $3,427,811 as the bottom line figure of the total 2014 budget; of that amount, $2,363,243 covers education. Excepting education, the greatest increase in the budget is for public works at $422,288 and, explained Matlock, about $118,000 of that amount will go for road construction. The overall increase in the proposed budget is $178,475, a 5.49 percent over the current budget, he noted. About half the funding to cover the overall budget will come from property taxes, although the school portion from taxation is down 2.2 percent.

In addition to questions about the overall budget, those present at the first SCIA meeting asked about the proposed 2013 Comprehensive Plan, which appears as warrant article 22. It will be voted at town meeting just before ordinances referring to fireworks (WA 23) and harbors/waterways (WA 24). All three of these were discussed in full at the April 10 SCIA meeting, but it was the Consumer Fireworks Ordinance that drew more questions than the far-reaching and more intricate Comprehensive Plan, which, it was noted, is important to have when applying for various grants.

Warrant review beyond education, ordinances and the Comprehensive Plan includes raising $1,250 for the position of harbormaster; raising $50,800 for the fire department to include salaries for the fire chief and assistant, plus stipends for firefighters, with an additional $2,000 article amending current salary for the chief approved at previous town meeting. The road commissioner will receive $8,350, covering a $5,200 stipend, $2,750 for mileage and $400 for Social Security/Medicare. The Code Enforcement Officer(s) will receive $10,690 in wages and expenses.

There are articles to contract with County Ambulance ($5,681), Peninsula Ambulance Service ($9,111) and cover E911 services ($3,350). The town road budget of $296,438 includes winter roads ($137,838), road maintenance ($35,600), mowing ($5,000) and construction ($118,000). Surry’s share of the Blue Hill-Surry transfer station will be $100,000. Surry voters will be asked to support libraries in Ellsworth ($5,206) and Blue Hill ($6,000), town waterways ($9,800), the local historical society ($1,000), the Osgood Lot ($4,950), Surry Recreation Program ($10,350) and the General Assistance Administrators ($11,376), with an additional $10,000 for selectmen to use “as they deem necessary to meet unanticipated expenses and emergencies.” The Municipal Building Reserve Fund and the Fire Department Reserve will each receive $10,000.

At the end of the 66-article warrant, there is a note there may be additional articles, but if not, the proposed budget for the 2015 budget for the Town of Surry will be $3,427,811, a total increase of 5.49 percent ($178,475).