Camden’s 2011 annual town meeting will be held June 14 and 15. Residents may register to vote at the town office Monday through Friday between 8 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. or on Election Day at the polls with identification and proof of residency.

Polls will be open on Tuesday, June 14 from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the Camden Public Safety Building for citizens to vote by ballot on Articles 1 through 3 of the annual meeting warrant. Absentee ballots for these articles are available at the Camden Town Office between 8 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, prior to voting day.

After electing a moderator to preside at the public town meeting scheduled for the following day, polls will open for the election of the following town officials.

  • Two Select Board members for three-year terms. Select Board members also serve as overseers of the poor, assessors and wastewater commissioners. Three candidates will appear on the ballot: Karen Grove, James Heard, and Donald A. White Jr.
  • Two directors of Maine School Administrative District 28 and the Five Town Community School District, for three-year terms. The names of Matthew Dailey, Willard J. Hubbard, and Dale E. Landrith Sr. will appear on the ballot.
  • One Personnel Board member for a three-year term. David Miramant is the only candidate to appear on the ballot.

Voters may write in candidates for any of the above positions.

Article 3 is a proposed amendment to the Camden Subdivision Ordinance, Article 9 — Inspections and Enforcement. According to Town Manager Roberta Smith’s newsletter, this proposed amendment is intended to release the town from possible repair costs for damages to subdivision roads during the construction phase.

“The concept behind this amendment is to create a threshold before the town would accept the responsibility for subdivision roads that have been developed,” Smith wrote. “By placing a 75 percent threshold of developed lots, the risk of the town incurring expenses for repairs caused by damage to the roads during development of the remaining lots is reduced.

Town meeting to review budget

The annual open town meeting will begin Wednesday, June 15 at 7 p.m. in the Camden Opera House. At that meeting, voters will decide on Articles 4 through 14, which include the proposed fiscal year 2012 town budget.

Full text of all articles, including the full budget, appears in the 2011 annual report.

Articles 4 through 8 are annual housekeeping articles that set the tax due date and fix the interest rate for unpaid taxes for the upcoming year, authorize the Select Board to apply for and accept grants and gifts on behalf of the town, authorize the board to transfer funds between budgetary categories, and authorize the disposal of personal and tax-acquired property.

Apollo Tannery articles explained

This year, the annual article authorizing the board to dispose of tax-acquired property is broken down into Articles 6A and 6B. The newsletter states that this was done to offer voters a choice regarding the disposition of the tax-acquired Apollo Tannery Property.

“Presently, all other tax acquired property may be sold by the Select Board, pursuant to a standard article (for the last several years the Tannery property has been excluded from such authority),” Smith wrote. “As a town-owned parcel, the Tannery site does not generate tax income. In addition, municipal expenses include debt payments, from the environmental cleanup that was carried out at town expense, in the amount of $61,000 per year — there are 15 years remaining on this debt. In June 2008, 69 percent of those voting approved a set of guiding principles that defined the ideal criteria under which the site would be re-developed, including the provision that the trees that line the street must remain. At the November 2008 town meeting, approval of a voter petition resulted in a requirement that the sale of the Tannery parcel must be approved by a referendum vote.”

“Article 6A plainly provides that, if adopted, the Select Board will have the authority to sell the Tannery property without any further action by the voters,” wrote Smith. “However, the sale of the Tannery property must be consistent with the guiding principles recommended by the Tannery Redevelopment Workgroup and subsequently approved by Camden voters. Therefore, if a business proposes to purchase the Tannery property upon terms that are inconsistent with the guiding principles, and the Select Board feels it is a proposal worth pursuing, the sale would have to be decided by Special Town Meeting vote.”

If Article 6A is approved, Article 6B will not need to be considered by the voters.

In the event that the voters choose not to authorize the Select Board to sell the Tannery property, as described above, passage of Article 6B would maintain the marketing provisions of the guiding principles previously approved, including the existing restriction that the Select Board cannot sell the Tannery property without voter approval through a secret ballot referendum.

If both Articles 6A and 6B are defeated, the Select Board will not have the authority to dispose of any new tax-acquired property. Sale of the tannery site would continue to require a secret ballot referendum.

Article 9 covers the revenue side of the proposed budget. Article 10 contains the expenditure side of the proposed budget. The 2011-2012 proposed budget represents a 3.7 percent increase in the estimated municipal tax, based on an estimated total tax base for the upcoming year. This budget is for general fund municipal services only and excludes assessments from Mid-Coast Solid Waste, Knox County, and the school districts.

“Overall, increasing fuel costs have had an impact on many departments,” Smith wrote. She said the town had not locked in a fuel price for the upcoming season.

“Our price was $2.055 per gallon in 2009-2010 and $2.349 for the current year. The FY12 budget includes an estimate of $3 per gallon,” she wrote. “It now looks like that may be low; therefore, we will reassess anticipated costs and the availability of current year carry over funds closer to Town Meeting, to be certain that we do not need to increase the proposed FY12 budget for fuel oil.”

Wages in all departments have been calculated to include a 2 percent cost of living adjustment for all employees.

General government expenditures reflect a slight overall decrease from the current year, according to Smith’s newsletter.

“The Capital Reserves and Capital Improvements budgets are the focus of this year’s budget increases,” she wrote. “Very little of the Capital Improvement Plan has been funded in recent years, in particular the plan to set aside funds in reserve accounts for future planned expenditures. The proposed FY12 budget reflects an effort to restore funding for capital planning.”

Included in capital improvements is funding for a replacement police vehicle, the installation of a truck bay vehicle exhaust system at the Public Safety Building, a replacement public works one-ton truck and replacement of a box culvert on Belmont Avenue. Plans also include drainage, shoreline access and bank stabilization improvements at Laite Beach.

The difference in the Budget Committee’s recommendation for the Department of Public Works and that of the Select Board is in a public works building maintenance line. The Budget Committee reduced this line in order to free up an additional $5,000 for the Camden Public Library. The Select Board restored the building maintenance funds without reducing the library funding; hence the $5,000 difference in the two recommended total budgets.

Article 11 relates to the state law known as LD 1, which limits how much the municipal portion of the property tax commitment can grow from year to year. Camden’s LD 1 spending limitation growth has been calculated to be $164,837. The net tax increase of the fiscal year 2012 budget as proposed by the Budget Committee falls under the limitation by $848; the budget as proposed by the Select Board is over this limitation by $4,152.

LD 1 includes provisions to increase the spending limitation if needed by a vote of town meeting. The vote on this question, if needed, must be by written ballot.

Articles 12 through 14 cover the election of officials for the Pascal Fund Trust, the Budget Committee, and the Budget Nominating Committee. All candidates are nominated from the floor at town meeting.

For more information and to obtain a copy of the 2011 annual report, visit the Camden Town Office or call 236-3353.

The Herald Gazette can be reached at 207-236-8511 or by email at news@villagesoup.com.