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Camden voters to weigh in on Select Board members, budget, ordinances

Voting by absentee ballot or paper ballot at the polls July 14
By Susan Mustapich | Jul 01, 2020

Voters will elect two Select Board members, decide on a $9.55 million town budget for 2020-21 and weigh in on new ordinances that expand the use of accessory dwellings and pause the demolition of historic structures during a review period.

Town and school officials are urging voters to use absentee ballots to reduce the numbers at the polls on July 14. Absentee ballots can be obtained by request online until July 9 or from the Camden town office until July 13. An absentee ballot can even be requested at the polling place on July 14.

The polling location at the Camden Public Safety building on Washington Street is open 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. July 14.

Three candidates are running for two open three-year positions on the Select Board: Bob Falciani, Peter Lindquist and Alison McKellar. The positions are currently held by Falciani and McKellar. Interviews with the candidates appear in the June 25 and July 2 issues of The Camden Herald, and can be found on Villagesoup.com.

Marcus Mrowka is running for a three-year position on the Camden-Rockport School Board and Five Town CSD Board. There are two open seats, currently held by Matt Daily and Elizabeth Noble. Daily is not running for reelection.

Municipal budget

The last two articles voters will see on the ballot, Articles 15 and Article 16, are votes on the 2020-21 municipal budget.

Article 15 allows the use of $3,632,206 in non-property tax revenues to reduce the property tax burden for expenditures in the 2020-21 municipal budget. This is the Select Board's recommendation.

Article 16 authorizes expenses totaling $9,553,887 for the 2020-21 municipal budget, as recommended by the Select Board.

After revenues are subtracted from expenses, the net budget recommended by the Select Board, totals $5,921,681. This is the amount to be paid by residents and businesses through property tax.

The Budget Committee recommends an expense budget of $9,467,087, offset by non-property tax revenues of $3,568,206.

Voters will see both Select Board and Budget Committee recommendations on the ballot.

While both recommendations are listed, voters are given the choice of checking yes or no on the Select Board recommendations.

Both recommendations result in a 0 percent increase to taxpayers for the 2020-21 municipal budget. The 2019-20 net municipal budget is $5,889,433.

New ordinances

At the top of the ballot, voters will see five proposed ordinances changes. The full text of these five articles is available in the Town Clerk's office and on the town of Camden website, camdenmaine.gov.

Article 3 clarifies when changes to an approved site plan require an amendment process, which requires Planning Board review, and when the changes are considered minor. It also improves compliance with approved site plans.

Article 4 expands the use of accessory apartments, to a total of 8 zoning districts, from the current 5 districts, and is less restrictive regarding owner occupancy. The purpose is to increase the availability of housing and flexibility of the use of accessory apartments, which are smaller dwellings. The amended ordinance requires the main dwelling and accessory apartment to be the primary residences of the occupants.

Article 5 eliminates the Transitional River Business District by combining it into the Downtown Business District, as a step towards streamlining and simplifying Camden's zoning ordinance.

Article 6 establishes a review process and a delay period for proposed demolition of structures within Camden's three historic districts, another district under final review by the National Park Service and properties designated as National Historic Landmarks. During the delay period, the Historic Resources Committee can participate in an advisory role to the Code Officer during review of the demolition permit application.

Article 7 amends the Cemetery Ordinance concerning operation and maintenance of the Mountain View and Oak Hill cemeteries.

Other articles

Articles 8 through 10, 12 and 13 are routine housekeeping items voted on at town meeting each year.

Article 11 is voted on each year and regards the disposal of tax acquired property by the Select Board. It states that the article specifically excludes the Apollo Tannery Property and Riverwalk, which are subject to requirements of the vote on Article 10 at the June 2008 town meeting, and that the Tannery Property can only be sold by public vote at town meeting.

Article 14 asks for a vote to approve the use of $120,000 in tax increment financing to partially offset the cost of the Knowlton St. parking lease/purchase and development of the Harbor Walkway connecting Main St. and the public landing.

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