RSU 13 budget meeting May 23

Voting will impact school, police, taxes

Referendum voting, town meeting coming
By Beth A. Birmingham | May 14, 2019
Photo by: Beth A. Birmingham Town Manager Valmore Blastow Jr., center, goes over the numbers during a May 13 Board of Selectmen's meeting in Thomaston. Also shown are board Chairman Peter Lammert and recording secretary Kara George.

Thomaston — How Thomaston residents vote on the school and municipal budgets will have an effect not only on their wallets, but also on who will be policing their town.

The Board of Selectmen signed the warrant and notice of election for the Regional School Unit 13 budget validation referendum at its May 13 meeting, along with the annual town meeting warrant.

"This one was a very interesting warrant because a lot of it is based on what happens the day before in the public vote," Chairman Peter Lammert said.

The warrant notes a major increase in state revenue-sharing next year over this year, going from $172,394 to $480,094, as estimated by the Legislature.

"That's an item that would've dropped our mil rate by half a mil," Town Manager Valmore Blastow Jr. said, but the mil rate will not decrease because of the need for RSU 13 to pay back nearly $628,000 in state subsidy this year.

The increase in Thomaston's share of school district funding of $761,000 pushes the town's municipal assessment up by $2.11 per $1,000 of property assessment before municipal expenses are figured in. Blastow noted that in two years the budget has increased by $1,110,885 just for Thomaston.

"This is as the voters of Thomaston are pondering maintaining our full-time police department at a cost of $558,000," he said.

He said, based on information he has received, the subsidy the district receives this year will be reduced by the amount it was overpaid, offsetting the error.

The district estimates it will receive $3.8 million in state aid for 2019-2020, which amounts to 12 percent of the overall budget.

Nearly all of the rest of the budget is funded through property taxes, and Thomaston -- being the second-largest financial backer of the district -- will have projected payments for next year totaling $5.2 million.

Resident Joanne Richards recommended concerned citizens attend the district budget meeting and ask questions. She said one thing she would recommend is doing away with the adult education program.

"We don't need Rockland to have an adult ed program when the career and technical center has an excellent adult ed program," she said, referring to the $280,000 being sought in the district budget.

The district budget meeting will be held Thursday, May 23, at 6 p.m. at Oceanside High School.

The recommended 2019-2020 municipal budget is $3,585,401, an increase of 4.13 percent over last year.

The budget was accepted pending the outcome of the June 11 vote on whether to maintain the town's police department.

Everything is already in the budget assuming the police department will be maintained, according to Blastow, who explained that if residents vote to keep the department, the budget will simply require approval at town meeting June 12.

However, should residents vote in favor of having the Knox County Sheriff's Department take over law enforcement responsibilities for the town, a number of other articles on the warrant will have to be voted down in order to balance the budget.

Elections will take place Tuesday, June 11, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. and town meeting is set for 7 p.m. June 12, both at the American Legion Hall.

Candidates in the contested race to fill two Board of Selectmen seats include incumbent Bill Hahn, Charles Frattini, Patricia Hubbard and Sandra Moore. Selectman Peter McCrea is not seeking reelection. For Board of Assessors, Scott Johnson is the only candidate. Joan Linscott is not seeking reelection. All are three-year terms.

Profile information on the selectmen candidates will appear in the May 30 edition.

Courier Publications reporter Beth A. Birmingham can be reached at 594-4401 ext. 125 or via email at bbirmingham@villagesoup.com.

Voting will impact school, police, taxes
Comments (0)
If you wish to comment, please login.