Casco voters give green light to electric car chargers

By Dawn De Busk

Staff Writer

CASCO — Casco property owners favored adding some green to the Capital Improvement fund so that the town could invest in clean technology.

The voters approved $4,000 to purchase solar charging stations for electric cars during Casco’s annual town meeting on Wednesday, June 11.

Resident Peg Dilley suggested that the town look into electric vehicle charging stations through Efficiency Maine.

“There are programs out there right now to bring electric cars into our town,” Dilley said.

The charging stations would be a huge draw for eco-friendly drivers, she said. Having charging stations readily available would make it easier for residents to invest in an electric automobile, Dilley said.

Her original request was turned into a dollar amount by Trevor Tidd, who introduced the amendment to the Capital Improvement budget.

The vast majority of the 130 voters gave a green light to the purchase of equipment for electric car charging stations, and allotted $4,000 for that purpose. About a dozen people voted against that amendment to the municipal budget.

According to Town Manager Dave Morton, part of the cost is hiring someone to install the charging stations.

An all-electric car will be on display during Casco Days, which falls on the last weekend in July, Morton said. Dilley had volunteered to drive the vehicle in the Casco Days parade, he said.

Also, voters backed the purchase of a new tanker truck to replace two older models. That money had already been set aside, and the warrant item simply needed to be edited to reflect that purchase for the fire department.

“What is being proposed: We have two tank trunks that are 25 years old. One is out of service; it cannot get the inspection sticker. The proposal is to take two out, and replace those with one. The new one will cost approximately $150,000 — which appears on the warrant. It authorizes the use of existing capital funds — which have already been approved by community,” Town Manager Morton said.

Tom Mulkern said that the Casco Firemen’s Association voted recently to put $35,000 into the budget for the tanker truck. Starting in 2015, the association will pay $7,000 per year. The audience applauded the financial assistance from the local group.

Also, while the Capital Improvement budget was the warrant being voted upon, Eric Dibner asked for $30,000 to be added to the land acquisition fund. However, that amendment was voted down.

Dibner, who is chairman of the Casco Open Space Commission, said that in years past residents have set aside funding for the purchase of land for public access.

“Open space is an important part of the character of Casco. We live with a changing landscape. Development is important, but we want open space to be preserved,” Dibner said.

“We think that this is a conservative request of $30,000. We don’t think zoning rules will protect open spaces,” he said.

Resident Alice Darlington said that the reason the Finance Committee did not budget additional money for land acquisition is because there is currently $120,000 in that budget.

“With the increase in taxes, it is not a good time to reach into pockets just to have money there when they need it,” Darlington said.

She added that the town already owns a few large tracts of land, and those should be managed first.

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