Dispatch, renovation top warrant

By Lisa Williams Ackley
Staff Writer

The Bridgton annual town meeting is next week, with voting of elected officials and referendum questions taking place on Tuesday, June 14 from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the Town Hall on North High Street.

The annual town meeting will begin at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, June 15 at the same location. There are 52 articles on the annual town meeting warrant.

Articles 3 through 9 are referendum articles to be voted at the polls on June 14, and Articles 3 through 7 deal with proposed amendments to various ordinances. (See related story 7A).

Article 8, a referendum ballot question, asks voters to authorize the selectmen to enter into a contract with the Cumberland County Regional Communications Center (CCRCC) to provide the town dispatching services. The Board of Selectmen is unanimously recommending the change, saying it would show a savings to taxpayers of $259,000 in the first three years and an anticipated annual savings after Year 3 of $125,000.

“The expectations by our community for this local government to hold expenses down while providing reliable services were very important throughout this development process,” said Selectmen Chairman Arthur Triglione Sr. “We kept this in mind as the whole Board and the Budget Advisory Committee created the budget for the next fiscal year. We were very aware of the need to provide necessary police communication and recordkeeping as good as, if not better than, we had before. At the same time, we realized that some services we have provided in the past, while convenient for some, were just too costly to continue offering.”

(See Opinion Section for letters regarding this issue.)

Article 9 is a non-binding referendum question, giving voters four options for the renovation of the Town Hall on North High Street: 1. Complete basic structural maintenance, building repairs and roof renovations for $400,000; 2. Complete Option 1 and renovate the exterior siding and roof to meet historical renovation standards which have increased ongoing maintenance based upon the materials used and uses in the building could be more restrictive, estimated cost $750,000; 3. Disassemble the building and replace it with a modern building for similar facility uses, estimated cost $600,000 to $750,000; or 4. Close the building and disassemble it without replacing it, estimated cost $50,000 to $100,000.

Voters will be asked to raise and appropriate $1,118,950 for the cost of Capital Expenditures, including:

$585,000 for the Public Works Department — $50,000 for a plow truck; $300,000 for paving; $85,000 for trackless; $40,000 for a backhoe; $40,000 for a sweeper; $20,000 for a Jeep; and $50,000 for a Hot Box/Roller.

$280,500 for the Police Department — $52,000 for a cruiser; $3,000 for computers; $208,000 for a tower and console; and $17,500 for narrow band.

$165,000 for the Fire Department — $80,000 for SCBA (breathing apparatus); $75,000 for truck replacement; and $10,000 for hose replacement.

The town meeting warrant includes an additional $128,000 for capital equipment should the town retain its local dispatching services, according to Town Manager Mitch Berkowitz. If townspeople vote on Tuesday to opt for dispatching services provided by the CCRCC, the town meeting body on June 15 can reduce the proposed budget by $128,000 and thereby reduce the tax rate by approximately 3% or $.12.

Please follow and like us: