Preview: Casco annual town meeting warrant

By Dawn De Busk

Staff Writer

CASCO — The future of the Memorial School has been an object of discussion for about four years.

Many community members favored salvaging the building. It was considered as a potential site for the crowded town office. But that idea was not well-received by the majority of the public.

Over the years, Casco’s elected officials have looked at engineers’ estimates to revamp versus rebuild.

During the last quarter of 2012, the current Casco Board of Selectmen voted to demolish the structure. Additionally, the board agreed to create a plaque set in a stone on the property. The plaque would honor the local veterans to whom the Memorial School was dedicated.

During last summer’s Town Meeting, residents approved putting the fate of the Memorial School in the hands of the selectmen.

However, the Catch-22 is that there was not enough money set aside for demolition costs. So, the issue is going to back to the property-owning residents.

At the upcoming Casco Town Meeting — which will be held in the Casco Fire Station on Wednesday at 7 p.m. — the residents will decide whether or not to spend $35,000 to demolish the building that was deemed hazardous by the board’s majority vote.

The Memorial School issue will appear as Warrant Article 15.

According to Town Manager Dave Morton, the residents can raise the amount more or less.

“We try to keep flexible so town meeting has ultimate flexibility,” he said.

“The finance committee’s ($35,000) recommendation is what they thought we would need,” Morton said.

Also, during Town Meeting, residents will decide whether or not to adopt Casco’s mooring ordinance. While some language has been better defined to improve the ordinance, the mooring ordinance — including a fee to register moorings — has been in existence. In past years, the ordinance has not been enforced, according to Casco Code Enforcement Officer Don Murphy.

The biggest outward change will be the establishment of a $10 fee to register all moorings, Murphy said. That will be addressed in Warrant Article 30.

Articles 27 through 30 will address amendments to the Maine Zoning Ordinance. Those changes deal with more streamlined definitions of single home and duplex units as well as providing more understandable calculations for setbacks and structural footprints on parcels.

Town Planner Jim Seymour explained the amendments during a May 14 public hearing.

According to Morton, a couple budgetary items will likely evoke comments from the public. He expects the budget request from the Casco Public Library to be faced with community support and also people not wanted to raise the mill rate.

“During finance committee meetings, there was some disagreement over the library budget,” he said, adding the majority voted to keep the budget increase at bay.

The library asked “for more than what it was last year. Three years ago, the library had a big jump in its funding request. Then, the budget held steady for two years. They asked for a three-percent increase this year — mostly because of rising utility costs,” he said.

“There was a lot of discussion, and it was all good discussion,” Morton said, adding he expect the same during Town Meeting.

Another monetary request — which is new to the Casco Fire Department — will be for a stipend for a firefighter to be on duty at the station five days a week, Morton said.

The Casco Rescue Department recently established pay for two rescue personnel to be available at the station from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. The move was an effort to retain qualified help, and to improve response times, according to Assistant Fire Chief Holly Hancock.

To preview a copy of the 2013–14 budget and the other warrant articles or watch video footage of past meetings, go to the town’s website, www.cascomaine.org.

 

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