SAD 61 budget passes first test; referendum vote Tuesday

If taxpayers thought a 2.75% hike in educational spending was acceptable, they had to like the unexpected news Superintendent of Schools Al Smith dropped on them before Tuesday’s district budget meeting.

With about 100 people in attendance in the Lake Region High School gym, Smith announced that the proposed budget was reduced by $175,000 because SAD 61’s insurance premium was lower than expected.

So at a 2.2% hike, the 21-article warrant — totaling $30,012,620 — resoundingly passed without question, debate or complaint. Voting started at 6:52 p.m. following a quick synopsis given by Financial Coordinator Sherrie Small, and concluded at 7:28 p.m. If not for two required written ballots and a lengthy project list in the last article — allowing the school board to transfer $1,100,000 from the undesignated fund balances to Capital Reserve, along with $355,755 from this account, to pay for school bus replacement ($85,000 each), LRHS elevator replacement ($85,000), paving projects at LRHS ($41,745 and $38,255), track upgrade ($200,000 — by doing the work this summer, SAD 61 will save $100,000), Middle School and Songo Locks parking improvements ($328,000 and $475,000, respectively) and Stevens Brook roof work ($117,500), totaling $1,455,755 and no additional tax dollars required — read by moderator John Robinson, the meeting would have ended even sooner. Total voters casting ballots was 93.

Now, taxpayers must approve the proposal at a referendum vote on Tuesday, May 30. Polls in Bridgton, Casco, Naples and Sebago will be open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

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