Mainers will head to the polls Tuesday for the state primary election, as well as school budget and municipal votes that were also rescheduled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Two state bond questions are appearing on the ballot, seeking to borrow money to support high-speed internet and bridge, highway and other transportation projects. Question 1 asks for approval to issue up to $15 million in general obligation bonds to invest in infrastructure tied to the improvement of broadband services throughout the state. The funds would be administered in accordance with rules developed by ConnectME, and are expected to be matched with $30 million in other private and public funding. Per the Office of the Treasurer, the total lifetime cost of the bond would be more than $19 million, counting the $15 million principal and $4,125,000 in interest, assuming a 5 percent rate over 10 years.
Question 2 similarly requests approval to borrow $105 million under the administration of the Department of Transportation. The majority, $90 million, would go toward highway and bridge improvements as well as secondary roads under the Municipal Partnership Initiative. According to the state, funds invested in this category are matched at a ratio of approximately 2.8 federal dollars for each dollar invested by the state. Municipalities contribute 50 percent or more for projects covered by the Municipal Partnership Initiative.
Another $15 million would go toward “multi-modal facilities and equipment related to passenger rail and public transit (public transportation), freight rail, aviation, ports, harbors, marine transportation, bicycle and pedestrian projects (referred to as “active transportation projects”) and associated activities.” Those funds are expected to be matched by $275 million in federal and local money.
Per the Office of the Treasurer, the total lifetime cost of the bonds associated with Question 2 would be $133.9 million, counting the $105 million principal and $28,875,000 in interest, assuming a 5 percent rate over 10 years.
Contested primaries will select the Democratic challenger to Republican incumbent Sen. Susan Collins as well as the Republican challenger to Democratic incumbent Rep. Jared Golden. Running for the senate seat are candidates Sara Gideon, Bre Kidman and Elizabeth Sweet. Running for the congressional district seat are candidates Adrienne Bennett, Eric Brakey and Dale Crafts.
School budgets seeking approval include Regional School Unit 9′s proposed $38,186,924 budget. That would represent a roughly $1.06 million increase over the current fiscal year, or 2.86 percent.
Despite the proposed increase in expenditures, the ten towns that make up RSU 9 would see a decrease in the average local assessments of 1.93 percent. This is due to increases in the district’s state subsidy allotment, tied to student enrollment, increased funding for cost centers such as system administration and Foster Career and Technical Education Center and additional money relating to the district joining a regional service center last year.
The budget includes raises for salaries employees – the school board previously approved increases to support staff and administrator pay and is currently negotiating with teachers – as well as an additional special education teacher, an additional English as a second language teacher, adding Criminal Justice and EMT programs to Foster Tech, making several education technician positions full-time, which would extend those positions benefits in a bid to retain employees, as well as number of school improvement projects. Other increases include the second step of the summer salary accrual plan, $80,000, additional funding for nurses, the Extended Year Program, student assessments, the local share of the cost of two buses through the Volkswagen emissions settlement, or $78,000, among other expenses.
A previously-proposed, part-time assistant superintendent position is not in the budget.
More information about the RSU 9 budget process is available here.
MSAD 58 is also putting a budget before voters. The proposed $10,352,500 budget represents a 6 percent increase, primarily due to salaries, benefits and contracted services which make up more than 80 percent of the budget. Local tax payers would be looking at a contribution of $4.26 million, which is a decrease of $37,000, or .85 percent, from the previous year, due to an increase in state subsidy and the balance forward amount.
The budget includes an increase in hours for the Food Service Director and a new maintenance position.
The RSU 73 budget referendum vote has been rescheduled to Aug. 18 after an issue was discovered relating to the information that appears on the ballot.
Municipal votes taking place tomorrow include Jay’s town meeting and municipal election. As previously presented, the 36-article warrant would approve $5,300,474 in proposed municipal expenditures would mark a roughly $9,000 reduction in spending as compared to the current fiscal year. With projected revenues increasing to $2.1 million, a $120,000 jump over the current budget, residents would be asked to pay $3.23 million in assessments, a decrease of roughly $130,000 or more than 3 percent.
Candidates in the municipal election include incumbent Selectperson F. Timothy DeMillo running for his own seat and two candidates running for the 5th Selectperson seat: incumbent Selectperson Gary McGrane and challenger Trudy-Marie Marshall. Two positions are open on the Regional School Unit 73 board with a single candidate, incumbent Director Robert Staples II. Candidates running unopposed for trustee seats on the water district include Raymond Fleury II and Randall Doiron. All of these positions are three-year terms.
Poll locations and times
Avon – 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., Community Room
Carrabassett Valley – 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. – Town Office
Carthage – 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. – Town Office
Chesterville – 8 a.m.to 8 pm – Town Office
Coplin Plantation – 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. – Town Office
Dallas Plantation – 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. – Town Office
Eustis – 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. – Town Office
Farmington – 8 a.m. to 8 pm – Community Center
Industry – 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. – Town Office
Jay – 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. – Spruce Mountain Elementary School, in the gym
Kingfield – 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. – Webster Hall
New Sharon – 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. – Masonic Lodge
New Vineyard – 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. – Community Hall
Starks – 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. – Community Center
Phillips – 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. – Town Office
Rangeley – 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. – Town Office
Rangeley Plantation – 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. – School house
Sandy River Plantation – 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. – Town Office
Strong – 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. – Forster Building
Temple – 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. – Town Hall
Vienna – 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. – Fire Station
Weld – 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. – Town Hall
Wilton – 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. – Town Office