HARRISON – Selectmen approved this year’s annual town meeting warrant Thursday night, calling for nearly $6 million to fund the town and schools.
Four of the five selectmen agreed to hold off on signing the warrant, however, until June 2, when they expect to have a better idea of how much money they will be getting from the state. Selectman Kathy LaPlante did not attend the meeting because she was recently released from the hospital and is recovering at home.
Town Manager Bud Finch expressed optimism several months ago that the current tax rate of $9.75 would stay the same, but it now appears there may be a slight increase.
“Our goal is to hold it to below $10 [per thousand dollars of valuation],” Finch said. The likelihood of less money from the state, plus a larger than anticipated increase in the education budget combined to nudge the tax rate up.
The breakdown of proposed expenditures is $3.4 million for SAD 17, $290,000 for Cumberland County, and $2.2 million for the town.
Selectmen approved Articles 1 through 25 for the town meeting, but voted not to include Article 26, which would have asked for about $17,000 for 11 organizations known as “third party requests.”
In an explanation of why Selectmen Bill Goodwin, Eddie Rolfe and LaPlante wanted to take it off the warrant, Finch said while the expenditure involves a relatively small amount of money, it nearly always takes a long time to discuss at town meeting.
Selectman Lisa Villa urged the selectmen to allow townspeople to vote on the requests, which ranged from $400 for the Red Cross to more than $5,000 for PROP.
Chairman Bill Winslow said he was “kind of on the fence,” wanting to give people a chance to vote, but eventually decided to vote with the majority.
In other action, selectmen authorized Finch to work with the Maine Department of Transportation to discuss reducing the speed limit and installing “Children At Play” signs on the Buck Road, a request from those who live on the street.
They approved the county’s Hazard Mitigation Plan projects listed for the town, which would provide money for two areas of town identified as locations where emergency repairs might have to be made.
The selectmen appointed Christmas In Harrison committee officers: Jennifer Edwards, president; Kelly Howard, vice president; Marilyn Maguire, secretary; and Robin Mayes, treasurer.
Old Home Days Committee officers appointed were president; Kevin Laplante, co-president; Scott Andrews, vice president; and Christine Molloy, co-secretary.
Catering applications for Victoria Toole of Lake Region Caterers were approved for three weddings at the Greenwood Manor Inn: Sturgeon on June 11; Brennan, on June 25; and Nappi on July 9. A liquor license renewal was approved for the Olde Mill Tavern, and a bingo license for July 7, 8 and 9 (Old Home Days) was approved for Bear Mountain Grange.
Licenses, including bed and breakfast, live entertainment, and pinball and video machines, were approved for: Barbara and Raymond Stauble of Greenwood Manor; Adelaide Portash, DBA Happiness Is; RMO Holdings, Vacation Campground; Gary Searles and Rick Albert, Olde Mill Tavern; Mike Molloy, Caswell House.