Kingfield cemetery expenses raise some questions

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KINGFIELD — About 55 residents turned out to Kingfield Elementary School on Saturday morning to approve a six-month budget for the town, to take Kingfield through June in order to implement the move to a July 1-June 30 fiscal year.

After electing Paul Mills as moderator, the special town meeting approved a six-month budget of $338,183. The total for 2009 was $709,180.

Attracting the most discussion in the two-hour meeting was a $9,500 request from the Kingfield Cemetery Association. The Budget Committee had recommended not funding the request because the association had not appeared before that committee and no representative was at the town meeting.

Amid concerns over ensuring cemeteries are ready before Memorial Day, townspeople authorized a $4,500 expenditure, to be used at the discretion of selectmen. A commercial grade mower is needed, and there was discussion the equipment could be purchased through the Public Works budget and the town could retain ownership, instead of the association, so it could be used for multiple town purposes.

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Voters overrode the Budget Committee recommendation of $1,000 and approved a $3,000 request to help with the operational costs of the Stanley Museum, after trustees Debbie Smith and Howard Randall spoke.

In response to a concern over rumors the museum could relocate to Portland or its sister branch in Estes Park, Colo., Smith said, “As a trustee, I will do all in my power to keep it in Kingfield.”

The Stanley Museum was originally organized some 25 years ago in the old Kingfield school building, leased for $1 per year. This year was the first time an additional funding article has been requested of the town.

The meeting was paused for state Rep. Tom Saviello, U-Wilton, to present a certificate honoring Kingfield resident Howard Dunham for his service as a private first class in Korea with the U.S. Army’s 157th Transportation Corps, also known as the “Red Ball Express.” Dunham also accepted a certificate on behalf his uncle, Milton Simmons, a World War II private first class, who was not present.

Voters authorized $91,032 to fund program expenditures of the Kingfield Tax-Increment Financing and Development District for Jan.1-June 30.

Outside agency requests were approved for Webster Library, $3,000; Kingfield Days Committee, $3,000; Kingfield POPS Committee, $3,000; Kingfield Historical Society, $500; Recreation Committee, $3,500; Economic Ministry, $1,250; Kingfield Sno-Wanderers, $3,000; Christmas lighting, $300; Abused Women’s Advocacy Project, $1,000; and Tri-County Mental Health Services, $1,100.

Voters also authorized town officials to accept state and federal funds and public donations, to sell or dispose of property and to use all money received from snowmobile registrations for trail maintenance.

Voters set a discount of 2 percent for taxes paid within 45 days of billing. Interest of 7 percent will be charged beginning the 91st day from the date of posting the tax bills.

The town voted to accept the following trust funds: David and Mary Cutler Trust Fund, $600; Mary Ellise Gilbert Trust Fund, $200; and Clinton and Lena Knapp Trust Fund, $400.

Following the official meeting, Steve Yates made a presentation and residents in a straw poll overwhelmingly favored efforts by the Kingfield Historical Society and Revitalization Committee to seek donations, grants and volunteer labor to erect a building along the river to house an old grist mill and bolter equipment (fine tunes the grain mix), now stored in the basement of the Historical Society.

The idea is to make it a tourist destination and a boost to local economic development. A request will be made to determine whether it could be an acceptable funding project under the tax-increment financing budget, which will require a positive ruling by the Maine Department of Economic and Community Development and a vote at a subsequent town meeting.

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