RANGELEY – Town meeting voters approved a budget of $3.98 million budget, a 2 percent decrease from 2008.

Several articles generated discussion for the 57 residents who showed up to vote at the Rangeley Lakes Regional School gymnasium on Thursday.

The Rangeley Lakes Cross-Country Ski Club asked for $10,000 – as they have for several years – but Selectman Donald Nuttall said he was opposed to the request because the town hasn’t gotten back enough for what it has put into the ski club.

This provoked a response from Richard Wigton, a committee member for the Rangeley Lakes Trails Association. He noted that the ski club helps put on a triathlon, mountain bike and ski races on its trail system, and provides open mountain biking and skiing for the public.

“I believe it is an investment and an asset of this community,” Wigton said.

Resident Patricia Quinn disagreed.

“They kept promising over time they’d reduce (the request) and become self-sufficient,” she said. “That doesn’t seem to be the case because every year they keep asking for $10,000.”

Quinn made a motion to amend the amount to $1,000. The amendment was defeated.

Jim Proctor spoke of the importance of the tourist industry to Rangeley, noting that the town should do whatever it can to be a four-season destination before residents approved the original request.

A zoning change at 58 Shore Drive in Oquossoc Village was also debated. The proposal was to change the lot from a village and shoreland zoning to a downtown commercial zone.

Robert Scully, a member of the Flyhook Condominium Owners Association, asked that voters turn it down. He mentioned that the lot is only 60 feet from one building on land that he owns.

“It is mostly wetlands. It is very, very tiny,” he said. “We have concerns about environmental impact, safety, parking and quality of life.”

Saddleback Mountain is looking to buy the property, which includes a marina facility at the cove. Chris Farmer, director of planning, development and real estate for Saddleback, agreed that the location of a current marina building is very close to Flyhook and camps.

“We felt it needed to be changed to a proper zone in order to have whatever goes on there be in compliance with zoning laws already in place,” he said.

Residents approved the zone change in a 30-27 vote. They also voted to amend a section of the zoning ordinance pertaining to development in shoreland areas, an amendment mandated by the Maine Department of Environmental Protection.

“We no longer will be responsible for monitoring timber harvesting in a shoreland zone,” said Code Enforcement Officer Robert Griscom. “That will now be taken care of by state foresters.”

The 3 percent raise for town administration was also questioned. Finance committee member Alice Smith said in the current struggling economy, a three percent raise was “excessive.”

This drew a response from Nuttall.

“We got a $75,000 less budget than last year with 3 percent raises,” he said of the overall town budget. “If you’re going to cut stuff, don’t put it on the backs of the employees.”

Election results

In voting on June 16, James Carignan was elected selectman for three years. He ran unopposed and will replace Richard Morton, who is resigning after six years of service.Barbara Burgess was elected to the Rangeley School Committee, and Maxine Sargent and Everett Quimby were elected to the Park Commission.

At the town meeting, voters appointed Laura Haley and Julie Shaffer to one-year terms on the Budget Committee, and James Jannace, Elizabeth Eastlack and Steve Philbrick were appointed to three-year terms on the H.A. Furbish Trust.


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