MECHANIC FALLS — Polls will be open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday, June 10, at the Municipal Building on Lewiston Street to elect town officials and to set next year’s budget.

The proposed budget for the fiscal year beginning July 1, as approved by the Town Council at May’s public hearing, stands at $2.45 million, more than $200,000 higher than this year’s budget.

Tuesday’s vote, being held in accordance with the town’s new, two-step method of setting the budget now that the traditional town meeting has been eliminated, gives townspeople the final say on what that budget will be.

Driving the budget higher, Town Manager John Hawley noted, are requests for substantial increases in what is being set aside for reserve accounts and capital improvement projects.

Capital improvement projects include $50,000 to repair the Municipal Building roof, which was damaged in a November wind storm, and $31,000 for Mitchell Street improvements.

Another $71,000 is requested for the fire/rescue apparatus reserve account, $27,000 for public works equipment and $16,000 for police vehicle reserve accounts.

Spending requests for individual municipal departments remain little changed from the amounts approved for this year’s budget.

Hawley estimated that if the council’s recommended budget articles all pass, property taxes on a house assessed at $100,000 would increase by about $146.

The town Budget Committee, displeased with an increase of this magnitude, passed its own set of recommendations, which would reduce the overall municipal budget by $64,167.

At that level of spending, taxes on a house assessed at $100,000 would increase by about $42.

Voters will act on 29 separate funding articles, just as they would have at a traditional town meeting, with yes or no votes on the dollar amounts as printed in the article.

If an article is voted down, the portion of the budget in question would go back to the council for reconsideration and would be reviewed by the Budget Committee. It would have to be voted on again by townspeople.

Tuesday’s municipal election also features a three-way race for two seats on the Town Council and uncontested races for one position on the School Committee and one on the Sanitary District’s board of trustees, all for three-year terms.

The three Town Council candidates — Ollie Emery, Cathy Fifield and Roger Guptill — are well-known about town.

Emery was a member of the Fire Department from 1968 until, serving as fire chief, he retired in 1993. Following his three terms on the Town Council, from 1994 to 2003, he has been a fixture on the Budget Committee, for another 11 years of service.

He said he is committed to holding down property taxes.

“If we can’t curb rises in taxes on the local level, how can we ever curb them on the state or national level?” Emery asked.

Fifield is an incumbent on the council, finishing her first three-year term. She is a veteran member of the Mechanic Falls Development Commission, having served on that board for 10 years prior to joining the council in 2011.

“It takes many people volunteering to support a community,” Fifield said. “I would like the opportunity to continue with the Town Council to support this community.”

Guptill is serving as a Sanitary District trustee, a position he has held for 15 years. In 2011, he left the council, because he served three terms, the maximum allowed. Prior to that, he had served on the Planning Board for six years and had served a three-year term on the council.

He said he would look to find ways to work with neighboring towns to consolidate services.

“We can’t keep raising taxes,” Guptill said. “They’re going up faster than the cost of living.”

Running unopposed, Jacques “Jack” Wiseman, vice chairman of the RSU 16 School Committee, is seeking another three-year term.

Roger Guptill is running unopposed for another three-year term on the Sanitary District’s board of trustees.


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