TURNER — State and town officials resolved Monday night to work together to address the deteriorating condition of a section of Route 117.

Douglas Coombs, engineer and project manager for the Maine Department of Transportation, gave selectmen a report on projected 2015 road work for Turner. One project is paving Route 117 with a five-eights-of-an-inch layer of asphalt.

Selectmen Ralph Caldwell, Dennis Richardson and Curt Youland argued that at least one section of the road needed leveling, not more asphalt.

“The road surface is fine,” Caldwell said, “but the crown is so high that cars end up in a 12-inch ditch.” He said he had pulled five cars out of the ditch so far this year.

Richardson added, “You are sitting at an angle in your car because of the pitch.”

Caldwell asked if anyone at the state had enough common sense to see the problem.

Coombs said he would have someone look at the road.

Caldwell asked if the paving could be put off a year until the crowning problem had been addressed. The problem area is from Schrep’s Corner Store to Route 219 by the Turner Highlands Golf Course.

Coombs said the state had a certain number of miles to repave this year and he didn’t see how it would be possible to change the order.

He did suggest, however, that the town could enter into a partnership initiative with the state where the town could fix the crown problem and pay half of the cost.

Public Works Director Jack Moultrie said he could look into the possibility and see what it would cost to partner with the state.

In other news, School Administrative District 52 Superintendent Henry Aliberti reported to the board on his school system’s nearly $26 million projected budget for 2015. For Turner, the increase to be raised through taxes would be $453,777.

“We were hoping for a local flat budget,” Selectman Angelo Terreri told the superintendent.

Aliberti said the district tried to keep the budget flat, making cuts where possible while still maintaining educational quality.

The school district’s total 2014 budget was $24.28  million; Aliberti’s projection for 2015 is $25.86 million. The increase borne by the three towns in SAD 52 would be nearly $1 million.

The board also reviewed the fiscal 2016 municipal budget. The current year’s budget is $2.48 million without the schools’ component. The town Budget Committee is recommending $2.67 million for fiscal 2016 while selectmen are recommending $2.72 million.

The current mill rate of 15.7 would rise by .46 under the Budget Committee’s proposed budget and by .59 under the selectmen’s recommendation, not including the education budget.

The area prompting the largest increase is the Rescue Department, according to Town Manager Kurt Schaub, because it is undergoing significant upgrades to keep pace with regulatory requirements and improve the level of care.

That said, Schaub has noted that the taxpayer cost to run that department will still be significantly less than the contracted rates proposed last year for comparable service.

If the town’s projected revenues and fund balance remain the same, and the town’s education and municipal budgets are approved at the current recommended levels, next year’s tax rate is projected to be in the vicinity of 17.2 mills, according to Schaub. This would increase taxes by about $225 on a property valued at $150,000.

In other business, Schaub reported that renovations to Turner Rescue’s facility ran into unexpected water damage to the lower kitchen cabinets. The damage was much worse than first anticipated and cabinets will have to be replaced. The board discussed several places to buy inexpensive cabinets and Youland said he might have some that could be used.

The bid for printing the town warrant was given to low bidder Express Copy of Portland for $3,749.


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