POLAND — Voters at Saturday’s annual town meeting will be asked to approve a $5.5 million municipal budget, an amount that is about $100,000 less than the current year’s budget.

“The operational budget is a little less than a year ago,” Town Manager Bradley Plante said. “The Budget Committee and selectmen worked very hard to keep spending down to offset some fixed costs that we have no control over.”

These costs include health insurance, workers’ compensation, unemployment insurance and water rate increases, as well as the town’s county tax assessment, which, at $716,690, is $24,372 higher than this year.

This year’s proposed Public Safety budget stands at $949,328 with the Fire-Rescue Department budget amounting to $643,000 of that cost and police services amounting to another $228,000.

Voters will be asked to raise $792,883 to support the Public Works and Solid Waste departments.

The proposed budget also includes a large commitment to meet the town’s long-term needs, setting aside $883,710 for the capital improvement program. About $262,000 of this will go toward paving Johnson Hill and Herrick Valley roads this summer to complete work begun last summer when the the two roads were properly ditched and had new culverts installed.

Almost $300,000 will be set aside for the future purchase of fire-rescue equipment and over $200,000 will be placed in reserve for future Public Works equipment purchases.

Voters will also act on special articles to establish a conservation reserve fund, which would be used to purchase conservation land, and to establish an “enterprise fund” for the recreation department.

Voters will also decide whether to approve 10 separate articles that would amend the town’s comprehensive land use plan. The more controversial of these amendments deal with the development of backlots and changes in the town’s sign ordinance.

The business portion of the town meeting will be held at 9 a.m. Saturday, April 4, at Poland Regional High School. The town charter requires that a minimum of 100 registered voters be present and that quorum must stand for the remainder of the meeting in order for the town to legally conduct its business.

Municipal Elections

Municipal elections will be held on Friday, April 3, with polls open from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the Poland Town Hall.

In the only contested race on the ballot, three people, William Eldridge, Janice Kimball and Stanley Tetenman, are vying for two seats on the Board of Selectmen.

William “Bill” Eldridge, who recently retired as a counselor in Maine Medical Center’s Department of Psychiatry, is a full-time tree farmer and artist who, over the past 40 years, has served 12 years on the Planning Board, two three-year terms on the Ricker Library Board of Trustees, and was elected to Poland’s original Charter Commission, as well as the latest Charter Commission, which amended the original, and has served on the Poland Scholarship Fund’s board of trustees since 1980.

He earned his master’s degree in social work from the University of Maryland.

Eldridge and his wife, Lynn, recently deceased, raised their two daughters in Poland. He has seven grandchildren.

Eldridge believes the town is on a good course now, and for his grandchildrens’ sake, he would like to work to keep it that way.

“I owe the town a lot,” he said. “I have the time now to pay back. I’m a good listener. If elected to the board, I’ll do the best I can do.”

Janice Kimball, a Poland native who graduated from Gray-New Gloucester High School in 1976, was elected as selectman two years ago and currently serves as chairman of the board. With an associate’s degree in business administration from the University of Maine at Augusta, she has 32 years of work experience in human resources and has been employed by the City of Portland for 21 years, managing employee benefits programs. One of her primary duties is overseeing Portland’s $15.5 million self-funded employee health plan.

Kimball also serves as a Maine Municipal Association representative of Maine Public Employees Retirement System Participating Local District Advisory Committee.

She is a single mother with two grown daughters, Tricia and Megan; and one granddaughter, Oliva, with a second granddaughter due to arrive in May.

Kimball said her two immediate goals, if re-elected, would be to select and form working relationships with a new assessing firm and tax increment financing consultant.

“Professional management and understanding of what options the board has in regards to the three TIFs is critical for the town,” she said.

Kimball also wants to further economic development opportunities and highlight the many natural resources and beauty of Poland.

Stanley Tetenman has served on the Board of Selectmen since March 2013, previously served on the Ricker Library Board of Trustees and served a three-year term on the town Budget Committee. He has served on the Comprehensive Planning Board since 2006 and was chairman for the 2008 revision of the town’s comprehensive plan.

He has been a board member of the Thompson Lake Environmental Association since 2003.

Tetenman, a retired pharmacist, earned his degree from the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy in Boston and owned Scott Pharmacy in Lewiston from 1969 to 1998.

He and his wife, Cathy, have two grown children and three grandchildren.

Tetenman said that he will work to maintain a low property tax rate, bring economic development to Poland and preserve the quality of life in the town by protecting the town’s natural resources.

“The current board works well together,” he said. “Even though we have differing views on some issues, we have had thoughtful, reasonable discussions and have made decisions which have been in the interest of all the citizens of the town.”

Voters will also elect three representatives to the RSU 16 School Committee, two for three-year terms and one for a two-year term.

Melanie Harvey is unopposed in seeking a two-year term, as is Scott Sawyer in seeking one of the three-year terms. The other three-year seat will be filled by a write-in vote.

Lionel Ferland Jr. is running for a three-year term on the town Budget Committee and Leonard Lamoreau is on the ballot for a two-year term on the committee. A third seat on the committee, a three-year term, will be filled by a write-in vote.

Valerie Jones is running unopposed for a three-year term on the Ricker Library Board of Trustees. The trustee’s seat for a one-year term will be filled by a write-in vote.


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