POLAND — Selectmen on Tuesday signed the warrant for the June 9 referendum on the Regional School Unit 16 budget for the 2015-16 school year.

Administrative Assistant Nikki Pratt noted that several citizens questioned how the board could call for a referendum vote on a budget before an amount was formally approved by people of the district.

“My response was that this is a yes or no vote on whatever amount comes out of the district meeting,” Pratt said.

Residents of Mechanic Falls, Minot and Poland will meet at Poland Regional High School at 6 p.m. Thursday, May 21, to debate and vote on a budget to send to the June 9 referendum.

The 2015-16 fiscal year school budget, as approved by the RSU 16 School Committee on May 11, stands at $20.7 million, an increase of about $750,000 over the current year’s budget.

Having signed the warrant for the June 9 referendum, selectmen took the opportunity to remind voters of the importance of a good turnout for Thursday’s district meeting.

“This is sort of the debate portion on the budget that used to take place at town meeting,” Selectman Steve Robinson said.

The board also noted that Poland has only four representatives on the RSU 16 School Committee and that no one has come forward to say they would be willing to fill the town’s fifth seat.

According to state law, selectmen have the duty of appointing a replacement when an opening occurs to serve until the next regular municipal election.

Interested residents should contact the Town Office to place their names in consideration.

Robinson also noted that the board had informally met with School Department officials to discuss matters of mutual concern, including the School Department’s request that the town consider taking over snow plowing at Poland Community School.

School officials were told that Public Works Director Tom Learned said that that his department was not in a position to do the plowing this coming winter.

Town Manager Bradley Plante explained that the problem was one of logistics rather than financial considerations.

In other business, selectmen approved changing the name of Poland’s Recreation Department to the Parks and Recreation Department, a title which more accurately describes its responsibilities.

Selectmen also agreed that the town was now responsible for paying for the street lights on Autumn Drive.

A year ago, town meeting voters approved accepting Autumn Drive as a town road, effective July 1, 2014. Subsequently, the board learned that the Wedgewood Estates Homeowners Association has been paying about $55 a month for the three street lights, a responsibility that should have transferred to the town.

The board agreed to reimburse the association and the town will be picking up the bill in the future. Plante noted that the cost to the town will be in the $40 range, as it will be bundled with the town’s larger account.

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