LISBON — The Town Council voted Tuesday night to send a school budget of just over $15 million to voters next week.

A budget of $14.93 million failed in June with voters saying it was too low.

In August, voters defeated a budget of $14.88 million, again saying it was too low.

Since the August referendum, the Town Council had to commit taxes, locking in a maximum of $515,551 the town can raise for education and limiting its options for increasing the budget.

Over the past few months though, the gym project has come closer to completion, so council members this time voted that $154,237 in savings from the gym project could be used as revenue.

The Town Council previously battled with the School Committee over whether the money should be used before the project was complete, spending thousands of dollars on both sides in legal consultation fees.

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Allowing the use of the funds this time resulted in a slightly higher budget than the ones voted on in June and August.

According to Town Council Chairman Dillon Pesce, there are a lot of excess funds from the project coming in under budget and he is not worried about the project at this point. Pesce was opposed to using the proceeds during previous council votes.

“It’s a good give and take with the School Committee — for them to get more money with taxes being committed already,” Pesce said, adding that the project is almost complete. 

The budget will go before voters at a referendum Sept. 22.

In other business, City Clerk Twila Lycette was recognized for being named president of the Maine Clerks Association.

“Congratulations,” Councilor Mark Lunt said, “in earning the respect of your peers.” 

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Town Manager Diane Barnes told councilors she wanted to thank front office staff for their hard work and dedication during the past week when they were shorthanded and extremely busy because of tax time.

A fine for setting off fireworks in the town has been reduced from $850 to $500. According to Councilor Gregg Garrison, the fees were lowered because there is a maximum fine allowed by the state.

Lisbon Community School Principal Bob Kahler asked that comments made by the council regarding voters being special interest groups that turned out at the June and August referendum be included in the Sept. 8 minutes.

“There is an implication that there is a threshold of what we’ll accept in terms of numbers of voters,” Kahler said, warning that it was setting a precedent and asking to hear from councilors other than Pesce.

Pesce reiterated he feels it was special interest groups that voted on the school budget this summer because of the low turnout, and he wants to see what the public has to say in November.

Councilor Roger Bickford said he doesn’t believe in a June vote and Eric Metivier said people do vote in November.

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Lunt, who voted against the proposed budget, said if the council wants a November vote, they need to change the process, not just disregard the vote.

In other news, councilors accepted bids for insulation and electrical work for the new Public Works garage.

The council voted 7-0 for the $24,415 bid by All Seasons Weather and Insulation for the insulation project. The town received two of three bids requests.

The council voted 7-0 to accept a bid of $18,737 from Enterprise Electric for the electrical project. The company was the only bidder among six contractors requested to send quotes.

Richard Nadeau asked councilors to consider putting up a sign where the walking trail meets Davis Street.

Pesce said it was a good idea and Bickford said he was already working on it.

Pesce told attendees that the Moxie Festival is accepting theme suggestions and that they need to be sent to the Town Office by Oct. 14.


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