LISBON – In a 5-2 vote Tuesday night, the Town Council approved a proposed school budget of just over $15 million, which is $234,188 less than the School Committee recommended.

For the fourth time this year, voters will go to the polls Nov. 3 to decide on a spending plan for 2015-16.

They rejected a $14.93 million budget June 9 and a $14.88 million budget Aug. 11, with the majority saying it was not enough money. The third vote Sept. 22 rejected a $15 million budget.

The budget battle has centered on including money left from the $4-plus million high school gym construction in the school budget. The School Committee wanted all of it used; the Town Council only some.

Another point of contention has been the council’s directive in January to cut $600,000 from additional local funds for education. The School Committee has refused and Tuesday night was no different.

The School Committee recommended $599,425 for additional local funds and the council once again only approved $515,551.

The School Committee also included $304,551 left from the gym project in its proposed budget. The council voted to include only $154,237, because it learned legally it could only use the proceeds to pay down the interest on the gym and track loans.

“Our bond counsel said it cannot recommend the expenditures recommended by the School Committee,” council Chairman Dillon Pesce said, because the town’s legal counsel, not the School Committee’s, would have to represent the town in any legal matter with the Internal Revenue Service.

In other business, the council:

* Voted 7-0 to award the contract for a metal roof on the Town Office to JARR Management Inc. for $97,750. It will start work within three weeks.

* Voted 7-0 to reschedule the Nov. 3 council meeting to Nov. 10 because of elections.

* Voted 7-0 to hold a public hearing Nov. 17 on the Downtown Omnibus Municipal Tax Increment Financing District and adoption of a development program.

* Voted 7-0 to authorize the town manager to put proceeds from the sale of tax-acquired properties in a reserve account for capital improvement projects.

* Heard a report from Town Manager Diane Barnes that the town has spent $1,060 in legal fees in the lawsuit against Androscoggin County commissioners over budget issues.

* Voted to authorize the town manager and tax collector to begin court proceedings against those who are delinquent on personal property taxes. The town is owed $83,990.52, she said.


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