When Orono voters hold their municipal elections on March 8, they will be asked to change the date when newly elected RSU 26 directors terms start.

The RSU 26 board agreed this winter to send a question on seating of board members to residents, pending the results of a public hearing this week and final authorization by the town council. The question will ask if residents are in favor of seating newly elected board members and have them begin serving their term of office at the next regularly scheduledboard meeting following the election. In the past, terms of office did not begin until July 1.

Prior to the formation of RSU 26, both Orono school board and town council members started their terms at the start of the new fiscal year on March 1, but RSU 26 voters changed that in 2011. That led to some brief headaches for the town following last year’s municipal elections. seat, an appointment, ran only until the election, leaving it vacant until July 1; a second seat became empy when an incumbent who was not re-elected abruptly resigned.

That left the board with just three members and with the very real possibility of not having a quorum at meetings as it headed into the heart of its budget season. The town council as a stop gap appointed the two people elected to fill the time between the election and July 1, but the chain of events led town officials to wonder if a change back to the former date for terms to begin made more sense, leading to the ballot question.

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