TURNER — Voters at the annual town meeting will decide whether to finance improvements to the Boofy Quimby Memorial Center and a townwide property revaluation.

The meeting is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, April 8, at Leavitt Area High School. Elections will be held from 1 to 7 p.m. Friday, April 7, at the Town Office.

Among the 52 articles on the warrant is one to upgrade facilities at the Quimby center on Route 219 in North Turner.

Board of Selectmen Chairman Kurt Youland said Thursday that townspeople asked the board to come up with plans and estimated costs.

The building needs new wiring, new bathrooms and new kitchen cabinets and flooring, Selectman Angelo Terreri said at a board meeting last month. They haven’t been updated since the building was constructed in 1978 in memory of Lester “Boofy” Quimby Jr., who died in an accident involving a drunk driver.

The board voted unanimously last month to hold the annual town meeting at the high school, because the restrooms at the center are unacceptable, although functional, Terreri said.

There is $45,000 set aside for the renovations, but Selectman Kevin Nichols estimated last month that the amount needed would be closer to $150,000 because the building has to meet fire codes.

Three options will be presented at town meeting:

• Renovate the restrooms and install a ramp for handicapped access to the building;

• Renovate the restrooms and install a stair lift for access to the building; or

• Renovate the restrooms and create a handicapped entrance to the center, and change the section of the center used by the Fire Department into meeting, dining and kitchen space, and build a fire station on the property.

Regarding the property revaluation, Town Manager Kurt Schaub wrote in an email that the purpose “is to assure that all taxpayers are treated fairly. Taking all properties to their fair market value accomplishes that.”

Youland said, “My opinion is that we should do it. It’s been 20 years.” He said it would basically even out property taxes and may reduce the tax rate.
John E. O’Donnell & Associates of New Gloucester originally asked for $205,000 to do the revaluation, but agreed to $199,000 if it is given the job of updating tax maps. The cost would be spread over fiscal years 2017-18 and 2018-19.
The proposed municipal budget for 2017-18 is $2.68 million, which is nearly the same as last year. However, a tax increase seems inevitable considering that the SAD 52 budget is likely to increase, Schaub said.
One scenario is a 4.7 percent increase in Turner’s assessment, which would mean taxes on a property valued at $150,000 would go up by $103.50. Another scenario is a 5.7 percent increase, which would mean a hike of $124.50 on that same property, he said.

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