CARRABASSETT VALLEY — Construction of a $1.5 million fire station off Sugarloaf Access Road is a major consideration at the annual town meeting at 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Outdoor Center.

“The current fire station has been housed in two of the Sugarloaf maintenance garage bays since the mid-1980s,” Town Manager David Cota said. “They need the space, and we believe we need a modern public safety facility.”

The station would be near the sand and salt facility.

Sugarloaf ski area will donate 2.1 acres and engineering assistance for site plans and permitting. The 6,384-square-foot station could also house the police and communication departments, should that decision be made in the future, Cota said.

The cost is about $1.5 million. Voters will be asked to approve borrowing just over $1.3 million to add to $240,000 they raised and appropriated the past four years.

“The annual debt service payments will be approximately $75,000 to $80,000 per year,” he said. “We should be able to handle this going forward, as the 15-year debt service for the Fire Department’s ladder truck goes away this year, and this somewhat matches the $60,000 per year the town has been appropriating towards this project.”


Cota said the proposed $2.6 million municipal budget is $31,799 less than last year.

“We are, however, expecting an increase in the school budget and Franklin County tax assessment this year,” he said.

Last year, taxpayers raised and appropriated $585,132 for the school budget. He anticipates an increase to at least $709,080 this year. That increase, combined with an anticipated Franklin County tax assessment estimate of $823,075, will generate the first property tax increase in several years.

The current tax rate is $6.45 per $1,000 of assessed property value, which is expected to increase about 2%.

“Last year’s taxes actually decreased,” Cota said.

After a dozen committee meetings, a public survey and three public hearings, voters will be asked to decide whether or not to allow marijuana businesses to operate in the town. One warrant article requires voter approval for licensing and zoning amendments to allow up to two marijuana retail stores.


The second warrant article asks voters if they wish to approve two ordinances that would allow two other types of marijuana businesses, including cultivation, manufacturing or testing. Retail stores would be allowed only in the village center zone. The nonretail businesses would be only in the light industrial zone in the southern part of town near self-storage and other businesses.

Zoning amendments are required to reflect changes in the two designated zones and add Planning Board and Code Enforcement Officer standards for signs, distances from schools, playgrounds, security, lighting and ventilation requirements, and hours of operation.

Selectmen will oversee a stringent vetting process of applicants, based on businesses licensing ordinances.

If voters approve the ordinances, up to four businesses will be approved for licenses through a lottery system.

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