DURHAM — Residents will choose municipal officers Friday and vote on a $4.57 million budget Saturday at the annual town meeting.

Polls will be open Friday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the Durham Eureka Community Center, 606 Hallowell Road.

Saturday’s meeting will begin at 9 a.m. at Durham Community School, 654 Hallowell Road.

Deborah Oliver is running unopposed for the three-year seat on the Board of Selectmen. Longtime Selectman Richard George is not seeking reelection.

Seeking seats on the Budget Committee are incumbents Neil Berry and Phyllis Brannon, and newcomer Marc Derr, each for three years.

Stacey Howarth launched a write-in campaign, challenging Michael Ozga for the Regional School Unit 5 board of directors.


The $4.57 million municipal budget is about $550,000 more than for 2023-24.

Including county and education assessments, Town Manager Jerry Douglass said overall costs will come to $8.17 million, about $140,000, or 1.8%, higher than last year.

Notable increases to the municipal budget include public safety spending, which proposes a 15.6% increase, from $541,470 in 2023-24 to $622,495 for 2024-25. It’s almost completely for the Fire Department. Public Works is slated for a 7% increase for a total of $1.84 million.

Voters will be asked to commit $3,235 in undesignated funds for the Fire Department overdraft from 2022 due to matching grant opportunities that were paid with operation funds from the department and have not been restored.

Debt service funds will decrease from just over $780,000 compared to last year’s roughly $960,000.

Voters will also decide on appropriating money for reserve accounts, including: $180,000 for the Fire Department; $205,000 for Public Works; $10,000 for municipal buildings; $50,000 for the Eureka Community Center; $160,000 for assessing and revaluation; $2,293 for grant matches; and $9,543 for the Union Church restoration.


Selectmen are asking voters to authorize a property transfer of the Union Church to the Durham Historical Society through a quitclaim deed. The deed would require the building to be used solely for the organization’s use with the understanding the property would revert back to the town if used for other purposes.

Residents will vote on land use ordinance amendments that have been contentious.

One article proposes implementing 2018 comprehensive plan recommendations for housing diversity and density which align with laws passed by the Maine Legislature in 2022. The new law requires all town and city ordinances to allow up to three units on lots with an existing single-family dwelling.

The amendment strikes through language allowing only one single-family or two-family detached dwelling and reduces the minimum area per dwelling unit from 110,000 square feet to 90,000 square feet.

The most notable change in language in the ordinance, under performance standards of accessory apartments, redefines the character of Durham’s neighborhoods. Currently the ordinance reads, “The purpose … is to provide a diversity of housing … while protecting the single-family character of residential neighborhoods.” The change would read, “The purpose … is to provide a diversity of housing … while protecting the rural character of the community.”

The language also strikes through the limit of one accessory apartment per lot and allows the use of back lots for detached dwellings.

Douglass said if voters reject housing ordinance amendments, Durham’s planning and code enforcement will revert to the state’s standards.

Another article will add “solar energy systems” to the land use table and an entire subsection to performance standards outlining the development of non-roof-mounted solar systems of medium- and large-scale projects.

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