ORRINGTON – Local residents are expected to decide whether to join a regional fire and rescue district Monday during the annual town meeting, as well as review and approve the town and school budgets.
Voters also will decide whether the town should establish new tax increment financing guidelines to attract economic development; if a rewritten zoning ordinance should be enacted; and if $70,000 in undesignated funds should be used to reduce the North Orrington sewer project debt.
The annual town meeting is 7:30 p.m. June 6 at Center Drive School and will start 30 minutes after voting booths close for the daylong local election of two selectmen and two school committee posts.
The newly elected officials will be sworn in at the beginning of the annual meeting.
The regional fire and rescue district question is a recent addition to the warrant, added May 6.
The question asks residents if “the town will vote to join with one or more municipalities in forming a ‘Regional Fire and Rescue District’ and appropriate $135,000 from the undesignated fund balance.”
These funds would be “combined with the balances of the existing fire department and ambulance service budgets, at the time of joining” to fund membership to the district.
Forming a district will provide better fire and rescue coverage and is estimated to cost the town in excess of $200,000, town officials have said.
The Orrington School Committee budget is increasing by 6.49 percent to $5.76 million, but the amount local residents will pay for education is dropping by $157,416, Superintendent Allan Snell said Tuesday.
More than 60 percent of the projected $351,198 budget increase, or approximately $222,580, is to cover tuition costs for high school students, the superintendent said.
“The two largest classes in the system are the current freshmen and the current eighth grade,” he said. “That puts our secondary population at the highest it has been.”
A special vote at the town meeting is needed to approve the secondary education figure, Snell said.
Orrington is expecting $2,791,513 in state education funding, which is $459,614 more than this year.
The proposed $1.92 million municipal budget for 2005-06 is slightly less than this year’s $2.08 million budget, with drops in capital purchases and projects accounting for a majority of the decrease.
Town leaders are looking for ways to reduce the debt service created when a new sewer line was installed along Route 15 in 2002 and will ask residents to move $70,000 in undesignated funds to reduce the debt service for those residents who benefited from the new sewer line.
The new sewer line runs from just over the Brewer-Orrington town line to one-eighth mile past Snows Corner Store and includes 67 property owners who are scheduled to pay $179.82 annually for the next 29 years.
For more than a year, the planning board has been working to update and rewrite the town’s zoning ordinance and subdivision regulation.
The antiquated zoning ordinance, enacted in 1968, and subdivision regulations, approved in 1976, have been reworked into a single combined land use ordinance that incorporates both documents.
The proposed 120-page document is available at the town office and at the Web site, http://orrington.govoffice.com.
If approved, the new zoning ordinance would become
and would automatically repeal the existing zoning ordinance.
There are also eight policy guidelines that will need to be voted on individually at the annual town meeting to establish new TIF agreements in town.