|3/12/2014 2:00:00 PM|
Bristol to Elect Officers, Vote on Budgets at Town Meeting
By J.W. OliverBristol voters will consider a $4.28 million education budget and a $2.07 million town budget at town meeting, Monday and Tuesday, March 17 and 18.
The voters will also elect members of the Bristol Board of Selectmen, Parks and Recreation Commission, Planning Board and School Committee.
The voters will decide a total of 53 questions this year. Unlike recent annual town meetings, no single question sticks out as likely to spark debate.
"I don't know of anything that's controversial on that warrant this year," Bristol Board of Selectmen Chairman Bill Benner said.
The $4.28 million education budget for 2014-2015 is an increase of $68,885 or 1.61 percent from the 2013-2014 budget. The $2.07 million town budget is an increase of $39,379.40 or 1.95 percent.
Aside from budgets, the voters will address property transfers, the winter roads contract and the upcoming 250th anniversary of the town.
Ocean Hill Cemetery
The Ocean Hill Cemetery Association would like to transfer the private cemetery to the town. The association would give the town about $20,000, enough to maintain the cemetery for many years.
The officers of the association "find this action necessary as we have no more lots to sell and no more members to join," according to their October letter to the selectmen.
The town already maintains Ocean Hill Cemetery and five other private cemeteries as the result of a 2012 petition and vote. Ocean Hill Cemetery is on Route 32 between the village of Chamberlain and Foster Road.
Bristol Recreational Trail
The voters will consider whether to accept a small gift of land to expand the Bristol Recreational Trail, near Bristol Consolidated School.
The nature trail crosses the property of Bruce and Julia Babb, and the Babbs would like to give this piece of the property to the town.
"They don't want anybody to interfere with the trail," Bristol Town Administrator Kristine Poland said in July.
Winter roads contract
The voters will decide whether to authorize the selectmen to negotiate a new winter roads contract with O.W. Holmes Inc. for a maximum of three years.
The current contract will expire Aug. 31 after three years.
The selectmen have had talks with the Bristol contractor and favor negotiating a new contract instead of the alternative, a competitive bid process.
"We feel we can negotiate something there," Selectman Paul Yates said.
"I think it would be advantageous, personally," Benner said.
Amendments to the land use standards and shellfish conservation ordinances will also come before the meeting.
The land use amendment would clarify an issue relative to setbacks and make wording changes, Benner said.
The amendment to the shellfish conservation ordinance would extend the time the town office will issue grandfathered commercial licenses from 14 days to 28 days after Jan. 1.
The amendment would also make a change to a provision that waives recreational shellfish license fees for children up to age 12 and senior citizens. The change would limit the benefit to Bristol residents.
The voters will consider a request for $3,000 for the town's 250th anniversary celebration in 2015. The money would come from a surplus in the Olde Bristol Days account.
The selectmen will appoint a committee to plan the celebration. "The committee will come up with the suggestions and plans, and hopefully there will be events all year long," Benner said.
The public policy subject foremost in the minds of many Bristol residents might or might not come up at the meeting.
Despite recent discussion of a non-binding vote about the Maine Aqua Ventus I offshore-wind project, the matter does not appear on the warrant.
The Bristol Wind Power Advisory Committee will include an insert in the town report with information about the project, and someone could attempt to bring the matter up for conversation.
"I think it will be discussed," Benner said.
The moderator might restrict discussion of the matter because it does not appear on the warrant, according to Poland.
Benner's term will expire at town meeting. Former Selectman Chad Hanna, a board member from 2001- 2013, is the only candidate for the seat.
George Sawtelle is the sole candidate for an open seat on the Bristol Parks and Recreation Commission.
The terms of Bristol Planning Board members Earle Cooper and George Masters Jr. run out this year. Patricia Jennings and Benjamin Pendleton are the only candidates for those seats.
Bristol School Committee member Darin Carlucci is running unopposed for his third consecutive term.
All terms are for three years.
The annual town meeting will officially begin with the election of a moderator at 8 a.m., Monday, March 17, at the town office.
The polls will be open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. for the election of town officers.
The open town meeting will follow at 7 p.m., Tuesday, March 18, in the BCS gym.
Dinner and a movie
A dinner-and-a-movie event will precede the open meeting. The menu will be macaroni and cheese, hot dogs, coleslaw, rolls and dessert. The town will show the 1922 feature "The Seventh Day," which was filmed in Bristol.
The event will raise money for the Bristol Parks and Recreation Commission to purchase a Gator-type vehicle for Pemaquid Point Beach. The commission plans to use the vehicle primarily for the transportation of visitors with mobility issues.
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