Residents approve plan to create Belgrade water district

BELGRADE — Voters at the annual town meeting on Saturday approved plans to move forward with the creation of the Belgrade Water District and passed the bulk of the proposed $3.6 million budget.

Instead of attending an in-person meeting, residents voted for a town order at a polling station at the Belgrade Four Seasons Community Centre on 1 Centre Avenue (Route 27).

According to town manager Anthony Wilson, the budget is up about $300,000 from last year. However, the increase in spending will not automatically mean an increase in property taxes, as officials say they plan to offset the increase through greater use of non-designated funds and non-tax revenue.

Residents empower the town to continue negotiations with the Maine Department of Transportation to create a Belgrade water district to serve the town triangle outlined by Routes 27, 135 and 8, an area that has been contaminated by past road salt storage to serve water wells of the aquifer.

Two articles related to this issue have been approved:

• Section 22 asks residents if they approve of the creation of a water district, as voters approve a bill passed by the Maine Legislature last year to create a water district. That article passed 249-135 votes.

• Section 23 authorized the selection committee to negotiate a contract with the Maine Department of Transportation to resolve the issue, which was approved 349-49. Once finalized, the execution of the contract still requires voter approval.

In other votes, Melanie Jewell and Richard Damren Jr. were re-bred by the trainers team, which received 276 votes; Darren, 264; and Nicholas Alexander, 158.

Five candidates participated in the vote for the three-year position on the District Schools Unit 18 Board of Directors. Sharon Frost won the contest with 169 votes. Among the other four candidates, Penelope Morrell received 125 votes, Brian D. Wedge received 56 votes, James M. Smith received 25 votes and Stacey Dowling received 18 votes.

Two of the 41 search warrants failed, including:

• Article 7 could have raised $5,000 for the Belgrade Lakes Business Group’s 4th of July fireworks, but was rejected 195-217.

• Section 24 was supposed to raise $5,000 to improve pedestrian infrastructure and signage to reduce vehicle speeds in the village, but was voted down 182-219.

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