Voters Settle Debt Service Question at Special Open Town Meeting
More than 50 Durham residents turned out for the Special Open Town Meeting to decide a vote on settling Town of Durham's annual debt service, after April's municipal budget vote produced contradictory results. The vote passed by majority.
For details on the vote read below.
Also at the Special Open Town Meeting, Durham Select Board Chair Kevin Nadeau presented local high school senior Aynslie Decker with the $1,000 scholarship award, after her application was selected by the Durham Scholarship Committee.
Special Open Town Meeting (In-Person), Saturday, May 22nd at 9:00 a.m.
Location: Outdoors at the Town Office. Rain or Shine!
Parking: Fire Station, Eureka Center, Route 9. Handicap parking will be available in the Town Office parking lot.
CDC and State pandemic guidelines will be followed. Please bring your own portable chair if you have one. We will have a limited number of chairs on hand for back-up.
Warrant Article Information
The municipal budget vote on April 6th produced contradictory results. Voters approved all the individual budget articles but rejected an increase in the Property Tax Levy Limit.
The Property Tax Levy Limit is a State law that establishes the maximum amount of money that can be raised through property taxes to fund the municipal budget. The sum of property taxes voters authorized the Town to raise in the budget articles was $1,669,614. However, the 2021 Property Tax Levy Limit is $1,583,039, a difference of $86,575.
By law, a Special Town Meeting is required to reconcile the difference. The options are: 1) Ask voters to re-vote on increasing the 2021 levy limit, or 2) Ask voters to re-vote on 1 or more budget articles and raise $86,575 less in taxes than originally approved on April 6th.
The Board is proposing option 2. We felt it was important to honor the result of the vote that said “no” to an increase in the levy limit this year. Likewise, the Board felt it was important to also honor the votes on the budget articles and not re-vote on the total budgeted amounts that were approved on April 6th. The only way to honor all those votes and raise less money in taxes is to transfer some funds from reserve and undesignated fund accounts to offset the reduction in taxes raised.
To achieve these objectives, the Board is asking the town to vote again on just one of the budget articles, the authorization for the annual bond payments related to Public Works, road construction, and Fire Department apparatus. The total budgeted amount for this article is the same as approved on April 6th. We still need to make our bond payments, but rather than raise all the money in taxes as approved on April 6th, this time we partially fund this budget article using transfers from capital reserves and undesignated fund accounts. This is the only budget article to be voted on at the Special Town Meeting. The text of the article appears below.
Article to appear on Warrant at Special Town Meeting:
To see what sum Town will vote to raise and appropriate for the Town of Durham’s annual debt service.
Budget Committee and Select Board Recommendation
Transfer from Public Works Capital $30,000.00
Transfer from Fire Department Capital $30,000.00
Transfer from Undesignated Fund $27,100.00
Total Debt Service Budget $980,862.00
School Budget Vote Set For June 8
The school budget validation vote will take place on Tuesday, June 8, in Durham, Freeport, and Pownal.
Absentee ballot requests for the school budget validation are currently being accepted at the Durham Town Offices. To request an absentee ballot, visit the Durham Town Offices during regular office hours, or call 353-2561, but remember that town staff must speak with each voter directly. Absentee ballot applications are also available by clicking here.
June 8 ballots are now available, and are due by 8:00 p.m. on June 8.
Polling hours for in-person voting on June 8 will be from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. at the Durham AMVETS Post 13, 1049 Royalsborough Rd.
There will also be an RSU 5 Board of Directors meeting and a budget Q&A at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, May 12, in-person at the Freeport High School cafeteria, or via Zoom.
RSU5 FY22 budget documents are accessible here. The RSU5 budget warrant is accessible here. A sample ballot is accessible here.
For more information contact the Durham Town Clerk at 353-2561 ext. 11, or visit: www.durhamme.com.
For complete April 6, 2021 Town Meeting referendum vote results, click the link below:
IMPORTANT TOWN MEETING LINKS:
Budget Presentation: Public Works (January 7, 2021)
Budget Presentation: Fire Department (January 12, 2021)
Select Board Budget Recommendations (January 19, 2021)
Budget Committee Budget Recommendations (January 21, 2021)