AMHERST — Town Meeting convenes on Saturday, Sept. 25, where voters will consider expenditures on roads, snow removal, building maintenance and the election of local officials to fill empty seats on the select, school and planning boards. The warrant also seeks a vote on $239,503 in school appropriations, which is down about $7,000. The total municipal and school budget, as proposed, stands at $420,182. The town’s biggest expense after education is garbage, with $40,000 budgeted for waste disposal.
Voters also will be asked to weigh in on allowing marijuana cultivation facilities and adult use stores in one article, and on adult use marijuana manufacturing facilities in another article. The two articles, 47 and 48, will wind up Town Meeting before the vote to adjourn.
First Selectman Wes Ellington noted that both warrant articles arose from citizen request. “We as a Select Board view business development and growth are instrumental in small towns such as ours, which are always struggling to maintain residency at a reasonable cost.”
Also on the warrant is a vote to amend land use rules to allow the code enforcement officer to issue a permit for “filling, earthmoving or other excavation activities” of more than 10 yards to less than 250 yards in the Shoreland Zone (Article 45). Previously the limit was 10 yards. Article 46 proposes a new land use rule that will require Planning Board approval for excavations of more than 250 feet in the Shoreland Zone.
Ellington said the Select Board felt that the current ordinance was “overly restrictive” as written.
“With our current ordinances we require a building permit for groundwork in Rural Residential Areas for any work which affects more than 10 yards of material. The changes are aimed at Rural Residential only.”
In all, the Select Board recommends approval of all expenditures and other articles but one: requests for charitable contributions that total $2,201. Each request is voted on separately, with requests submitted from the Ellsworth Public Library, Community Health and Counseling Services, LifeFlight Foundation, American Red Cross, Maine Public, Downeast Community Partners (DECP), the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program and Yesterday’s Children. Last year, voters approved $1,095 of $1,630 requested by nonprofits, denying requests from DECP, WIC, Maine Public and Yesterday’s Children.
Town Meeting convenes at 1 p.m. on Sept. 25 at the Amherst Town Hall.