Newcastle residents approved the comprehensive plan with a 391-180 vote Tuesday, June 12.
The comprehensive plan establishes a vision for the future of the town through five “big ideas” or guiding principles. The ideas are: utilizing Main Street, being a lifelong community, celebrating local heritage, preserving Newcastle’s rural character, and increasing innovation, entrepreneurship, and business.
The plan was developed by the Newcastle Local Planning Committee, which has been working on both the plan and a proposed land use code, or character code, for two years.
The code was originally going to be voted on alongside the plan, but the committee decided it was not ready and should be voted on in November instead.
Chris Doherty and Joel Lind were reelected to their positions on the Newcastle Board of Selectmen with 365 votes and 290 votes, respectively. Challenger Nicholas Barth received 188 votes.
Joshua Jacobs was also reelected to his position on the school committee with 495 votes, and Allan Ray was reelected as a Great Salt Bay Sanitary District trustee with 505 votes.
Voters also validated the $1,317,095.14 secondary education budget, and the $2,074,341 elementary education budget.
Both the secondary education budget and the elementary education budget were previously approved during a special town meeting at Great Salt Bay Community School on May 10.
The secondary education budget is an increase of $126,263.71 or 10.6 percent, due to the enrollment of eight more students since last year, according to Central Lincoln County School System interim Superintendent Jim Hodgkin.
Much of the increase comes from the $1,037,589.22 regular instruction budget, which is up $88,105.11 or 9.28 percent.
The budget includes tuition for 82 students, with 79 expected to attend private schools and three to attend public school. Most Newcastle students in grades nine through 12 attend Lincoln Academy.
A $47,405.52 contingency line within the regular instruction budget, an increase of $966.68 or 2.08 percent, will be available in case more students enroll within the next year.
The amount raised through taxes will also be increasing, but not as much as the overall budget.
The budget calls for $1,076,433.30 to be raised through taxes, an increase of $56,959.89 or 5.59 percent from last year.
The elementary education budget is $2,074,341, a decrease of $51,758.07 or 2.43 percent.
Great Salt Bay Consolidated School District’s total 2018-2019 budget is $5,964,864.87, an increase of $180,603.54, or 3.12 percent from 2017-2018.
Despite the overall budget increase, the three towns that make up the school system will pay less toward the budget next year.
Each town’s share of the K-8 student population determines its percentage of the bill after accounting for other revenue sources.
A fund beginning balance of $200,000 – last year’s was only $12,592.48 – and an increase in state funds will offset the spending increase. The district will receive $398,315 in state subsidy, an increase of $93,592.23 or 30.71 percent.
Significant changes in the budget include the addition of a $107,100 contingency for special education, and $27,100 for security assessment services.