During Bristol’s first ever town meeting by referendum on Monday, March 15, 184 voters approved all articles on the warrant, including the municipal and education budgets, funds for the completion of the Bristol Mills fish ladder project, and the creation of a committee to review the town’s comprehensive plan, by wide margins.
Paul Yates was reelected to the Bristol Board of Selectmen with 170 votes, Jeff Eilenberg was reelected to the Bristol Planning Board with 155 votes, and Sandra Lane was reelected as Bristol Parks and Recreation Commissioner with 166 votes.
Emile Lugosch and Rebecca “Becky” Cooper, a retired Bristol Consolidated School teacher, were elected to the Bristol School Committee. Lugosch received 145 votes and Cooper received 169.
All races were uncontested and all terms are three years.
The town’s municipal budget totals $3,182,109.32, an increase of $329,277.39 or 11.54%. The increase is offset by an amount of $514,268 that will be carried forward from last year’s budget.
Town Administrator Chris Hall has said that he does not expect the town’s mil rate to increase as the amount of revenue from construction of new homes and new building permits will likely cover a modest increase in total taxation.
The education budget totals $5,327,248.88, an increase of $71,220.55 or 1.36%. The town operates on a calendar year while the school system operates on a July-June fiscal year.
Voters approved an article to create a committee to “review and propose updates to the Town’s Comprehensive Plan, and report back to the 2022 Town Meeting” by a vote of 169-11.
Bristol adopted its current comprehensive plan in 2004, although the Maine State Planning Office rejected the plan because it did not address town-wide zoning.
Hall has said the state no longer insists that comprehensive plans address town-wide zoning. He originally suggested to the selectmen in October that the town look at revising the plan due to concerns about accelerated development.
Voters also approved $547,634.43 for the completion of the Bristol Mills fish ladder by a vote of 150-30.
There is $180,634.43 allocated for the completion of the phase one contract and $240,000 would be allocated for phase two, which will complete the stonework on the ladder and create a park and footbridge at the site.
The funds are made up of grants and donations, funds from the Bristol Mills dam capital reserve account, and $91,756.60 from surplus.