Voters elected newcomer Tom Anderson to the Damariscotta Board of Selectmen, August Avantaggio to the Damariscotta and Great Salt Bay School committees, and approved a new solar ordinance and an amended historic preservation ordinance during the first part of a hybrid annual town meeting on Tuesday, June 8.
Anderson received 88 votes. Incumbent Robin Mayer, the chair of the board, did not run for reelection.
Avantaggio received 107 votes for his first full term on the board. He was appointed last fall to fill a vacant seat.
Voters also reelected William Brewer to the Great Salt Bay Sanitary District Board of Trustees with 103 votes.
All races were unopposed, and 121 votes were cast.
The amended historic preservation ordinance passed by a vote of 92-29.
A charter amendment to make the historic preservation review commission a standing commission of the town also passed by a vote of 97-23. However, according to Town Manager Matt Lutkus, state statute stipulates that at least 30% of town voters who voted in the last gubernatorial election, which would have been 366, had to turn out in order to enact the charter amendment.
Lutkus said by email that the selectmen can place the charter amendment on the ballot in November and the historic preservation review commission will not be affected.
“The commission will continue to exist, it just won’t be a permanent standing entity until the charter amendment is approved,” Lutkus wrote.
According to the warrant for town meeting, the amended historic preservation ordinance will increase the historic preservation review commission from three to five members, “eliminate provisions for expansion of the district beyond the Main Street Historic District and amend and clarify other sections related to demolition of unrepairable structures and the architectural compatibility of new buildings and additions.”
The new solar energy systems ordinance passed by a vote of 96-24.
The ordinance makes 20 acres the maximum size for solar farms. Systems of more than 20,000 square feet in panel area must have visual buffers between the systems and town roads, while systems larger than 2 acres in panel area must have buffers that make them invisible from public roads year-round.
All the budget articles passed by a wide margin.
The municipal budget for fiscal year 2021-2022 totals $3,459,122.37, an increase of $93,097.88 or 2.78%.
In a letter explaining the budget, Town Manager Matt Lutkus said town staff worked to present a budget that would result in a minimal increase to the town’s mil rate.
Currently, the mil rate is $16 per $1,000 of valuation. Under this rate, the owner of a property assessed at $200,000 would owe $3,200.
Voters also validated the town’s secondary education and the Great Salt Bay Consolidated School District budgets by a wide margin.
The Great Salt Bay Consolidated School District budget totals $5,914,876.02, up $206,941.01 or 3.63% from the previous year.
The budget contains all expenses for K-8 education for the towns of Bremen, Damariscotta, and Newcastle.
Under the 2021-22 budget, Bremen and Damariscotta will contribute more than the previous year, while Newcastle will contribute less.
Bremen will pay $810,801.73, up $125,395.88 or 18.3%; Damariscotta $2,192,712.89, up $55,588.99 or 2.6%; and Newcastle $1,726,228.50, down $47,407.16 or 2.74%.
The Damariscotta secondary education budget totals $1,473,548.85, down $319,528.61 or 17.82%. The budget consists of Damariscotta’s expenses for students in grades nine through 12, most of whom attend Lincoln Academy in Newcastle.
The local share of the budget — the figure Damariscotta taxpayers must pay — is $959,472.82, the same as last year.
Damariscotta voters will consider more routine items during the open portion of annual town meeting at Great Salt Bay Community School at 6 p.m., Wednesday, June 9.