Edgecomb voters will consider the 2020-2021 education budget again, with a few changes, in a referendum vote Thursday, Oct. 15.
The polls will be open from 1-7 p.m. at town hall. A public hearing on the ballot will take place via Zoom at 6 p.m., Monday, Sept. 28.
In a special meeting Wednesday, Sept. 9, the Edgecomb Board of Selectmen approved the new ballot questions submitted by the Edgecomb School Committee.
The school committee approved changes to the budget Sept. 8 after voters rejected several budget-related questions in the annual town meeting by referendum Aug. 29.
The new budget requires $775,114 in additional local funds beyond the amount set by the state’s Essential Programs and Services Act, down $100,000 from the previous figure.
The committee will also ask voters to transfer $230,000 into a non-lapsing capital improvement reserve, down from $250,000.
The school committee also eliminated a proposal to transfer $50,000 into a non-lapsing emergency reserve fund.
The overall 2020-2021 budget still stands at $3,312,286.
Selectman Ted Hugger, who attended the meeting remotely, said he still has concerns with the capital improvement reserve.
“I just don’t like the idea of an undesignated reserve fund that’s solely at the discretion of the school committee,” Hugger said. “It ignores the fact that we’re supposed to have true transparency. It’s shady that way.”
Hugger also took issue with an article asking voters to authorize the school committee to transfer more than 5% of the total appropriation for a cost center to another cost center. He said he would like to see a cap of 10% or 15%.
The selectmen invited AOS 98 Superintendent Keith Laser to the meeting to answer their questions. According to Laser, the ability for the school committee to transfer funds in excess of 5% is important.
“Say there’s $100,000 (in a cost center). If there’s $20,000 left over, the school board should be able to manage that,” Laser said.
He said there is rarely much left in a cost center at the end of the school year, but when there is, the school committee should be able to use that money. He cited this year’s transportation budget, which had a surplus because schools unexpectedly closed in March.
“I don’t think they’re going to do it unless they really need to, but there are things that come along in the course of a school year where money’s needed,” Laser said.
The selectmen also added two warrant articles, asking voters to rescind votes from the Aug. 29 referendum and approve different measures in their place.
One article asks voters to change the due date of taxes from Oct. 31 to Nov. 30, with 7% interest on late payments to begin accruing Dec. 1.
The second article asks voters to raise and appropriate $97,000 for repairs and paving on Mill Road. The previous warrant incorrectly said Cross Point Road.