The town of Wiscasset will use contingency funds to keep the Wiscasset Community Center open until it can hold a new vote to correct an error on the ballot for the recent annual town meeting by referendum.
The Wiscasset Board of Selectmen voted 5-0 to use $9,000 in contingency funds during an emergency meeting Thursday, Sept. 10.
The relevant question on the Sept. 8 ballot should have read, “Shall the town vote to raise and appropriate the sum of $829,889 for the Parks & Recreation Department?”
The contractor that prints the ballots omitted the words “raise and,” so the vote did not authorize the town to raise the funds from taxation and other revenue.
Town Manager Dennis Simmons told the selectmen that the Maine Municipal Association advised the town to close the community center until it could vote again.
The new chair of the board, Pamela Dunning, said the center needs to stay open because families with children rely on the center. Parks and Recreation Director Duane Goud said 16 families drop children off at the center daily.
The selectmen then voted to use the $9,000 to cover a week of payroll for the center and to hold a special town meeting at the center at 6 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 17, for a vote on a correctly worded warrant article.
Dunning thanked the other selectmen and the town staff for their attention to the issue. Goud thanked the selectmen for their support and said he was pleased to have good news for the people who use the community center.
Simmons said the town will seek to recoup its costs from the contractor that printed the ballots.