A 30,000 gallon cistern for fire protection near Route 100 and Morse Road, firefighter breathing apparatus, and plenty of paving are among the budget items New Gloucester residents will be asked to consider at Town Meeting on Monday May 1 at 7 pm at Memorial School. Traditionally an opportunity for neighbors to reconnect after a long winter, this year’s gathering will offer the chance to impose a ban on retail marijuana establishments, to establish term limits for selectmen, and to enact zoning ordinance changes, as well as set the municipal budget. The warrant for the meeting, detailing the budget articles and other initiatives, can be viewed here.
For the municipal budget, some $4.32 million in expenditures is proposed, about a 6 percent increase over current spending. Departmental operating expenses are up across the board; employee merit pay and new per diem stipends for emergency rescue staff on call overnight, seen as a first step in closing the pay gap with neighboring towns’ EMTs, are included as well. Recommended capital improvements exceed $300,000, up from about $145,000 this year. Equipment and vehicles for the public works, transfer station, and fire departments, and funds for library repairs and bridge work lead the requests. The care and feeding of New Gloucester’s roads, parking areas, and ditches are covered under a separate paving line item, $286,000 for fiscal 2018.
Zoning initiatives up for a vote include one requiring notice to abutters whenever a new commercial business or conversion is proposed for Planning Board site review. Another exempts forest wetlands and wetlands less than 1/10 acre in size from the current 100-foot buffer requirement. Yet another requires planning board approval of importation of demolition debris, tires, stumps, or other waste for storage or processing. Also on the zoning docket are measures aimed at streamlining the development review process.