CSD charter changes pending legislative approval

Boothbay, Boothbay Harbor select boards approve changes
Posted:  Monday, February 18, 2019 - 2:15pm

The Boothbay-Boothbay Harbor Community School District charter may be changing for the first time since it was adopted in 1956 by the Maine Legislature. Boothbay and Boothbay Harbor select boards have approved amendments proposed by a charter commission charged with updating the  63-year-old document. On Feb. 11, Boothbay Harbor selectmen approved the changes and on Feb. 13, Boothbay followed suit with a 5-0 vote. The proposed charter change would require future bond issues with principals of $250,000 or greater to receive approval through a public referendum, adds a competitive bidding requirement for district procurements of $20,000 or greater and removes caps on capital reserve fund contributions.

State Rep. Holly Stover will sponsor the bill, “An Act Amending the Charter of the Boothbay-Boothbay Harbor Community School District.” Boothbay Selectman Steve Lewis believes the proposed legislation is the first step in a possible overhaul of the entire agreement. “In the short term, it accomplishes two things. It removes caps on the capital reserve account and requires voter approval on bond issues,” he said. “It also gives us more time to see what other changes may take place whether it is changes to an RSU (regional school unit) or some other structure.”

In other action, Boothbay selectmen reviewed the first draft of the 2019 town meeting referendum warrant. Town Manager Dan Bryer proposed a $2,166,998 municipal budget for fiscal year 2020. The proposed budget shows a $67,635 increase or 3.22 percent. Bryer reported, “This is a pretty flat budget, but the hydrant increase is responsible for most it, and the town doesn’t have any say on it,” he said.

The proposed warrant has 27 articles. The biggest warrant change regards Joint Economic Development Committee funding. In the past two years, selectmen recommended contributing $25,000, but this year the figure is $17,000. In recent months, the JEDC’s future has been unclear. Bryer reported that the committee is figuring out its next step. “There is a lot of talk that the JEDC has reached its goal,” he said. “The subgroups are still active with the housing and Boothbay Lights and we’re just starting with broadband committee. The committee is discussing whether a new group should be created for implementing what they have created.”

Boothbay selectmen meet next at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 27 in the municipal conference room.