2013-03-06 / News

Freeport to decide school rehab bonds

BY JT LEONARD Times Record Staff

Come June 11, town voters will have to decide on a bond that would fund $16.9 million in renovations and improvements at the high school.

Town councilors Tuesday unanimously approved the referendum’s placement on the June ballot.

If approved, the project would add 31,000 square feet of classroom space, increase the size of the library and add an eight-lane track and athletic field.

It’s a large but necessary expense, Town Council Chairman Jim Hendricks said.

“This project will more than likely raise property taxes,” he said Wednesday, “but it will result, if not in a brand new school, then the next closest thing to it. It adds classrooms and it adds new athletic fields, both of which are (desperately) needed.”

The Regional School Unit 5 Board of Directors approved the expansion project in January. Cost of the renovation would be shared by taxpayers in Durham and Pownal.

Councilors Tuesday also unanimously supported a resolution opposing Gov. Paul LePage’s proposed state biennial budget which, if passed, would eliminate revenue sharing among Maine’s towns and cities, likely prompting local property tax increases.

Town officials say the change could cost the town more than $525,000 and add 38 cents per $1,000 in assessed residential valuation in its first year, then worsen from then on.

Town Manager Peter Joseph plans to present the resolution to state budget committee members during their March 13-14 conference.

In other business, the council set a March 19 public hearing, 6:30 p.m. at the town office, to weigh parking changes along Holbrook Street.


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