Utility facility upgrades, budget, zoning, more on the Kennebunk ballot

A plan, drawn by Sebago Technics, outlines the improved installation of utilities on Sea Road in Kennebunk if voters approve an $11 million bond on June 14. The project reconfigures parts of the existing installation, improves and reuses others and contains new functionalities. Voters are heading to the polls to take action on this measure, the annual municipal budget and more. Image courtesy/Town of Kennebunk

KENNEBUNK – Voters will decide on June 14 whether to bond $11 million for improvements and new construction at 36 Sea Road utility facilities, act on six other bond issues, ordinance changes and on the municipal budget for the new financial year which begins July 1.

In addition to electing some board members, RSU 21 trustees and others, voters will vote on the terms of the annual municipal meeting which is conducted by secret ballot.

Voters will decide whether they want to amend the charter to change all references to the selector council and the selector to select the council and the president to preside. The select council voted to change its name a few years ago, but the charter contains the old language and a vote of residents is needed to change it.

Voters will decide if they want to approve a new comprehensive plan.

They will decide if they want to change the city’s health insurance plan to include domestic partners.

Voters will decide whether they wish to change the zoning classification of the Barnard Tavern property at 9 Barnard Lane from the residential area of ​​the Village to the mixed-use area of ​​Portland Road. The tavern adjoins the mixed-use neighborhood. Owners Randy and Kari Gates plan to rebuild the old tavern – it was demolished earlier this year due to structural issues – and create an inn there.

Voters will act on a contract area between Kyick Holdings, LLC and the city for improvements to The Pilot House property in the Lower Village. The proposal includes demolishing and rebuilding the reconfigured restaurant on the land at 2-4 Harbor Lane, bringing the Spirit of Massachusetts from its mooring in the Kennebunk River and into a steel cradle on the property, among other improvements.

Voters will act on a proposed wetland mitigation ordinance.

They will vote on changing the fireworks ordinance to extend the distance between the detonation of any fireworks and the nearest structure from 20 to 75 feet. Fireworks permit applicants would be required to submit a hand-drawn sketch showing their property and the 75-foot buffer zone; and the fireworks would be limited to 30 minutes.

They will decide if they want to use $866,000 of the surplus to buy a range of equipment and carry out repairs in several areas, from public safety to technology.

Voters will also act on a total municipal budget of $20.6 million that is offset by $6.5 million in revenue, leaving about $12.5 million to be raised through property taxes. Kennebunk Chief Financial Officer Joel Downs said the net increase to the municipal budget is $1.66 million, which translates to 60 cents on the mil, or tax rate, an increase of 4 .25% compared to the current year.

Proposed improvements to the utilities facility include new fleet administration and maintenance space, vehicle storage, laundry area, five work areas, lockers, showers and a break room and training; an overhead crane, a new cold storage building, better traffic flow, code compliance and more. The existing fleet garage would be refitted.

The Utilities Garage currently services over 85 vehicles for Police, Fire, Utilities, Parks and Recreation, Codes and Assessment in two garage bays.

According to city officials, the department has outgrown the existing building, has limited ventilation and mechanical systems, code compliance issues, and insufficient site space and utilization due to a lack of storage and parking of building and equipment, among other shortcomings.

The total cost of the project is $13.7 million. Voters in 2017 approved a $2.7 million bond, issued in August 2021, with a 15-year repayment. On June 14, they will decide to bond $11 million for the project.

Other bond issues include $3.3 million for road paving, sidewalk repairs and drainage; $600,000 for fire and emergency medical equipment and repairs; $405,000 for an excavator and a single-axle plow/dump truck; $1.5 million for a fire department ladder truck to replace an aging model and $1.6 million to convert an existing pension plan for fire and police personnel to a different plan.

In total, the total principal amount of the new bond and projected interest is $24.48 million. Kennebunk has $17.1 million in principal and interest already guaranteed, and has already authorized about $640,000 in principal and interest on unissued bonds, according to the city assembly’s mandate.

Voters will also decide whether they want to validate the $54.3 million RSU 21 budget approved by voters at the district budget meeting on May 16. The ratepayer share of the RSU 21 budget is $44.9 million, about $222,000 less than the current year, resulting in savings to Kennebunk ratepayers of about $24.

For a voter guide produced by the City Clerk’s Office, visit www.kennebunkmaine.us/DocumentCenter/View/13875/Voter-Guide-2022-06-14-FINAL.

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