From Kennebunk to Freeport, voters in many southern Maine communities will go to the polls Tuesday to decide a variety of local referendum questions, consider multimillion-dollar school budgets and elect town councilors, selectmen and school board members.

Falmouth voters face one of the most contentious ballot issues: whether to redevelop the Plummer-Motz and Lunt elementary schools into a community center and public library. The schools will soon be vacant because the town has built a new elementary school, set to open this fall.

Supporters say the proposal is a chance of lifetime to create a “town campus” in a community that lacks a distinct town center. Opponents have a variety of concerns: whether it’s an appropriate use of town funds; whether the buildings should be sold; and whether the library needs to double in size.

The referendum calls for converting Motz into a community center, renovating Lunt into a new home for the Falmouth Memorial Library and fixing up Plummer to be leased to a private group or company.

The $5.65 million project would be financed with $1.5 million from the town’s reserve funds; $1.25 million to be raised by library trustees; and money to be generated from the sale of several town properties, including the current library, Pleasant Hill Fire Station and land behind the schools.

Falmouth voters also will consider a $26.2 million school budget and a $1.2 million bond referendum to install a wood boiler at Falmouth Middle School.

Cumberland voters will decide whether to ban commercial gravel operations in rural residential neighborhoods following a recent controversy over excavation in West Cumberland.

The town halted a gravel operation in September on land owned by Elvin and Randy Copp on Upper Methodist Road because excavation was being done without proper permits. The Town Council imposed a six-month moratorium on new gravel pit applications in November, then extended it through June to allow for the referendum.

Neighbors and others gathered more than 600 signatures to get the question on the ballot. It’s the first citizen-initiated referendum to change an ordinance in the town’s history.

If the referendum fails, the council will consider an ordinance change that would restrict gravel operations through contract zoning.

Cumberland and North Yarmouth voters will consider a $28.9 million budget for School Administrative District 51, which includes North Yarmouth. They’ll also vote on a proposal to close the Drowne Road Elementary School in Cumberland, which now serves third-graders.

The district’s board of directors voted last year to close Drowne and move third-graders to the Mabel Wilson School in Cumberland. It would cost $481,000 per year to keep Drowne open, according to the ballot question.

Voters in the three towns that make up Regional School Unit 5 — Freeport, Durham and Pownal — will consider borrowing $3 million to build a stadium complex at Freeport High School. It would feature an eight-lane track surrounding a synthetic-turf field with lights, bleachers, a press booth and concessions.

RSU 5 voters also will consider the district’s $23.9 million school budget.

Kennebunk voters face 21 referendum questions, many of them related to the municipal budget and zoning ordinance. They’ll also consider borrowing $600,000 for improvements to the Lower Village, including new sidewalks, curbing, lighting and benches.

Kennebunk, Kennebunkport and Arundel voters will consider a $35.6 million budget for Regional School Unit 21.

Gorham voters will decide whether to borrow $3 million to make improvements to Narragansett Elementary School and build a multipurpose stadium with a synthetic-turf field at routes 25 and 202. They’ll also vote on a $31.2 million school budget.

Windham and Raymond voters will consider a $37.2 million budget for Regional School Unit 14. Yarmouth voters will decide on a $19.3 million school budget.

And voters in Buxton, Hollis, Limington, Standish and Frye Island will consider a $42.3 million budget for School Administrative District 6.

Staff Writer Kelley Bouchard can be contacted at 791-6328 or at:

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