HARPSWELL — Along with two contested elections, residents will vote on the town’s 2010 budget at Town Meeting on Saturday, March 20, at Harpswell Islands School.

The proposed $4 million municipal budget is down about 1 percent from last year. Harpswell’s budget runs on a calendar year, so the budget approved at Town Meeting will apply to January through December of this year.

At the start of the meeting voters will cast secret ballots for elected officials and on one referendum question.

Incumbent Selectman James Henderson is being challenged by Alison Hawkes for his seat and incumbent Dorothy Carrier is challenged by Linda Hall for a seat on the SAD 75 Board of Directors. Both are three-year terms. All other elections are uncontested.

The referendum question asks the town to spend nearly $120,000 for the Curtis Memorial Library in Brunswick. Henderson and Selectman Elinor Multer and the Budget Advisory Committee recommend the expenditure, while Selectman Mark Wallace did not.

Two warrant articles ask residents to vote on one of two versions of a Harpswell blasting ordinance. Article 10, recommended by Henderson but not by Multer and Wallace, is proposed by the Planning Board. The ordinance in Article 11, which can be passed over if Article 10 is approved, is recommended by all three selectmen and primarily requiresb that notice be given to all abutting property owners.

The Article 10 ordinance has additional provisions concerning water testing prior to blasting so that data before and after can be compared, “to ensure that the neighbors are protected from the blasting that occurs.”

Article 48 asks voters to approve borrowing up to $600,000 to purchase emergency service vehicles that would be owned by the town and leased to local fire departments. The Cundy’s Harbor, Orr’s/Bailey Island and Harpswell Neck departments are independent entities from the town.

The secret-ballot portion of the meeting will begin at 9 a.m., followed by the business meeting at 10 a.m.

A copy of the warrant, including support recommendations from selectmen and appropriate committees, can be viewed at the www.harpswell.maine.gov.

Steve Mistler can be reached at 373-9060 ext. 123 or [email protected]

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