WINDHAM — David Tobin said he’s known around town as a conservative, so it will shock some people to learn that he wanted to increase the town’s budget Saturday.

Tobin said he wanted to stop the town from contracting with Cumberland County for its emergency services dispatching. He thinks the contract may save money initially, but could cost the town down the road as the county increases its bill over time to cover additional equipment and staffing.

“Even a conservative will spend money to save money,” Tobin said.

But he didn’t get the chance at the Windham town meeting Saturday, where residents voted 46-37 to adopt the $13.8 million budget drafted by the Town Council. Residents would have had to reject the budget proposal to be able to take up the package item by item and make changes like those Tobin wanted to see.

The meeting in Windham was one of a handful of town meetings held around the state Saturday as residents got together to finish drafting budgets for the next fiscal year, which begins July 1. Most towns with a town meeting form of government met in late winter.

Bill Tracy, the town council chair, said the budget proposal put before the voters saved a deputy fire chief’s position that had been slated to be eliminated. Part of the money for that comes from the dispatch contract, he said, which will save the town $136.000 in the upcoming year and could save up to $225,000 in subsequent years.

But Tobin complained that the town also cut a deputy director of public works, which he thinks is short-sighted. The deputy director not only acts as a foreman on many town projects, he said, he also drives a snow plow route in the winter.

Tracy said the municipal side of the budget will increase taxes about $26 on an average $200,000 home, although the new tax rate won’t be set officially until August.


Townspeople fail to approve shoreland rezoning proposal

Residents rejected a package of shoreland zoning amendments drafted by the town Planning Board, meaning the state will step in to impose restrictions on property bordering lakes, streams and wetlands.

Selectman Peter Burns said the state Department of Environmental Protection had given Buxton a temporary exemption from state-ordered zoning but had said it would put its own rules in place if the town didn’t adopt satisfactory protections at Saturday’s town meeting.

He said residents didn’t seem happy with the requirement and voted down the proposed rezoning.

Most towns adopted changes to shoreland zoning last year after the DEP ordered reviews to make sure bodies of water were adequately protected from overdevelopment on adjacent land.

Burns said there was a good turnout of about 90 residents at the meeting.


Voters reject plan to expand recreational uses of property

Voters rejected a proposal to expand hunting and other recreational uses on town-owned land.

Hunting is already allowed on about 70 percent of the property owned by the town, said Anne Graham, a North Yarmouth selectwoman.

The proposal would have expanded hunting to almost all of the town-owned land, she said, but the ordinance was broadly written to include other recreational uses. She said some residents were worried that more town land would be opened up for uses like ATV riding, which could damage trails and other areas.

Graham said the measure was defeated by a roughly 60 percent to 40 percent margin by about 125 town residents who attended the meeting.

North Yarmouth’s $2,135,189 2010-11 budget was passed with little debate, Graham said. It represents a decrease of nearly 8 percent from last year’s spending package.

Staff Writer Edward D. Murphy may be contacted at 791-6465 or at:

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