GORHAM – A Gorham School Department workshop meeting planned for Tuesday to discuss the proposed $31.3 million school budget with the Town Council was unexpectedly postponed.

The town referendum on the school budget is less than a month away, and the budget workshop was to follow Tuesday’s special Town Council meeting.

Matt Robinson, chairman of the Town Council, said the joint workshop was re-scheduled for 7 p.m. on Thursday, May 26, in Gorham Municipal Center, 75 South St.

Dennis Libby, chairman of the School Committee, said Wednesday “nothing earth shattering” had happened. “We will be ready to present it on Thursday,” Libby said.

Libby said the school panel wanted more time to verify all numbers before its public meeting with the Town Council. The School Committee in April unanimously approved the budget proposed by Superintendent Ted Sharp.

Sharp’s proposed budget is up $917,807 from $30.4 million for the present fiscal year. The proposed budget includes $1.7 million in payments for the new $21 million Great Falls Elementary School under construction.

The proposed schools spending plan would increase the Gorham tax rate 13 cents per $1,000 of assessed valuation.

A public hearing on the municipal budget has been set for Tuesday, June 7, when the Town Council would likely consider both the school and town sides of the budget. If the Town Council approves it, Gorham voters will be asked to ratify the school budget in a referendum on Tuesday, June 14.

Meanwhile, in another matter, town officials said Tuesday construction replacing some aging sidewalks in downtown Gorham would get under way at the end of May.

The council Tuesday accepted a $228,912 bid from Design Dwellings Inc., a Gorham company, to replace sidewalks at the intersection of routes 25 and 114 in Gorham Village.

Town Manager David Cole said the town had been awarded a $150,000 community block grant for the sidewalks project and the Town Council appropriated additional money. Grant funds only covered sidewalks on three of the fours corners at the intersection.

“It will spruce up a prime area in the village,” Cole said.

Chris Duchaine of Design Dwellings anticipated the project would start Tuesday, May 31, and he expected the work to be completed in four weeks. Engineer Les Berry of BH2M said that each of the village businesses impacted by the sidewalk construction had been consulted at least twice.

Concrete sidewalks will be installed replacing older brick ones.

“We’re ready to roll,” Cole said.


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