Old Orchard Beach voters will decide June 10 if they want to spend $12.5 million on education and authorize a land easement that will allow for parking and handicap accessibility improvements at the Harmon Museum.

The proposed $12.5 million school budget is the first developed since Dayton and Saco voted to leave Regional School Unit 23, which now consists solely of Old Orchard Beach. At a regional budget meeting in May, voters cut just over $121,000 from the $12.6 million budget recommended by the school board.

The budget, which does not require layoffs or cuts to programs, would add $1.27 per $1,000 of assessed property value, or about $254 to the tax bill of a $200,000 home.

Jerome Plante, a school board member, said Old Orchard Beach has historically been supportive of education and is optimistic that will continue.

“We felt we couldn’t substitute mediocrity for an optimal level of education just because the RSU was dissolving,” he said in support of the level of spending proposed for the new budget. “We’re encouraged by the reception we’ve had at public hearings.”

Voters will also consider a referendum question that, if approved, would grant a land easement to Saco & Biddeford Savings Institution to build and maintain a parking lot behind the Harmon Museum, which sits on town-owned land and does not have parking or a handicap-accessible entrance.

Town planner Jeffrey Hinderliter said the plan stems from the need to provide Americans with Disabilities Act-compliant access for volunteers and visitors. Without that access, the town could be vulnerable to complaints filed with the Maine Human Rights Commission, he said.

The permanent easement agreement would allow the bank to build a parking lot behind the Harmon Museum that would be used for both bank employees and museum visitors. The bank also would build an ADA-compliant pathway from the parking lot and a ramp to the museum’s front door.

During a May 27 public hearing on the referendum question, several neighbors of the museum and said they are concerned about the plan.

“Because this parking lot is so close to our house and property line it will be impossible to mitigate any of this noise and light pollution issues and complete invasion of our privacy. This will severely affect our quality of living as we now know it and it will certainly have a major effect on the financial value of our property,” said Paul Dornan, whose property abuts the museum and the area where the parking lot would be built.

Museum volunteers spoke in favor of approving access and providing parking for volunteers and visitors, many of whom are elderly and have difficulty getting into the museum now.

If voters approve the easement, the bank still will have to seek planning board approval for the parking lot.

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