Modest increases approved for school, city spending

Sanford residents voted overwhelmingly Tuesday to approve proposed municipal and school budgets, and to clarify the process to appeal City Council votes.

Just over 1,700 of the city’s 13,300 registered voters cast ballots.

The $21.6 million municipal budget was approved by a vote of 1,070-621. The budget is up 1.86 percent or $395,117 from the current year. City Manager Steven Buck said the proposed budget maintains city services and programs, but reduced or cut four positions.

The $35.1 million school budget was approved by a vote of 1,079-618. The budget is up 1.15 percent, or about $399,000, from the current year.

The district saw a minimal increase of less than $100,000 in the state education subsidy, while also dealing with significant increases in fixed costs such as oil and contracted teacher raises.

Residents also voted 963-607 in favor of a $1.5 million bond for school energy conservation projects, including improvements to the roofing system, windows, exterior walls, heating, ventilation, electrical systems and lighting at Sanford High School.

Residents voted 917-598 to repeal a time limit to file petitions to overturn City Council votes. After a new charter was approved in 2012, it gave no time constraints for filing a request for petitions.

To remedy that omission, the City Council voted to add language to specify that residents have 14 days after a council vote to request a petition.