Raymond’s annual town meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, June 7, when residents will vote on the municipal budget and seven proposed changes to town ordinances.

The following Tuesday, June 14, the polls will be open all day for residents to vote on the Regional School Unit 14 budget and to elect town officers. The town has open positions on the Board of Selectmen, the Budget-Finance Committee and the school district’s board. No races are contested.

The gross municipal budget for consideration at the town meeting is $4,219,817, with $2,594,238 to be raised by property taxes. The budget has been cut by $84,623 from this fiscal year.

The municipal portion of the property tax rate would decrease by 29 cents from this year, if the budget is approved. For the Raymond resident with a $200,000 home, this would mean $58 in property tax savings.

Selectman Chairman Mike Reynolds said the municipal staff “did a good job balancing what we could accomplish with our current staffing levels.” In balancing the budget, Reynolds said, “we didn’t take on more than we could accomplish. We developed a nice long-term plan for the the next few years.”

One of the changes up for a vote on June 7 would update ordinances to align with the those of the Department of Environmental Protection for a number of uses around waterfront property, including non-conforming structures and uses, vegetation removal and erosion control. The department’s guidelines were revised as of January 2015, and the changes in Article 2 are mandatory for each town, according to Code Enforcement Officer Chris Hanson.

One change to the ordinance will alter how expansions to waterfront property are determined.

Now, residents cannot expand more than 30 percent of the floor area or the volume of their property. The new requirements look at buildings’ footprint and height, not volume, depending on the distance of the building from the high-water mark, according to Hanson.

Hanson said the change will restrict some property owners, but may allow others to do more with their properties, depending on the square footage and height of the home.

Other changes include updates and revisions to the definitions in the ordinances.

Another ordinance change, Article 5, would require appeals to decisions made by the Planning Board to go before the Superior Court, rather than the Board of Appeals.

The decision was made based on the recommendation of the town’s attorney, according to Hanson.

The change would not affect appeals to decisions made by the Code Enforcement Office, which would still be heard by the Board of Appeals.

Stephanie Carver, senior planner at Greater Portland Council of Governments, said it is a standard practice for many towns in the area for appeals to be heard by the Superior Court.

One of the reasons for the change, according to Town Manager Don Willard, is that “it’s not a good idea to have one board in town overseeing the other.”

The Planning Board has different expertise from the Zoning Board of Appeals, Willard said, which makes it difficult for the appeals board to review the Planning Board’s decisions.

It will be a better process, according to Hanson, for the court to review such decisions due to their greater expertise.

Article 8, the final article regarding ordinance changes in the town warrant, makes updates to the town’s fire safety code.

In accordance with the new ordinances, an individual will have to obtain a permit from the fire department before constructing or altering a fire alarm system. Fire alarm systems are a requirement in commercial buildings, schools, churches and residences with more than three units.

The article also alters the requirements for obtaining a permit for installing a stove that burns solid fuel, such as a wood or pellet stove.

A closer look

Raymond’s annual town meeting is Tuesday, June 7, at 6 p.m., at the Jordan-Small Middle School gymnasium. Residents will vote on ordinance changes and the town’s budget.

Residents will vote by secret ballot on the RSU 14 school budget and municipal officers on Tuesday, June 14, from 7 a.m.-8 p.m., at the Jordan Small Middle School gymnasium.

The Raymond town office on Webbs Mill Road. 

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