One of the questions on the June 14 Freeport ballot has been in the spotlight for two years, and if voters agree to place a ban on the use of single-use plastic bans in town, it would make Freeport the first town in Cumberland county to do so.

Another question on the local ballot is a proposed amendment to the town charter, simply a “housekeeping” matter, according to Town Manager Peter Joseph.

Regional School Unit 5 voters in Freeport, Durham and Pownal will decide on a proposed $31 million school budget. That’s the only local question on the ballot in Durham and Pownal.

Freeport’s bags question will ask voters if they want to ban single-use plastic bags and impose a 5-cent fee imposed on papers bags. Both restrictions would apply to stores whose sales are more than 2 percent in food.

Josh Olins, chairman of the Recycling/Solid Waste Committee, said that the ballot question on bags, approved by the Town Council last month, is similar to what the committee has recommended to the council. The ordinance amendment replaces an earlier Town Council vote to go to a non-binding referendum, with a fee on both bags.

“I’m thrilled that we are where we are,” Olins said. “I’m glad to see it come to referendum, and I’m confident it will pass handily.”

Town Manager Peter Joseph said that, if passed, the bags ban/fee will go into effect in mid-September.

“It just depends on the voters at this point,” he said.

The amendment to the town charter will bring Freeport into compliance with state law regarding the manner in which the town governs recall and referendum petition drives.

“In Article 8 of the town charter, it outlines petition drives,” Joseph said. “It says they need to be signed in the presence of the town clerk. State election law calls for free circulation of petitions. It will allow for circulation of petitions instead of having people come in and sign a copy. This is how petitions are currently handled in the state.”

RSU 5 voters in Durham, Freeport and Pownal will decide on a school budget for 2016-17.

All 22 articles in the $31,008,672 RSU 5 budget passed in rapid fashion at the annual budget meeting May 25 at. The budget is 5.15 percent more than this year, but RSU 5 is using extra money received last year by the state, plus funds from the undesignated fund balance, to mitigate the impact on taxpayers to 1.19 percent.

The spending package will have virtually no impact in Freeport, which will absorb an increase of 0.25 percent. Durham residents will see a relatively modest 1.25 percent increase. Pownal will get hit a little harder, with an increase of 3.51 percent.

A second article on the RSU 5 ballot asks voters if they want to continue the budget validational referendum process for another three years. Now, RSU 5 conducts a budget meeting, during which residents of the three towns vote on and can amend each article of the budget proposal. If that process is changed, the vote will be on the bottom-line budget figure only.

One of  the signs in front of the Harraseeket Inn in Freeport urges residents to vote for a ban on plastic bags.

A closer look

Locations and times for state/local elections on June 14 in Durham, Freeport and Pownal:

Durham: Durham Community School, 7 a.m.-8 p.m.

Freeport: Freeport High School, 7 a.m.-8 p.m.

Pownal: Mallett Hall, 8 a.m.-8 p.m.


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