Regional School Unit 5 made history Tuesday when all three member towns – Freeport, Durham and Pownal – voted in favor of its 2016-2017 budget.

Not only did the $31,008,672 budget pass easily, by an aggregate vote of 1,311-455, but also the vote marked the first time since RSU 5 was formed in 2009 that Pownal approved the budget, which is a 5.15 percent increase from this year. RSU 5 officials were able to make the spending level more palatable to voters by using money from the undesignated fund balance and extra funding received last year by the state to lower the impact on taxpayers to 1.19 percent.

In Freeport, the budget impact on property taxes will be 0.25 percent. Durham residents will see a relatively modest 1.25 percent tax increase. Pownal will get hit a little harder, with an increase of 3.51 percent.

In the annual budget meeting held May 25 at Durham Community School, voters quickly passed all 21 articles in the budget package, with barely a comment. Tuesday’s budget vote was on the bottom line budget number only.
In town-by-town results, Durham residents supported the budget 198-115, Freeport passed it 1,006-262 and Pownal approved the spending, 107-78.

In article 2 of Tuesday’s RSU 5 referendum, voters approved sticking with the referendum process, 1,258-470. The vote in Durham was 234-72, Freeport was 885-354, and Pownal was 139-44.

Pownal residents who voted Tuesday at Mallett Hall made history, giving the town’s blessing to the a Regional School Unit 5 budget for the first time.

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