This letter was sent to the Gorham Town Council on March 17:

I and others watched the Town Council meeting on March 10. There was an item on this agenda from the School Department asking the council to send to referendum an additional spending request at the Narragansett School in the amount of $750,000.

I witnessed the board “not” vote on this item either way. I have since been advised that the School Department is choosing to use “unused funds” from the expansion money toward a kitchen (that was not originally a part of an approval) and further they plan to use $249,000 of taxpayer money (keeping it under the referendum threshold.) Therefore, it is spending roughly $500,000 of taxpayer money without taxpayers’ vote or authorization,which is clearly against the town’s charter.

This is very disappointing as taxpayers rely on honest budget spending and this does not pass the straight face test.

I assume that by the council taking no action either way you assumed that this issue was dead? And for that reason and for the lack of transparency on the part of the School Department, I would like to hereby request reconsideration of this item. Please place it on the next available agenda. I think it is very important that taxpayers have the opportunity to comment on this.

The town charter is very specific in that spending (without referendum vote) of over $250,000 is not allowed. The town officials must respect the charter. In the past the voters were asked to increase this amount for spending and if I recall they voted against it, leaving the cap of $250,000, so doing this behind their back is wrong, in my opinion.

Paul Smith