Residents of Bath, Brunswick, Freeport, Harpswell and Topsham will take to the polls Tuesday, July 14, to decide on a handful of local and state questions, including school budget validation referendums.

Municipal and state officials have encouraged absentee voting given the coronavirus pandemic. Those who vote in person should expect longer wait times, due to the 50-person gathering limit, six-foot social distancing measures, and extra sanitization practices, according to information posted at maine.gov. Election workers will wear face coverings or face shield and be behind tabletop protective shields, and voters are highly encouraged to wear face coverings, although they can still vote without them.

The statewide referendum includes a $15 million bond issue to fund high-speed internet for areas that are underserved or not served at all, which would match up to $30 million in other funds. Another bond issue, for $105 million, would fund statewide highway and bridge improvements, as well as “multimodal facilities or equipment related to transit, freight and passenger railroads, aviation, ports, harbors, marine transportation and active transportation projects,” which would be matched with an estimated $275,000,000 in other funds, according to the question.

Area ballots include the Democratic election primary for Maine’s second U.S. Senate District include Sara Gideon of Freeport, Bre Kidman of Saco and Elizabeth Sweet of Hallowell.

Bath

Voting will take place at Bath Middle School from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Residents of Bath, along with those in Arrowsic, Phippsburg and Woolwich, will decide on a $38.2 million Regional School Unit 1 budget.

Another ballot question concerns a proposed school revolving renovation fund to pay for converting from steam to hot water, along with health abatements at the Dike Newell elementary school in Bath. The state Department of Education has awarded the district a loan of about $365,000 at zero interest, of which the Maine Municipal Bond Bank will forgive 51%.

Voters will also decide whether to raise $215,000 for RSU 1’s school nutrition program. That expenditure is part of the district’s budget, but the Education Department recommends it be raised as a separate article.

Brunswick

Voting takes place at Brunswick Junior High School from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Residents will vote on an approximately $42 million school budget.

Freeport

Polls are open at Freeport High School from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Residents will vote on a $34.88 million school budget for Regional School Unit 5, which includes Freeport, Durham and Pownal, along with a $209,000 RSU Adult Education program budget, a $3.02 million career and technical education budget, and a transfer of $200,000 from undesignated fund balances to the Region 10 Technical High School capital reserve fund.

Harpswell-Topsham

Voting in Harpswell will take place from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., at Harpswell Community School and the Topsham Fairgrounds Exhibition Building.

Voters from Topsham, Harpswell, Bowdoin and Bowdoinham granted preliminary approval to School Administrative District 75’s $46 million spending plan at a district budget meeting June 25. The package now goes to a final budget validation referendum July 14.

With Harpswell having canceled its March town meeting this year in light of the pandemic, its $5.35 million municipal budget instead goes to voters July 14. Residents will also vote on a series of local referendum questions that include borrowing up to $450,000 for Recycling Center improvements and $300,000 to build an emergency services communications tower on Orr’s Island; spending $327,500 for a Town Office HVAC system replacement, office equipment, land acquisition and improvements, and boat and motor replacement; and raising $365,000 for long- and short-term principal and interest payments.

Voters will also decide on amendments to the Wireless Telecommunications Facilities Ordinance that would allow a cell tower to be located in the general area where a water tower once stood at Mitchell Field. They will also vote on having the Board of Selectmen forge a lease agreement of up to 40 years with Blue Sky Towers, a Massachusetts company that would erect a wireless communications tower, no taller than 200 feet, on a piece of town-owned land at Mitchell Field.

Topsham’s budget, normally to have been approved this spring at Town Meeting, is due to go to a July 29 gathering at the Topsham Fairgrounds, according to Town Manager Derek Scrapchansky.

House/Senate primaries

Contested state legislative Democratic primary elections include Matthea Daughtry and Stanley Gerzofsky of Brunswick for Senate District 24 (Brunswick, Freeport, Harpswell, North Yarmouth and Pownal); Kathryn Biberstein and Melanie Sachs of Freeport for House District 48 (Freeport, part of Pownal); and Poppy Arford, Corinne Perreault and Katherine Wilson for House District 49 (part of Brunswick).

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