Monday, May 21, 2007

We Decide, Line by Line

Saturday was our Budget Election. Each May, the village(s) hold an election to vote on the town budget. We have elected officials-- a Board of Selectmen (instead of a Mayor) and a School Committee. We have a Superintendent of Schools and someone who runs the Parks Department.

But none of these folks is in charge of their budgets. We the voters decide, line by line, how the school budget and town funds will be spent.

This year, it was seven 11 x 14 pages, front and back of questions to be decided. We voted on spending $11,800 to repair the recyling facility. We voted yes or no to spend $45,000 for a new harbor master's boat. We had to decide if we should spend $25,000 to repair the Cape Neddick Light Station roof; the entire town had a yea or nay on whether to spend $18,500 to repair a culvert on our street. We voted on Senior Services monies, the library budget, hiring two special education specialists and on the $15 million school budget.

By and large, all measures passed, although we decided not to hire a children's librarian or spend $6.5 million on a new town hall. We're still waiting to hear the decision on the surfing area at Long Sands. The new ordinance would allow town officials to expand the surfing zone on days when waves are high and few swimmers are in the water.

UPDATE: The surfing ordinance has passed. At least that's the rumor in town.

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