Rangeley voters to consider $4.72 million budget, joining retirement system

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Jun. 7—RANGELEY — Voters will be asked to consider a $4.72 million spending package for 2022-23 on June 14 and to decide on a four-way race for two selectman terms.

Residents will decide a 78-article warrant at the polls, which will be open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the Town Office.

The proposed budget represents an increase of $149,457 over the current spending plan. It does not factor in an estimated $1 million in revenue or assessments for Regional School Unit 78 and Franklin County.

Residents will be asked if they want the town to join the Maine Public Employees Retirement System, effective July 1. If voters approve it, two plans would be offered: The general government employee plan in which the town would pay 10.2% of each participating employee's annual salary; and the public safety plan would require the town to pay 11.4% of an individual employee's annual salary, Town Manager Joe Roach

previously said.

Individual employees would pay 6.85% and 8.2%, respectively, he said.

Board of Selectmen Chairwoman Cynthia Egan previously said during two public hearings that by joining the retirement system it would help the town in hiring and retaining employees.

The warrant also includes $50,000 for premium pay for eligible employees to be funded from the town's $121,978.90 allotment from the American Rescue Plan Act. The town has received half of the funds and expects to receive the other half later in the year.

There is also a proposed 3% cost-of-living increase for nonunion employees in the budget. It also includes an increase of $2,019.26 each for the town clerk and code enforcement officer. The two were new to the jobs when a previous raise was given to

some employees, Egan previously said.

The meeting warrant also includes $224,711 in donation requests.

Voters will also decide on a citizen petition article if they want to buy a 2023 firetruck not to exceed $750,000. It does not include interest or legal fees, which will be up to selectmen to negotiate if residents approve the purchase. Rangeley's share of the truck would be 49.4% with the plantations and unorganized territory in Franklin and Oxford counties picking up the remainder.

There are four people running for two three-year terms on the Board of Selectmen. The candidates with the most votes will fill the seats. The candidates are Jacob "Jake" Beaulieu, Donald "Donnie" Nuttall, incumbent Ethan Shaffer and Samantha "Sam" White.

Shaffer is in his third-year of a three-year term on the board. He told The Rangeley Highlander he is seeking reelection because "I want to give back a little bit and give a perspective from someone that had grown up here, and not to call myself a young board member, but I'm younger than the other board members and I think I have a different perspective. One, because of my occupation, my construction background, and two, because I grew up here and knew some of the things that we as kids wanted or we thought was important."

Beaulieu told the Highlander, "Younger people need to get involved. There is nobody in our

generation really doing it. It seems like everybody that is there has been there and been repeat and then repeat. Which I don't know if that's a good thing or a bad thing but if the town is not happy with some of the choices that the board is making, maybe there's a reason. So, I thought it would be interesting to give it a whirl."

Nuttall told the newspaper, "I've retired. We sold the business. I have the time to do it now. And I think we need a new direction with the selectmen here. We need more transparency. That's for sure."

"I'm just running for the position. I was surprised that there was a couple of other people running but it is what it is. It's not a bad thing," Nuttall said.

Samantha "Sam" White told the Highlander, " I love this town and I want to give back to it. I feel like there are a lot of us that want to step in and try and make a difference. So, with whatever good comes out of this, I hope I encourage others to run in the future and not be afraid to do so."

In other races incumbent Jonathan Adkins is running for one of two positions on the Sewer Commission. No one took out papers for six terms on the Budget Committee or two seats on the Park Commission.

Candidates seeking election to the RSU 78 board of directors are Kayla Alexander for a one-year term to complete a three-year term previously held by Jessica Bottcher, and Danielle Lemay for a two-year term. One two-year term had no seekers.