Jefferson residents will vote on a 1,002.74% increase to fund emergency medical services, a new medical marijuana ordinance, and 30 other warrant articles at its annual town meeting by referendum on Tuesday, March 29.
One of the biggest changes between the 2021 and 2022 warrant is the amount requested to be raised and appropriated for the cost of ambulance service to the town. The request in the 2022 warrant totals $115,788, an increase of $105,288 or 1,002.74%.
Both Waldoboro Emergency Services and Central Lincoln County Ambulance Service provide coverage to Jefferson. Waldoboro EMS serves the northern two-thirds of the town, while Central CLC Ambulance provides coverage to the southern third.
The cost of coverage from Waldoboro EMS is $55,060 from Jan. 1 to June 30, and it is expected to rise for the second half of the year due to changes in Waldoboro’s pension plan for EMS staff, according to previous reporting in The Lincoln County News. In 2021, the cost of Waldoboro’s EMS service was $7,000 to the town of Jefferson.
After a public hearing about the warrant articles on March 7, Jefferson Town Administrator Lynne Barnikow said the figure is a placeholder amount until the town has real numbers from Waldoboro. Waldoboro’s fiscal year runs from July 1 to June 30.
There may be other ways to cover the difference, Barnikow said, should Waldoboro EMS require more for its services.
In 2021, Jefferson paid CLC Ambulance Service approximately $3,500. That number will increase in 2022 to $60,726.
The warrant also includes an article regarding a new medical marijuana ordinance. A previous ordinance, enacted in 2017, prohibited retail marijuana establishments, but as reported previously by The Lincoln County News, Barnikow said the ordinance is not in effect due to subsequent changes in state law.
The Jefferson Select Board approved the proposed ordinance to be included on the annual town meeting warrant, during its meeting on Jan. 26. The proposed ordinance goes into more detail regarding site requirements, permit application process and requirements, and other regulations.
Jefferson currently has two retail medical marijuana dispensaries, Cloud 9, at 50 Rockland Road, and Elevation Station at 132 Waldoboro Road.
Elsewhere in the warrant, the roads and highways budget totals $390,816, an increase of $30,802 or 8.56%. The increase stems entirely from the snow plowing contracts budget item.
Other articles in the warrant related to road work include a request for the town to expend $46,784 from the State Block Grant for the reconstruction of Linscott Road, two separate articles requesting $9,500 and $3,000 be raised and appropriated for Linscott Road, and to appropriate $300,000 for repaving and reconstruction of town roads.
The administration budget for the town totals $386,400, an increase of $5,865 or 1.54%. Small increases to the budget lines for office expenses, insurance/bonding, and elections/town meeting contributed to the increase.
The budget for protection and health services, which includes funds for the Nobleboro-Jefferson Transfer Station, Jefferson Fire Department, emergency management, animal control, and forest fire suppression, totals $177,171, an increase of $6,101 or 3.57%.
A separate article asks voters to raise and appropriate $65,000 for Jefferson Fire and Rescue’s reserve fund.
The unclassified expenses budget, which consists of funding for unorganized cemeteries, public library, Memorial Day, and scholarships, totals $11,933, an increase of $515 or 4.51%.
Claudia Orff-Reed is the only candidate for a seat on the select board. Selectman Greg Johnston is not seeking reelection.
Wayne E. Johnston seeks to retain his position as road commissioner in an uncontested bid.
Four seats are open on the Jefferson Budget Committee. Current members running are Glenn Gervais, Joan Jackson, and Catherine Walker. James Lindsey hopes to replace Chuck Olson, who is not running.
Incumbents are also running unopposed for two seats on the Jefferson Village School Committee. Walter Greene-Morse and John Bernier seek reelection for three-year terms.
Polls will be open for the annual town meeting by referendum from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Tuesday, March 29 at the Jefferson fire station.
Copies of the warrant are available at the town office or at jeffersonmaine.org.