Kingfield committee begins budget work
KINGFIELD — Prior to reviewing requests at the April 10 meeting, Jim Meldrum asked his fellow Budget Committee members if organizations and committees making requests needed to be present to ask for money. In the past, the committee preferred having a representative from each organization formally make the request before the board.
“I would like to see faces but there are a couple of entities here that don’t have the resources to be here,” stated Steve Yates. The committee agreed to review the requests and if a representative was not present and there were questions, the organization would be invited to the April 24 meeting.
Yvonne Woodcock represented Bridging the Gap, a community service project that provides a meal once a month to the elderly and those that are home bound. Woodcock stated local organizations and restaurants help with food donations, and volunteer drivers deliver the meals. She stated each month between 40 and 60 meals were delivered to residents. The project does more than just provide a meal, Woodcock explained, “This is about the community connecting with these folks,” she said. Bridging the Gap is requesting $600, which Woodcock said calculates out to about 50 cents per meal.
Woodcock also represented United Methodist Economic Ministry, making a request for $2,500 to be used in the food pantry. Woodcock told the committee that funding is essential for providing help to families in need. Last year the UMEM Food Cupboard served an average of 20 Kingfield families each month, providing each family member with three meals for three days.
It was noted that a Kingfield Festival Days committee had been organized and the request for $5,000 would help fund the annual event. Tammy Goldfrank stated, “A couple of young women with a lot of energy have stepped up to the plate. They are meeting every Friday night for a while. If anyone is interested in helping out, join them at 5 p.m. in Webster Hall.”
Goldfrank spoke on behalf of Maine’s High Peaks regarding the organization’s $6,000 request. “We are northern Franklin County’s Chamber of Commerce. We represent businesses, non-profits and recreation. We promote tourism,” she explained.
Realizing there has been confusion in the community about what Maine’s High Peaks was, and how the organization was involved with Flagstaff Area Business Association, Goldfrank stated, “Poland Spring is part of Nestlé. Sugarloaf is, or was, part of Boyne. Maine’s High Peaks is park of FABA.”
Maine’s High Peaks recently released its third annual Visitors’ Guide and Goldfrank stated almost every business in Kingfield is either in the book or is a member of the association. The requested funds would be used as leverage for matching grants to help market the area and produce the guide, which is widely distributed at tourism shows.
“We do a really good job of supporting people in Kingfield but we don’t do a good job of supporting businesses. There are seven restaurants in town. Locals can not support those restaurants. We need tourism,” Goldfrank said.
Lisa Standish who owns Mountain Village Farm B&B said she was a member of the organization. “In the summer there are a lot of Canadians who stop at the Visitor Center and they are sent my way. And they promote my Blues in the Barn concert series,” she said.
Kingfield Sno-wanderers Trail Master Jim Boyce stated Maine’s High Peaks took 500 club snowmobile maps to a snowmobile show to distribute. “It costs a lot of money to set up a booth at one of those shows,” Boyce noted.
Polly MacMichael represented Kingfield Trail Builders, a volunteer bike trail group requesting $4,000. MacMichael explained last year the group built a half mile of trail on the town-owned lot off Stanley Avenue. A total of 1.5 miles of beginner trails have been laid out on the 7.5 acre lot.
MacMichael said the group was investigating whether to go non-profit or, as she pointed out the Comprehensive Plan directs, be a part of the Recreation Department.
Meldrum asked if the trail was specifically a bike trail and MacMichael noted it was a non-motorized trail and the group had hopes of having trails open for Nordic skiing in the winter.
Selectman Wade Browne asked if the group had a plan in place to rescue people on the trails. “Carrabassett Valley has a great trail system but they have no plan to get people out of there,” Browne remarked. MacMichael said at this point, either Stanley Avenue or Maple Street were visible from the trail.
“We need to know who is asking for the money,” stated Neil McCurdy, “Is it a club or the Recreation Committee? You need to figure that out before we vote in two weeks.”
The Budget Committee will vote on each request at the April 24 meeting, deciding whether or not to recommend funding. Voters will make the final decision at the Town Meeting June 3.
The Board of Selectmen made a final review of the proposed budget and made recommendations for program requests at its April 3 meeting. Selectmen recommend funding the following programs as requested: American Red Cross $500; Bridging the Gap $600; Celebrations/Fireworks $5,000; Economic Ministry $2,500; Franklin County Chamber of Commerce $300; Kingfield Artwalk $1,500; Kingfield Christmas Lights $500; Kingfield Festival Days $5,000; Kingfield Historical Society $1,200; Kingfield POPS $5,000; Kingfield Sno-Wanderers $3,000; Kingfield VEC Planters $3,000; MPBN $365; Safe Voices $1,000; Stanley Museum $5,000; Webster Library $10,000; Kingfield Flags $500; and AT Community Celebration $500.
The Board recommended funding Maine’s High Peaks at $2,500 instead of the requested $6,000. Selectmen also recommended funding the Kingfield Fire Department Auxiliary at $1,000 instead of the requested $5,000.
They recommended not funding Community Concepts (requested $1,000); Work First (requested $700); Healthy Equity Alliance (requested $500); and LifeFlight of Maine (requested $997). They made no recommendation on a $4,000 request from Kingfield Trail Builders due to lack of information.
The board voted to move forward with the Village Enhancement Committee street lighting project. The total project would include streetlights from Western Maine Pharmacy to Narrow Gauge Parkway and would cost about $800,000. Voters will review and vote on the project at the June 3 Town Meeting.
Finally, the board decided not to move forward with the VEC Riverfront Trail Head project on Mill Street due to continued lack of unanimous easement agreements from Mill Street property owners.
The Budget Committee will meet April 24. Kingfield Selectmen will meet May 1. Meetings are held in Webster Hall at 6 p.m.
Nomination papers are available for two three-year Selectmen positions, and two three-year and one one-year MSAD #58 School Board of Director positions. Terms are expiring for Selectmen Wade Browne and John Dill, and School Directors Kim Jordan, Julie Talmage and Peter Manning. Papers can be picked up at the Town Office. They must be returned by April 28 with the required number of signatures in order to be considered a candidate for June elections.