News Feature

Brooklin
Originally published in The Weekly Packet, March 21, 2013
Brooklin Town Meeting
Incumbents unchallenged in Brooklin races

by Rich Hewitt

There will be three seats open during the municipal elections at the annual town meeting this year, and in each case the incumbent is running unopposed.

Selectman Mike Roy is seeking another three-year term; Tax Collector Sharon Freethey is running for another three-year term; while Neil Allen is seeking another one-year term as the town’s road commissioner.

Roy is finishing his first term as a selectman, having served on the board for three years. He said he has enjoyed the work at the town office.

“I enjoy doing stuff for the town,” he said. “I handle a lot of the financial stuff, and I worked a lot on the budget process. I enjoy that.”

Roy said that one thing he is proud of is that, this year, the town will pay off its last outstanding loan.

“In 2013-14, we’ll make the final vault payment and we won’t owe anything to any debtors,” he said. “That’s really a good thing for the town as a whole.”

Although there are no major issues facing the town in the immediate future, Roy said he is concerned about the state’s plan to turn over the state roads in town to the town at some point. The plan, he said, calls for the state to fix up those roads to the point where they won’t need repairs for another 10 years and then turn over responsibility for them to the town.

“The question is whether they will fix them up or just turn them over to us,” he said. “That’s one of the big fears I have.”

Having to maintain those roads in addition to the existing town roads would have a huge impact on the town budget, at least doubling the amount the town now spends. If the state doesn’t repair the roads before that, Roy said, the impact on the town budget would be even greater.

Not surprisingly, roads were also on the mind of Road Commissioner Neil Allen, who has served in the position for 37 years.

“It’s all I know now,” he joked. “Most of the time it’s been a pretty good job. There’ve been a few headaches, but overall it’s been good.”

He said the road commissioner post fits in well with his other business.

But, he said, he is concerned about the pace of the work the town does on the roads and, in his report to the town, he expressed that concern.

“We’re not doing enough work on the roads,” he said. “There’s no plan in place for reconstruction. And we try to do as much paving as we can, but it’s not enough.”

The selectmen have indicated that the budget this year includes additional funds for more paving. Allen said that will help the situation.

Sharon Freethey says the tax collector position is a “real people person job.”

She should know. She’s been the town’s tax collector for 19 years.

“It is really a fun job,” she said. “I get to see everyone in town and I get to know what’s going on in town.”

Most of the time, she said, people are happy to see her.

There are no major challenges coming up, Freethey said, but added that there’s a lot to keep track of and it helps having been in the post for so long.

The town hall is a good place to work, she said.

“The selectmen are a good crew to work with,” she said. “That makes the job nice.”

Voting for municipal officers will take place on Friday, April 5. The town meeting will be held on April 6.