Originally published in The Weekly Packet, March 8, 2018
Voters breeze through town meeting warrant
Brooksville resident Barbara Kourajian uses a trash bag and a beer can necklace Tuesday at the annual town meeting to promote a town-wide cleanup coming on May 5. The cleanup event was such a success last year during the town’s bicentennial celebration that they decided to make it an annual event, Kourajian said. She chose Bud Light beer cans because that’s what she finds the most alongside the road. More details about the cleanup will be announced closer to the event.
by Rich Hewitt
It was a no-nonsense town meeting on March 6 as voters in Brooksville breezed through the 89 town meeting warrants in about 90 minutes—including a brief recess. There was little dissension and only a few questions about the town issues, and even the required secret ballot on the school budget generated a unanimous vote.
The only thing out of sorts was procedural. Edson Blodgett was in his regular spot providing a motion for each of the warrant articles, but his counterpart—brother Denis Blodgett, who annually offers a second to Edson’s motions—was reportedly “somewhere in the Pacific” on his annual trip to the Philippines and unavailable for his normal duties. Earl Clifford Jr. filled in throughout this year’s meeting.
Voters approved all of the articles including one authorizing the selectmen to spend $4,000 to survey a portion of the South Wharf Road in West Brooksville. Selectman John Gray explained that the selectmen have been working to improve access to the Bagaduce River at the end of the road, but have had some difficulties. Recent research, he said, has showed that in the late 1700s, when Brooksville was still part of the town of Penobscot, the road was originally laid out as a three-rod (49.5 feet) road. It ran from the landing up to Wharf Road, hung a hard left and then went out to what was then the Penobscot-Sedgwick town line at the Davis Narrows Bridge.
“We’ve had some problems on that road,” Gray said. “But we’ve been very intent on making sure that we get access to the shore. We want to know exactly what we own and where it is.”
One resident questioned whether the survey would establish legal ownership of the road. Moderator Bob Vaughan responded that the survey verifies legal ownership, “it verifies what exists.”
Resident Jerry Andrews urged voters to approve the $4,000 allocation and commended the selectmen for their efforts to expand public access to the water at other sites around town.
“This one is more important—it’s a year-round landing,” he said.
Voters agreed and OK’d the funds.
They also approved $20,000 for the fire department to purchase new Air Packs. Fire Chief Matt Dow explained that the new air packs are needed to replace the existing units that are out of date.
“We can’t do anything with them,” he said. “They’re gone so far that they won’t work.”
Dow said the department had planned to purchase four units this year and seek funding next year for another four. On the recommendation of the company that supplies the air packs, they will purchase eight units this year. The $20,000 will cover four of the units and the department will come up with an additional $20,000 and seek reimbursement from the town at next year’s town meeting. It’s necessary to get all eight units at the same time, he said, so that they will all work together.
The $1.8 million school budget passed easily. The total $1,888,381 budget represents a $14,315 or .76 percent increase from the current school budget.
“This is a maintenance budget,” Superintendent Marc Hurvitt said. “Enrollment is stable, we’re not growing, and this provides a stable budget for Brooksville and still allows us to do what we want to do.”
The budget proposes to increase a half-time ed tech position to full time, and also includes various maintenance projects ranging from electrical and plumbing upgrades to greenhouse improvements and playground equipment.
In municipal elections on Monday, incumbent Mark Blake retained his post as road commissioner defeating challenger Matt Dow 160-25. Pam Storm was the only candidate for a position on the budget and advisory committee and received 175 votes. But, with three spots open, write-in candidate David Zachow also won a seat on that committee. In uncontested races, voters elected Hal Snow, selectman; Amber Bakeman, town clerk; Yvonne Redman, tax collector; Freida Peasley, treasurer; Matt Dow, fire chief; Matthew Freedman and Bradley Jones, school board; and Don Condon and Christopher Raphael, planning board.
Voters also decided two referendum questions, approving a revised planning board ordinance by a vote of 150 to 36 and a revised harbor ordinance, 144-39.