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Originally published in The Weekly Packet, July 28, 2011
Brooklin makes plans to address its future
Fire truck purchase approved, gift accepted

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by Faith DeAmbrose

With the sun shining and the smell of freshly varnished flooring wafting through the air, two dozen Brooklin voters gathered at the Brooklin School to satisfy the warrant of a July 23 special town meeting.

After electing George Eaton as moderator, the assembly quickly appropriated $5,000 from the town’s “undesignated funds” (surplus) account “for the purpose of controlling speed on town roads from the period of January 1 through June 20, 2012.” Selectman Albie Smith said the money was “in addition” to the $5,000 raised at April’s annual town meeting, and that $10,000 would be paid to the Hancock County Sheriff’s Department to cover the town for the year.

Voters expressed concerns about speed in particular areas of town, most specifically West Brooklin, and the selectmen said they would share the concerns with HCSD.

With a vote to appropriate $110,000 from the town’s Fire Truck Reserve account, combined with $60,000 raised in April, voters gave the green light to the purchase of a new fire truck. The truck is expected to cost approximately $248,000. The remainder of the funds (approximately $78,000) will be raised or appropriated at the next annual town meeting in April 2012. Fire Chief Sam Friend explained that by making the down payment at this time, the town would save $7,000 on the overall cost.

With unanimous support, voters accepted a two-acre land gift from Wade and Forrest Dow. The property is currently the home of the Dow’s business, Bridges Point Boat Yard. Voters also granted the Dows a life lease on the property.

According to Smith, the property will remain a working business, but the town can use the property for the remainder of the lease. Those wishing to launch a boat will need to yield the boat launching facility to the Dows if needed for their business. Neither Wade nor Forrest were able to attend the meeting, but Wade’s wife Helena was in attendance and received a round of applause after the vote was taken.

In other business, voters heard an update from the town’s Compensation Committee, which was seated under a directive approved at last year’s town meeting. Member Peter Sly began his presentation by reviewing data the committee collected regarding compensation/stipends as compared to other area towns. The committee’s two other members are George Eaton and Brenda Means.

“We have harmony we haven’t had in Brooklin for many years,” said Sly, referring to the rather public (attempted) resignation of the board of selectmen during the 2010 town meeting, the infighting of the town officials in 2005-06 and the near “recall” of another board member in 2006. “The sun is shining, this is a let’s-fix-the-roof kind of moment,” he said.

Without expounding on what the data collected actually means, Eaton, a former selectman, said the committee was recommending that the town hold a public forum in the fall “to take a look at the town government and see where we want it to go in the future.” Eaton said the committee could create an agenda for the forum and “any issue would be open for discussion.”

With overwhelming support, voters motioned to allow the committee to begin preparation for the meeting, with more details to come as fall approaches.