Local news and information from
Deer Isle, Isle au Haut and Stonington, Maine.
Visiting the area?
Find where to go and what to do in our Seasonal Guide Visitor's Portal.
Check out our newly rebuilt online store
by Alice Wilkinson
The Thursday, January 3 selectmen’s meeting, the first of the new year, was called mainly to catch up. The last two selectmen’s meetings, which fall on Monday nights, would have been on Christmas and New Year’s eves, so they were cancelled. Most of the meeting was concerned with tying up loose ends.
One item topping the agenda was a proposal from Economic Development Director Matthew Skolnikoff. In order to qualify for Community Development Block Grants, a town must meet the criterion of having 51 percent or more low to moderate income residents. In the last census, Stonington did not meet that criterion.
Skolnikoff suggested, and the selectmen agreed, to have Hancock County Planning Commission draw up and administer an income survey to see if the town now qualifies for CDBGs. HCPC will do the actual reviewing of forms and interviews to provide confidentiality. Its charge is $2,060.
The town’s responsibility is to draw up a list of households (from voting and tax records) and pay for mailing the survey.
Town Manager Kathleen Billings-Pezaris reported that she had gotten a message from the Maine Municipal Association that “[Governor] LePage wants to take the town’s road excise tax.” If his plan is approved, the effect on Stonington would be immediate—last year Stonington collected $204,000 in excise tax. Billings-Pezaris said that money would have to be made up in taxes.
The selectmen decided to purchase four new doors for the gym building.
The doors on the building date from the 1950s. Currently the building is home of the Island Community Center, and the cost of replacing four of those doors will come to around $1,200. Broken down, it’s $400 for the doors themselves, another $275 for crash bars, $300 for waterproofing and insulation, and about $300 in labor.
The lease the ICC has with the town states the town is responsible for the exterior of the building, which includes shingles, windows, siding and doors.
A smaller expenditure, $209 for a ratchet set for Craftsmen tools for the town garage, was approved. The town had been using tools belonging to Charlie Peabody. While on the subject of the public works, Billings-Pezaris told the selectmen that one of the trucks dates from 2008, and they should think about replacing it next year before it begins to “nickel and dime” the town. At previous meetings, the selectmen had discussed the usable life of a truck and had concluded that it is about five years. In preparation for budget work, which begins in earnest next week, Billings-Pezaris has been meeting with the harbormaster, the transfer station manager and the road foreman.