In elections on Monday, March 4, Neville Hardy beat out Second Selectman Twyla Weed for a three-year term as first selectman, 235 votes to 227. Hardy has served as first selectman for more than 40 years.
Moderator Loring Kydd welcomed nearly 50 people to town meeting. “Town meeting is the purest form of democracy,” he said. During town meeting, most of the warrant articles passed without discussion as snow fell.
In total, voters approved all 70 warrant articles, with a total expenditure of $1,213,852. Of that total, $657,637 will be raised from taxes, with the rest coming from the town’s surplus account, excise tax revenues or state block grant monies.
One major discussion item was an amendment to the warrant article for the transfer station. As written, the selectmen recommended raising $90,500, taking $37,500 from surplus and another $66,500 from excise tax revenues for maintaining the transfer station. During the meeting, resident Mike Wood moved to amend the article by raising an additional $40,000 to “help get rid of the debris pile.” The demolition pile is where non-wood items—everything from couches to roof shingles and more—are dumped.
Each year, some funds are spent hauling off debris from the pile. Last year, the town spent $36,861 shipping off debris, tires and metals from the town’s demolition pile. There are currently no fees for dumping debris in the pile.
Walter Kumiega, a carpenter, said he uses that pile regularly. “The amount hauled away last year was not as much as was added to the pile,” he said. “It’s a fire hazard.”
Steve Rowan, a member of the town’s Conservation Commission, said the commission was considering fees for dumping or possibly a $25 fee per tax bill to help raise monies.
Wood said that would be fine to help with hauling the debris off in the future, but the debris was quite large.
Third Selectman Lew Ellis said that bridge work had restricted the town’s ability to haul off some debris and the town had gotten behind on the pile.
“I think we should wait and remove it a bit at a time,” said Ellis.
Voters approved the amendment and approved the warrant article as amended to bring the total for transfer station funds to $234,500.
Other discussion revolved around adding funds to a few warrant articles for the town to conduct energy audits of town-owned buildings. A motion was made and approved to add $500 for an energy audit of Chase Emerson Memorial Library. The heating budget for the building is $3,500 per year. Another motion to perform an energy audit on the town hall and the former Deer Isle Elementary School building did not pass.