Originally published in Island Ad-Vantages, April 26, 2018
Voters pass 76 articles at Isle au Haut town meeting
New municipal officers took the oath of office following Isle au Haut’s annual town meeting on April 23.
by Suzanne Ruch and Tevlin Schuetz
Residents gathered at Revere Memorial Hall to vote on 76 warrant articles during their annual town meeting on April 23. Around 40 people were in attendance, with most articles receiving between 23 and 28 total votes.
Following Allen Myers’ election as moderator, citizens spent the first hour and 45 minutes dealing with articles 2 through 20, which dealt with electing municipal officers and deciding compensation for those positions.
Discussion ensued regarding tax assessor positions, of which there were three to fill. Selectman Peggi Stevens explained the strategy behind maintaining the three spots, which is to ultimately save the town money.
“A lot of towns hire an assessor. It’s very expensive,” she said.
Stevens said that the training assessors receive—especially on the job—is worth the investment. Current assessor chairman, Debra Schrader, lives out of state part of the year and can be difficult to contact at times, but she will step down next year and be replaced with one of the other nominees, Stevens said, who by then will have a solid grasp of the duties required of the job.
“There is a learning curve… [but] it will be very good for the town,” she said, adding that in many towns, selectmen are the assessors.
The remuneration for the tax assessor chairman position stayed the same (at $1,500 per year), while it was changed for the junior assessors from the town hourly wage to a stipend of $1,000 a year, following a discussion in which resident Bill Stevens explained the difficulties and complexities of the job.
Superintendent Christian Elkington answered questions about the 2018-19 school budget, which totals $277,810, a 1.7 percent decrease from the budget for the current school year.
Warrant article 30 called for $5,000 to be appropriated for capital improvements to the school building, funds Elkington said, would cover beginning work on window replacement. The process is expensive, he said, and Luther Smith agreed, adding that an initial quote for the work was over $32,000.
Bill Stevens raised the issue of the historic nature of the building. “Part of the problem is: we want to make the building more efficient.… If it is on a national registry, that becomes more difficult,” he said.
Alison Richardson put her neighbors at ease when she shared her findings from a quick internet search of the National Register of Historic Places database, on which the school building was not present, she said.
Residents passed a warrant article allowing $95,000 to be raised for general government, and two other warrant articles were approved, aiming amounts of $20,000 and $16,000 at the town landing parking lot and Revere Memorial Hall, respectively.
The town’s contribution to Isle au Haut Boat Services will remain the same as last year’s, at $50,000, and solid waste disposal will cost $28,000, also unchanged. Other warrant articles will cost the town more this year, however, two of which reflect the difficult winter, Peggi Stevens said. The snow removal allocation will climb by $2,500 to $9,500, and road and bridge work is budgeted at $30,000, twice the 2017 appropriation.
Voters supported funding an Island Fellow from the Island Institute, to the tune of $8,000 for this year. The Island Institute covers an overall cost of $50,000, Kendra Chubbuck said, and the town will make another contribution next year of $10,000.
Residents also passed warrant article 58, in support of further exploration of improved internet service potential on Isle au Haut. The article represents a non-binding advisory vote to enter into a memorandum of understanding with provider Axiom Technologies.
Town officers elected (one year terms unless otherwise noted):
Rozalyn Santospago, Town Clerk
Peggi Stevens, First Selectman
Daniel MacDonald, Second Selectman
Abigail Hiltz, Third Selectman
Karen Teague, Treasurer
Lisa Turner, Tax Collector
Debra Schrader, Assessor of Taxes
Tina Tully, Assessor of Taxes
Christine Hill, Assessor of Taxes
Bill Stevens, Road Commissioner
Luther Smith, Fire Chief
Tucker Runge, Harbormaster (appointed earlier)
Wendell Chamberlain, Planning Board (3 year term)
Michael Dechamp, Planning Board (3 year term)
Karen Teague, School Board (3 year term)
Sue Chamberlain, School Board (3 year term)
Sharon Wilson, School Board (2 year term)
Daniel MacDonald, Colwell Ramp Waterfront Access Board
Bill Stevens, Colwell Ramp Waterfront Access Board (2 year term)