News Feature

Deer Isle
Originally published in Island Ad-Vantages, March 1, 2018
Deer Isle voters to act on 70 articles at town meeting
Contested write-in race for selectman

by Faith DeAmbrose

A new fire truck and improvements to the transfer station are among the items up for discussion at annual town meeting, March 5.

The business portion of the meeting will begin at 2 p.m., following elections that will be held from 7:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. that day. Running for office are Peter Perez and Mike Wood seeking a seat on the board of selectmen; Judy Dunham as treasurer/tax collector, Bert Schmidt for road commissioner, and Heather Cormier as town clerk. Also on the ballot is Stephen York for island-wide CSD #13 school board.

A proposed municipal budget of $1,378,586, up $91,056 from the previous year, is outlined in 70 associated warrant articles.

One of the more noticeable changes to the town, and its bottom line, is a newly-created town manager position. At an annual salary of $48,000 plus benefits, Jim Fisher has held that post since January 8. Other staffing changes, notably the stepping down of longtime tax collector/treasurer Myra Weed, will bring new faces to the town office, and, as positions are being adjusted, salaries for a number of town office positions were realigned, said Fisher.

The town has done away with the position of Administrative Assistant and the board of selectmen are proposed to remain at a salary of $6,000 a year, the same as last year. Selectmen, like other town officials, receive 100 percent health insurance benefits which collectively totals $104,000 for employees.

Voters will be asked to allocate $25,000 to a fire truck reserve fund for a fire truck purchase, as well as $203,000 for the transfer station. Of those transfer station funds, $10,000 is earmarked for a second compactor, a purchase that is expected to reduce tipping fees into the future, said Fisher.

A total of 13 third-party requests will appear on the warrant, ranging from $400 for Downeast Transportation, to the largest request of $20,000 from the Opiate-Free Island Partnership.

Requesting funds for a second year, OFIP will also ask the town of Stonington for the same contribution. The nonprofit organization outlined its activities during the last year in a letter to voters of both towns. The funds will be combined with $30,000 of pledged funds from Island Health & Wellness and be used for programs at the schools and in the community, such as expended behavioral counseling through Island Family Medicine and training for additional volunteer “recovery coaches.”

A slightly modified request from Island Community Center asks for more than just money. In addition to a request for $10,800, the same amount as the previous year, the article asks the community to “confirm the importance [of the center] to the health and well-being of the island.” On the heels of a report commissioned by the town of Stonington, the building that houses the center is in need of significant repair, and ICC board members are looking to each town to gauge support for the island-wide program’s future.

Municipal Budget: $1,378,568
Increase: $91,056
Warrant articles: 70
Voting: 7:30 a.m.-11:30 p.m., Monday, March 5, town hall
Town Meeting: 2 p.m., Monday, March 5, town hall