News Feature

Deer Isle
Originally published in Island Ad-Vantages, March 14, 2019
Deer Isle voters agreeable to town meeting articles
Approve all in quick time

The moderator

Longtime Deer Isle Town Meeting moderator Loring Kydd welcomes members of the public to this year’s town meeting on March 9.

Photo by Monique Labbe Order prints of selected PBP photos.

by Monique Labbe

Despite a late start, voters in Deer Isle made quick work of this year’s annual town meeting warrant, approving all 72 articles, totaling about $1.4 million, in just under two hours on March 9.

Before taking care of official business, outgoing selectman Twyla Weed was recognized for her time spent in the town office, from helping her grandmother in the town clerk’s office at age 12 to serving a number of terms as a selectman. Weed said that it has been her “pleasure and honor” to serve the residents of Deer Isle. She did not seek reelection this year, and her seat will be taken over by Percy Brown, who won an uncontested race in elections earlier in the day. Weed was given a plaque and bouquet of flowers.

The first discussion on a warrant article came during article 7, which asked the town to raise $38,000 for RJD Appraisal to do the town’s assessing. Voters had already approved $40,000 to be put toward the existing Revaluation Capital Reserve Fund for a town-wide revaluation in 2021 during a referendum vote earlier in the day. One resident asked what the difference between the two articles was.

“This is money we put toward appraisal for RJD [Appraisal] every year,” explained Town Manager Jim Fisher. “They come in and do quarterly reviews of the books and will sometimes go out to various sites. The $40,000 is so that we can do a town-wide revaluation, the first one since 1982, and get our market values in line.”

Voters were satisfied with the explanation and approved the article.

Residents also voted to raise $13,000 for the town’s contribution to the Island Community Center, but not before some discussion about the $2,200 increase.

Katy Rinehart, who spoke on behalf of the Island Community Center, said that the town’s contribution has not gone up in the last several years, and that the center has increased its programming and offerings to the entire island population.

“In 2016, just under 4,000 people used the center. In 2018 it was almost 12,000,” she said. “There are 32 different programs offered to people of all ages.”

When it came time to vote on the town’s contribution to the Opiate Free Island Project, some residents were concerned that the amount was not enough. This year’s budgeted amount was $10,000, down $10,000 from the previous year. It was explained that funding for the education portion of the organization had been taken on by another party, so OFIP was able to ask less from both Deer Isle and Stonington.

Julie Eaton, a longtime fisherman on the island, spoke in favor of the organization.

“When I first heard about this, I was staunchly against it [two years ago],” said Eaton. “I didn’t know how it would help. But now, I have seen what it can do and who it can help, and I strongly urge everyone to vote in favor of this.”

Eaton’s sentiments were met with applause, and the article was approved.

Election results

Percy Brown won an uncontested selectman’s race, receiving 169 votes. Road Commissioner Bert Schmidt, incumbent, also won an uncontested race with 186 votes. Heather Cormier and Judy Dunham, both incumbents, received 196 and 197 votes for their respective uncontested races for town clerk and town treasurer/tax collector.

For the school board, incumbent Jane Osborne received 170 votes for a three year seat, while write in candidate Liz Perez received 88 votes for the other three year term. Tracy Morey received 174 votes for a two year seat on the board. Results in Stonington also supported these candidates, allowing them to retain their seats on the board. There is also one, two-year seat for which no clear candidate emerged, which will prompt an appointment for that position in the coming days. That person would serve until the next election.

A decades-long run

Twyla Weed addresses the audience and recounts her time spent working in the town office, from a young girl with her grandmother in the town clerk’s office to serving as a member of the board of selectmen, during town meeting on March 9.

Photo by Monique Labbe
The moderator

Longtime Deer Isle Town Meeting moderator Loring Kydd welcomes members of the public to this year’s town meeting on March 9.

Photo by Monique Labbe