About one percent of the town’s population, a total of 36 voters, attended the Boothbay Harbor Town Meeting May 3. Deputy Moderator Ervin Snyder presided over the meeting, which was held in the Boothbay Region Elementary School Gym.
Winners of the election that took place on May 2 were announced. For the one-year seat of selectman and overseer of the poor, Wendy Wolf won with 178 votes to Christopher Haskell’s 79. Selectman Jay Warren was reelected with 202 votes, as was Vice Chairman Denise Griffin with 196. Warren, Griffin and Wolf were officially sworn into office.
In uncontested races, Walter S. Reed III was voted into the three-year water district trustee position, and Ralph H. Welch into the three-year cemetery district trustee seat. The three-year seat for trustee of the Boothbay/Boothbay Harbor Community School District went to Richard M. Hallinan; school committee member of the Boothbay/Boothbay Harbor Community School District went to Larry E. Colcord; and Henry A. Tedeschi Jr. was voted as a three-year sewer district trustee.
No one ran for the one-year seat for trustee of the Boothbay/Boothbay Harbor Community School District, however four of the 24 write-in votes were cast for Steven Lorrain, who has agreed to serve.
Article 4, which read: “Do you favor the Boothbay Harbor Sewer District accepting a loan/grant assistance package from the United States Department of Agriculture Rural Development in the amounts of $275,000 loan and $125,000 grant for the purpose of relining the sewer lines on Commercial Street and Commercial Street extension?” passed with 228 in favor and 34 opposed.
The remaining town warrant articles passed with little comment. A few questions were raised about the municipal budget, such as a roughly $2,000 increase in the selectmen’s budget.
Town Manager Tom Woodin explained that money is to fund economic development projects that the selectmen determine to be of value to Boothbay Harbor. The paving and construction account increased by close to $25,000, to partially fund the Route 27 sidewalk project, the rebuilding to be done on the old tennis court lot, and to account for the additional repair work that will need to be done on some of the town roads.
Funds for support organizations remained steady. The Shellfish Committee stipend vanished, which Woodin explained to be because the committee needed no additional funds and is now solvent.
The ambulance budget dropped to $134,380 from last year’s $181,906. This year’s budget will also include $34,107 transferred from last year’s budget to this year’s, for a total of $168,487.
The second to last article on the warrant was whether the town voted to exceed the property tax levy limit established for the town, which carries no penalty. The vote was by secret ballot, and passed with 27 for and 9 against.
The last article on the warrant prompted the most discussion of all. This article read “Shall the voters of Boothbay Harbor vote to amend the current fireworks ordinance section 128-4, “C” to include: ‘Any person, business or entity issued a fireworks display permit by the Department of Public Safety, Fire Marshal’s Office is required to post a public notice in the local newspaper at the expense of the applicant to inform the public of the display at least seven (7) days prior to the event.”
Resident Linc Sample asked what prompted this article to be written. Woodin replied that it was due to numerous complaints of residents due to two large fireworks shows last year, which caused family dogs to freak out and children to be woken up. A couple of resident voiced opinions against the article, stating even common courtesy shouldn’t have to be regulated and the town shouldn’t add additional ordinances.
The article passed by a show of hands. Exact numbers of votes were not taken as in the moderator’s opinion there was no need.
The town’s total municipal budget for the 2014/2015 year is $4,118,853, an increase of $32,459, or one percent, over last year’s. Woodin stated that he is pleased that the town’s budget has remained stable for the last seven years, and said it was due to the efforts of the town staff, selectmen and budget committee.
“We have a very sound budget this year,” Woodin said.
He also thanked William Spring for the artwork on the town report, and congratulated selectmen Warren and Griffin on their reelection. He also welcomed Wolf to the board.
After the meeting, Chairman of the Board of Selectmen Bill Hamblen said that the selectmen had decided to move $250,000 from the town’s general fund to the municipal budget, in order to reduce the burden on residents.