Lincoln County Commissioners

Commissioners hear complaint about Somerville roads

Stephanie Blodgett resigns from DA office to take AG job
Tue, 11/12/2019 - 9:30am

Lincoln County Commissioners on Nov. 6 heard from a group of Somerville residents who alleged the town mismanaged a large, voter-approved road bond and created more problems with the town’s roads.

The group, led by Claudia Fujinaga, who lives on one of the roads, petitioned the town to fix the roads, and resident John Bergen, offered the town a $30,000 bond at one percent interest to buy local gravel from a Somerville pit to repair the road.

According to the residents’ petition, the town turned them down, because the town had contracted to buy a special mix of dirt and gravel from the company the town had contracted its road commission to, Maine Environmental Solutions. The citizens claimed the blend was much more expensive than local gravel. Ten thousand dollars of gravel from the local pit would have been donated free of charge, Bergen said. The citizens also alleged the town had done road repair in wet and cold weather, causing black top to slide off the base layer on paved roads, and did not improve dirt roads, and added cobbles to the road the initial petitioner lived on, Crummett Mountain Road, which, according to the petition, caused severe vehicle damage.

The citizens were seeking an investigation into the town’s failure to fix the dirt road despite spending over $1 million in road bonds and town taxpayer money.

In a response to a query from Wiscasset Newspaper, Somerville Selectmen’s Chair Chris Johnson acknowledged the funds did not go as far as anticipated. He cited an unanticipated problem with Somerville Road's road bed that required repair before it could be repaved. Johnson also acknowledged this meant some of the town's dirt roads did not get repaired with the bond and the town funds available.

The two commissioners in attendance listened to the petitioners and said they would review the complaint.

Other issues covered included bids for the sheriff’s transport van and cruiser. The low bids for both were from Newcastle Chrysler, which offered new vehicles for a Dodge Grand Caravan for the transport van for $21,342 and a Dodge Durango for the cruiser at $27,852. Deputy Chase Bosse resigned to work for Waldoboro Police Department, and Matt Ryan was offered a job as a deputy.

Stephanie Blodgett, longtime legal secretary for the District VI District Attorney’s office in Lincoln County, has resigned to work for the state Attorney General’s Office. Commissioners approved out of state travel for D.A. Natasha Irving to Philadelphia and Florida for conferences on innovations in prosecutions and police treatment and the community.

Commissioners approved of the Communications Department increasing the amount for its Eventide Recorder replacement to $32,146. The system records all 9-1-1 calls.

The county received a nearly $9,000 discount from Maine Municipal Association after a safety inspection for worker’s compensation insurance. The state remitted $9,580 for court surcharges and fines. The funds will go to Two Bridges Regional Jail programs.  Commissioners approved a $5,500 purchase order for Steele’s Landscaping, which planted the trees in front of the courthouse; a $9,900 one for Ransom Consulting, as part of a grant for brownfield work at the coal ponds near Mason Station; and a $7,179 one for computer replacements.

Palermo signed the contract with the county for plowing and grading Hibberts Gore Road, for $4,500.