Boothbay Election & Town Meeting 2014

Boothbay passes TIF, honors Estelle Appel at town meeting

Estelle Appel recipient of Spirit of America Award
Tue, 05/06/2014 - 8:30am

Story Location:
586 Wiscasset Road
Boothbay, ME 04537
United States

    Boothbay voters approved every article at the annual town meeting on May 5, including the tax increment financing district (TIF), the Cross River property proposal, a $1.7 million dollar budget, and amendments to the zoning ordinances. 

    The Boothbay Town Hall filled up promptly at 7:30 p.m. as the meeting moderator Al Roberts announced the results of the election held earlier that day.

    Incumbents Douglas Burnham and Stephen Ham were reelected to the board of selectmen. Chris Higgins was elected to the Boothbay Region Water District Board of Trustees. Brian Blethen, who ran unopposed, was elected to another term on the Boothbay-Boothbay Harbor School Committee, and Tyler Hodgdon was reelected for a third term on the school district’s board of trustees. Lorraine Hodgdon who also ran unopposed, was reelected as a trustee of the Boothbay Region’s Cemetery District. 

    The remaining articles 3 through 5 on the written referendum passed. Article 2, better known as the TIF, passed 289-214.  Of the 503 votes cast, only 75 votes split the difference, as the TIF was the closest outcome on the warrant. 

    Article 4, the Cross River Property passed 387-125 votes, which granted the selectmen the approval to transfer the 19-acre town property to the Boothbay Region Land Trust. 

    The last article on the secret ballot, Article 5 asked voters if they favored changing the town meeting format entirely to secret ballot. The article passed 295-210, the second closest outcome of the night. The article is non-binding, meaning the selectmen could ultimately decide if next year’s town meeting goes to secret ballot.

    The remaining appropriations, zoning ordinance amendments and miscellaneous articles passed by a show of hands with minor discussions. One of the articles that received the most questions from the audience was whether or not to convert a portion of the landfill at the transfer station to grazing fields for horses. Issues of environmental hazards to the horses and the land were raised, but the article ultimately passed. 

    There were other questions about the zoning changes proposed by the planning board, including allowing mineral extraction from the Industrial Park district, building warehouses in the commercial district and extending structure height along Country Club Road. Article 28 also passed which changes the zoning ordinances in a residential district to allow local boat builder David Stimson to resume his business under the definitions of commercial fishing and maritime activities. 

    The town meeting highlights included the preview of a heavy duty 6x6 Emergency Utility Vehicle that was on display at the entrance of the Town Hall. Boothbay Harbor Country Club owner Paul Coulombe recently donated the vehicle as a gift to the Boothbay Fire Department. 

    Later in the evening, Town Manager Jim Chaousis recognized the many acts of volunteerism in the community. 

    “Words do not represent the debt of gratitude that the town has for these volunteers,” Chaousis said.

    Staff member Heidi Fuller was recognized for her work putting together this year’s annual town report. Chaousis also recognized Nancy Cunningham for her tireless dedication and commitment serving the town’s standing boards for well over a decade. 

    The night culminated with a thunderous standing ovation for Boothbay resident Estelle Appel who was named this year’s recipient of the Spirit of America Award. 

    “The town of Boothbay recognizes the honorable, conscientious and reverent manner in which Estelle Appel has always represented the town while providing valuable and needed skills to various volunteer boards and committees she served.” 

    The town also presented Appel with a custom made wooden rocking chair inlaid with the town seal. 

    “I think the selectmen would be honored if you would sit here,” Chaousis said. 

    Appel graciously sat at the front of the Boothbay Town Hall with her bouquet of flowers for the remainder of the meeting.