Media Archive

Atkinson to vote on dissolution plan

Article from The Piscataquis Observer, Vol. 165, No. 53, December 31, 2003

By Jessica Lee
Staff Writer

ATKINSON Townspeople will vote on whether to accept a plan for deorganization of the town of Atkinson at a special town meeting Jan.14.

Monday night, about 40 residents attended an informational meeting on the plan, held in the town office. State Sen. Paul Davis and Rep. Jim Annis also attended.

The plan, as drafted by members of a special committee on deorganization, includes details as to the education of the town's youth, along with various financial responsibilities should the town dissolve. The proposed effective date of deorganization is July 1, 2005.

According to the plan, the education of Atkinson youth would be provided at school facilities located within SAD 68 in Dover-Foxcroft. Secondary students would attend Foxcroft Academy in Dover-Foxcroft.

Currently, Atkinson students attend schools in SAD 41 in Milo. Prior to the date of deorganization, the plan requires the town pay its share of outstanding debt service to that school district.

Those students who wish to attend alternative secondary schools would be able to do so with permission of the UT's superintendent of schools, with transportation being the responsibility of the parent or legal guardian.

The town also would be responsible for its portion of, bonded indebtedness with HAD 4 (operator of Mayo Regional Hospital in Dover-Foxcroft).

The plan also calls for the town to sell the town hall and its contents (valued at $69,790), with any proceeds being deposited in the town's general fund. If those properties are not sold at the time of deorganization, they will become property of the state, held in trust for the unorganized territory.

The town also is responsible for funding a zoning map (estimated cost of $20,000) for use by the state Land Use Regulation Commission within one year of the date of deorganization, and the creation of electronic tax maps for Maine Revenue Services.

Also, if the town does deorganize the responsibility of town roads and some bridges that the town currently maintains would fall under the jurisdiction of the Piscataquis County Commissioners.

The plan also includes information on population and personal income taken from the 2000 census, as well as other property tax information.

David Kinney, second selectman, urged all voters to attend the Jan. 14 special town meeting. The meeting starts at 7 p.m. If the plan is accepted by a majority of voters, it will go to town meeting in March, then on to the Maine Legislature for acceptance. Finally, it would go to a full town vote during the November 2004 general election, where it requires a two-thirds vote by residents in order to pass.

This is the second attempt at deorganization for the town. In November 2002, residents missed the two-thirds vote by a slight margin. The town was incorporated in 1819.

Copies of the current deorganization plan are available at the town office.

NOTE - This article reflects the views of the author and not necessarily those of the TRC Alliance Team.