Media Archive

Sebec holds annual town meeting

Article from The Piscataquis Observer, Vol. 165, No. 33, August 13, 2003

By Jessica Lee
Staff Writer

SEBEC At Monday's town meeting, residents adopted the $662,000 budget, elected a new selectman and gave the go-ahead to allow the Sebec Garden Club to beautify town property adjacent the boat landing.

Approximately 120 residents packed the meeting room in the Harland A. Ladd Municipal Building for the nearly three hour meeting to act on the 41-article warrant.

Walt Emmons, moderator for the meeting, received the majority of votes for the three-year term on the board of selectmen. Emmons, who has served on the planning board, received 78 votes, compared to 34 votes for opponent Tom Walters, a former selectman.

In a close vote, Joe Flynt was named road commissioner with 47 votes, beating Emery Cole's 42 and J.R. Carey's 23 votes.

Also elected was Carol Cole to the positions of town clerk, treasurer and tax collector. She ran unopposed.

Townspeople passed the budget as recommended by the budget committee, representing a 5 percent increase in expenditures. However, taxes are expected to remain at the previous mil rate, $12.40 per $1,000 valuation, or decline as the amount to be raised by taxation has decreased by about $15,000.

There was some discussion around the article to raise money for community service agencies, including Penquis CAP, Charlotte White Center, Eastern Area Agency or Aging, Piscataquis Soil and Water Conservation District Womancare/Aegis and Pine Tree Hospice. A motion was made and defeated to double the budget committee's $500 recommendation to $1,000.

Voters agreed to give money received from snowmobile registrations and grant money for the purpose of maintaining snowmobile trails to the Big Bear Snowmobile Club, although there was some question as to why no money would go to the newly-formed Sebec Freedom Riders Snowmobile Club. Selectman Buzz Small said that the money is to be used for the maintenance of the state's snowmobile trails, and noted that the Big Bear club is the organization that is authorized to do that by the state Bureau of Parks and Recreation.

The Sebec Garden Club will be allowed to volunteer time to mow the public boat launch and try to eliminate an overgrowth of the invasive plant Japanese knotweed. The club also plans to replace the knotweed with grass and additional plantings, according to Selectman Susan Dow, who is also a member of the garden club.

Dow said the idea came after she had been going through back files and came upon a plan approved by residents in 1988 to develop the land adjacent the boat landing. She said the club is going to work closely with the state Department of Environmental Protection.

"We'll go by their rules, and make sure we do it right," she said.

Glenn Fariel said the town should be wary that the town faces no "long-term ramifications" to the garden club work. He said the property will require ongoing maintenance.

Nils Peterson asked about the town's liability issues related to the work. "If a working crew messes up unintentionally, who will pay the DEP fines?" he asked.

Dow again said the club has "no intention of doing anything without the DEP," and she addressed the liability issue with Fred Trask of Trask Insurance Agency in Milo. She said that the town would need to estimate the value of the work, in order to provide workers' compensation insurance for the project.

That would add a nominal fee to the town's current workers' compensation insurance costs, which are budgeted at $651 annually. Small said.

Dow said, bottom-line, the town needs to weigh the benefits of the project with the liability exposure.

Voters accepted the gift of the volunteer work by a wide margin, with about a half-dozen against it.

The town also agreed to join the Municipal Review Committee and adopt a contract through 2017, which essentially keeps the town's cost of disposing solid waste at the Penobscot Energy Recovery Co. in Orrington at approximately $54 per ton. The town last year paid PERC $60 per ton, delivered through the Dover-Foxcroft transfer station. Sebec is responsible for approximately 6 percent of the tonnage delivered to PERC from Dover-Foxcroft.

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