There was no official candidate in the election for school board members at Edgecomb on May 21, so George Chase voted for himself. When the ballots were counted, Chase won, 2-0. He will begin his three-year term on June 6 during the last school committee of the school year. “I voted for myself, but I don’t know who cast the other ballot,” he said. Chase, 50, is a code enforcement officer for Edgecomb and Newcastle. He also works as a boiler operator at a local medical facility.
He is eager to begin his term on the school committee. “I look forward to giving back to the community and I’m excited about this opportunity,” he said.
For the third consecutive year, Edgecomb held a referendum election instead of the traditional town assembly. Six incumbents ran unopposed and were re-elected: Ted Hugger, selectman; Barry Hathorne and John Dunlap, on the planning board; Scott Griffin, road commissioner; Rebecca Brewer, tax collector; and Claudia Coffin, City Clerk and Treasurer.
Residents approved the combined municipal and education budget of $4,901,553, down $98,923 or 1.98% from last year. Education expenditures make up the largest portion of the budget at $3,093,553, a reduction of $190,209 or 5.79%. Residents approved 57 of the 60 articles. The three rejected papers, nos. 57, 59 and 60, dealt with the demands of the Edgecomb School Committee. No. 57 lost, 22-38. He sought permission from voters for the use of any additional state grants. No. 59 lost, 18-42. She requested permission to create a capital improvement reserve account. No. 60 lost, 23-37. He requested permission to set up a contingency reserve account of up to $50,000.
Selectmen recommended that voters reject all three articles. Council chair Dawn Murray believed that when a school project emerged, voters could approve funding at a special town meeting. “There is no doubt that they (the school committee) have to get things done. When they come up with estimates, that will be the time, and the money will still be in the undesignated fund,” she said.
In the municipal budget items, voters approved $80,000, versus $79,278, for general government and general expenses. Salaries for City officials also rose from $74,952 to $84,371, a 12.57% increase. The recommended municipal salaries for FY23 are $5,000 for the chair of the board of directors; breeders, $4,000; tax collector, $12,000; assistant collector, $3,850; treasurer, $4,000; city clerk, $4,000; Registrar of Electors, $808; chair of the school committee, $1,000; school committee members, $750; municipal accounting, $4,750; chairman of the planning board, $1,000; planning board members and alternates, $200; public health officer, $250; website secretariat and administration, $2,750; caretaker, $1,500; animal control officer, $1,912; code enforcement officer, $12,000; emergency management agency coordinator, $1,000; other employees, $3,500; and the city’s share of Medicare and Social Security, $6,351.
Voters also enacted a solar power ordinance. The planning board proposed an ordinance in response to a New York-based power company’s request to build a solar array on U.S. Route 1. In March 2021, the planning board conditionally approved Syncarpha Capital, LLC’s plans to build a 4.9 megawatt solar array. with 17,500 panels. But the city did not have an ordinance dealing with solar energy. The planning board reviewed ordinances from other communities, resulting in the drafting of an ordinance based on Wiscasset and other languages provided by the Municipal Association of Maine.
While several towns in Lincoln County are dealing with skyrocketing ambulance services, Edgecomb is not. Voters approved payment of the $17,000 annual fee to the Central Lincoln County Ambulance Service. Voters also approved the collection and allocation of $115,748 to operate the fire department. The department received $18,493 in additional funding, an increase of 19.01%. Other approved expenses for the fire department include $54,149 for the payment of a truck. Voters also approved the collection and appropriation of $13,537.36 and the appropriation of $40,612.08 from the city’s TIF (Tax Increment Funding) project cost sub-account.
Voters approved $39,073 for firefighter pay and approved the following salaries: fire chief, $9,500; deputy chef, $2,250; captains, $1,000; lieutenants, $500; firefighters, $17,250; caretaker, $1,698; clerk, $2,600; and the city’s share of Medicare and Social Security, $2,776.
Voters authorized the allocation of $10,000 to the Fire Truck Reserve Fund. Voters approved funds for two local libraries. The Wiscasset Public Library will receive $4,500 and the Boothbay Harbor Memorial Library will receive $2,000.
Social service agencies will no longer need to submit a petition to access the ballot for a municipal contribution. Residents approved Section 36 which changed the requirement from a petition to a letter. Voters approved municipal contributions for the following organizations: Spectrum Generations, $1,155; Midcoast Maine Community Action, $1,500; Healthy Children, $2,000; and New Hope for Women, $1,000.