June 18, 2018
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Trenton delays vote on reducing board

By Bill Trotter, BDN Staff

TRENTON, Maine — Residents decided Saturday to delay for a year a vote on the size of the Trenton Board of Selectmen, according to a board member.

Jim Cameron, head of the board, said Monday that voters chose to try out the new, larger board before deciding whether to keep it.

Voters decided last November to expand the number of seats from three to five, but did not fill those extra two seats until last week’s annual town meeting, according to Cameron. Since last November’s vote, another proposal to reduce the number of seats from five back to three was circulated. That question was placed on the ballot by citizens petition, which meant voters at last week’s meeting were asked simultaneously to choose who would fill the additional seats and whether to keep those seats, according to Cameron.

“We chose not to deal with the article,” Cameron said.

Cameron said that, regardless of the outcome of the referendum vote, reduction of the board would not have occurred until the newly elected selectmen had fulfilled their terms. By delaying the vote, residents will have the chance to determine the effectiveness of the larger board before taking action, he said.

Cameron said the town is obligated to vote on the citizens petition at some point because the petition met the town’s requirements for getting on the ballot.

In municipal elections, which were held Friday, Cameron and Carlene Hanscomb each were elected to a three-year term on the board. Julie Swanson was elected to a two-year term as a selectman and Dotty Young was elected assessor by a 10-vote margin, Cameron said.

As for the town’s finances, voters approved an overall 2009-10 municipal budget of approximately $3.2 million, which includes $2.9 million in school expenses, according to Cameron. The school budget ended up being $50,000 more than anticipated because of some information that was unknown at the time the education budget was drafted, he said.

In a separate issue, residents voted 59-47 on Saturday in favor of the proposed Acadia Gateway Center. The center will function as a storage and maintenance facility and passenger terminal for the seasonal Island Explorer bus system and eventually will include a new visitors center for Acadia National Park. The transportation network uses propane-powered buses to transport tourists, residents and commuters around Mount Desert Island and Acadia during the summer.

In 2007, Trenton voters created a contract zoning ordinance for development proposals such as the bus facility that do not meet zoning standards but are similar to the town’s permitted land uses. With the contract zoning ordinance, such development proposals have to be approved separately by the planning board, by the selectmen and then by the voters before they are allowed to proceed.

With Saturday’s vote, officials with Maine Department of Transportation, which will build and own the facility, are expected to apply to the town for the appropriate permits.

Construction of the Route 3 facility is expected to get under way this fall, officials have said.

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