Meetings to air Brewer voters’ choices

Posted Oct. 08, 2009, at 11:42 p.m.

BREWER, Maine — Residents who want to learn more about the local referendum question that asks whether they want to create an advisory committee with Bangor to look into possible cost savings should head to a public meeting planned later this month.

The session will be at 7 p.m. Monday, Oct. 19, at Brewer High School.

The referendum question also will be a discussion item at a Meet the Candidates forum scheduled for 7 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 20, at Brewer High School, hosted by the Brewer Education Association.

“There is a lot of information that needs to get out there” about the proposed advisory committee, City Councilor Manley DeBeck said Wednesday.

A City Council proposal to create an advisory committee, which would identify ways to save $1.5 million annually through mutual cooperation, has been defeated by three of the five councilors several times since Councilor Joseph Ferris introduced it in April.

Ferris and Mayor Arthur “Archie” Verow, who has supported the committee’s creation all along, gathered 400 signatures from voters to get a question on the November ballot.

Councilors Larry Doughty, Gail Kelly and DeBeck, who consistently have voted against the measure, all have said they are not opposed to working with Bangor to save money, but are worried about Brewer city employees keeping their jobs.

“We don’t believe that you’re going to find $1.5 million [in savings] out of the city budgets every year without losing jobs,” Doughty said at the September council meeting.

Residents who signed his petition are interested only in saving money, Ferris said at the meeting.

“They spoke loud and clear that they do” want to create the advisory committee, he said.

While previous proposals voted on by the council specified that an advisory committee would seek $1.5 million in annual savings, the ballot question does not list any amount.

The November ballot question will ask residents to allow city officials to work with Bangor representatives to create an advisory committee charged with “making recommendations to the respective city councils identifying how both cities can work together to achieve savings and efficiencies in the operation of and services provided by them to their respective communities.”

Bangor’s council voted 7-2 to approve its version of the resolve in April, which includes the $1.5 million in annual savings, with Councilors Pat Blanchette and Susan Hawes voting against it. Bangor City Councilor Richard Stone, who is a friend of Ferris’, sponsored the Bangor version.

Voters in Brewer will head to ballot booths Nov. 3. In addition to voting on the local referendum, they will select two City Council members, two school board members and a district trustee, and they will cast votes for seven statewide referendum questions.

Doughty, who has served on the City Council since 1986, and Kelly, who has two terms plus one year under her belt, are running against residents Patricia Preble and Jerry Goss.

Goss is chairman of the Brewer High School district trustees.

School board incumbent Amanda Bost, who has served two terms, and William “Bill” Birch, who is a sergeant in the Penobscot County Sheriff’s Department, are running unopposed for the school board. District trustee incumbent Albert “Al” Gibson is the lone candidate for a five-year term on that panel.

Both City Council and school board seats are for three-year terms.

Doors to the Brewer Education Association’s Meet the Candidates forum will open at 6:30 p.m. for socializing. The forum begins at 7 p.m.

Ballot booths at the Brewer Auditorium are open 7 a.m.-8 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 3. Those who would like to vote by absentee ballot may stop by or call City Hall at 989-7050 to pick up or request a ballot.

nricker@bangordailynews.net

990-8190

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