SANGERVILLE, Maine — Sangerville selectmen addressed warrant articles for a special town meeting Tuesday but not before a few residents addressed the need to bring civility back to the small community.
The town has been in turmoil for months over several issues, including the firing of the public works director, a rift between Sangerville Town Manager Michelle Dumoulin and Corinna Town Manager Dalton Mullis, alleged illegal meetings, road issues and the disposition of the former Abbie Fowler School.
Resident Charlie Murphy said town employees are being personally attacked to the point that they can’t carry out their jobs, and as a result his tax dollars are not being used efficiently. He found no fault with the job Dumoulin has done. “I think these personal attacks have got to cease,” he said.
“I also am appalled,” resident Sheryl Peters said Tuesday. She said those instigating trouble should focus their energy and efforts on doing something good for the town. The publicity over the town’s troubles has been “pretty embarrassing,” she said.
Chuck Bean, the acting public works director, said he has been criticized about work under way to repair roads damaged by heavy rainfall. The scope of the work is dictated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which provided the funds for the work, he said. “Let people do their job, instead of arguing all the time,” he remarked.
Dumoulin said she was “saddened” by the number of newspaper stories regarding the turmoil — articles that in her mind were negative press or just “overkill.” She said she realized the town had problems when she took the job.
Dumoulin said she hoped to foster community spirit through events like last summer’s community cleanup day. “Let’s move on as a community,” she added.
After listening to the comments aired Tuesday, resident Jerry Peters, who has worked with seven different town managers during his 20 years on the planning board, said, “I sense there’s a new wind blowing.”
After the public comments, the selectmen discussed a June 11 town meeting warrant. In addition to the election of a new selectman, residents will act on a proposal from Angie Wells to sell property to the town that abuts the recreation field. Wells has offered to finance the property over four years, interest-free. If residents approve the purchase, the first year’s payment would be taken from taxation. Other articles will involve taking $750 from the Forest Reserve for trail making and about $11,000 from taxation for the purchase of used guardrails for the French’s Mill Road.