Trenton to vote on recall ordinance

Posted May 19, 2011, at 5:26 p.m.
Last modified May 19, 2011, at 5:45 p.m.

TRENTON, Maine — Local voters are expected to elect at least one new selectman at their annual town meeting this week and to consider a proposed recall ordinance for elected officials.

The four-way race for two selectmen seats will be decided during local elections, which will be held 1 to 7 p.m. Friday, May 20, at the town office on Route 230. The open session of Trenton’s annual town meeting will begin at 10 a.m. the following day, Saturday, May 21, at the local elementary school on Route 3.

According to Town Clerk Rachel Hyland, Selectman Michael Hodgkins is running for re-election but fellow Selectman Julee Swanson, whose term also is ending, has decided not to run again. Other candidates for selectmen include Fred Ehrlenbach, Ronald Marshall, and Richard Vander Zanden.

There is a vacancy on the elected school board but no one has announced their candidacy for that seat, Hyland said Thursday. There are no other contested races.

On Saturday, voters at town meeting will consider whether the town should adopt new ordinances regulating noise, food production, and a provision for recalling elected officials. The food production proposal would establish local rules for home production and resale of food, Hyland said.

The town clerk said the proposed recall ordinance lists the positions of selectmen, town clerk and treasurer as ones that would be subject to recall, even though in Trenton the clerk and treasurer are appointed, rather than elected, positions. The proposed ordinance also refers to a municipal facilities commission but Trenton has no such commission, she said.

Hyland, who holds the positions of town clerk and treasurer, said if the recall ordinance is adopted it likely would apply only to selectmen, because they are the only positions listed in the proposal that actually are elected in Trenton. She said the language of the proposed recall ordinance, which was submitted by a local citizen, is copied from one adopted by the town of Cranberry Isles.

As for budgets, local voters will be asked to consider approving municipal and school budgets with a combined total of nearly $3.4 million. The anticipated yearly municipal budget of $450,000 is expected to be funded in part through $175,000 in surplus funds, Hyland said Thursday. The proposed school budget is $2.94 million.

The current combined 2010-2011 annual budget, including school and municipal expenses, is $3.175 million. Despite the expected $215,000 combined budget increase, the town’s tax rate is expected to increase by only 10 cents, from $11.50 for each $1,000 of a property’s assessed value to $11.60, she said.

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