June 18, 2018
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Veazie council votes to hire reassessment firm, recognizes school speller, robotics team

By Nick McCrea, BDN Staff

VEAZIE, Maine — The Veazie Town Council voted 4-1 Monday night to ask the town manager to hire Pittsfield-based RJD Appraisal to conduct a townwide revaluation, the first Veazie has had since 1981.

Of the three offers the town received from appraisal companies, Town Assessor Benjamin Birch said the $76,000 bid from Robert J. Duplisea Sr.’s company would meet Veazie’s needs and offered the smallest bid. Birch said the town can pay in two installments over two fiscal years.

In February, Birch estimated that the full revaluation would cost between $85,000 and $110,000.

“I say now is the time for us to step up, bite the bullet, and do it tonight,” council Chairman Joseph Friedman said.

Councilor Jon Parker, who cast the dissenting vote, said he was hesitant to offer up more town money during a budget year that Town Manager Joseph Hayes expects to be tight. Parker also cited Veazie’s effort to withdraw from RSU 26, the school district it shares with Orono and Glenburn, saying that he wanted to wait to see how the secession panned out before offering up more town funds.

The town has set aside up to $50,000 to cover legal fees that will stem from the withdrawal effort. Veazie also has several road projects coming down the pipeline.

The other councilors said they wanted to be sure the town had accurate numbers across the town.

“We have a fairly ugly situation as far as tax fairness goes right now,” Councilor Brian Perkins said.

Birch said the town is meeting minimum state standards for tax fairness, but about 400 properties are missing data on their tax cards and others aren’t up-to-date.

In other business, the council decided to hold off naming members to the school district withdrawal committee. The town will advertise that it is seeking a member of the public to serve on the committee, and town councilors will conduct interviews before a future council meeting.

Glenburn will wait to name members to its withdrawal committee until it receives word to move forward from the commissioner of the Maine Department of Education, Town Manager Michael Crooker said Monday.

The council chamber was packed Monday night with Veazie Community School students who were recognized Monday for their recent successes.

Hayes and Friedman presented Kaylyn Larkin, a sixth-grader at the school, with a certificate congratulating her on finishing second in the 2012 Penobscot County Spelling Bee.

The council also recognized the school’s robotics team, which finished in fourth place in a New England regional competition in a pool of more than 30 schools. The middle schoolers competed against several high school teams, and were the top middle school team in the competition. The team also received an award for its robot design from the KISS Institute for Practical Robotics.

“The Veazie Community School continues to excel every single day,” Friedman said before handing out the awards.

The town also recognized resident Patricia Rice for receiving the Minority Small Business Champion of the Year Award from the Small Business Administration. Rice is chairwoman of the Bangor chapter of SCORE, a group that provides free counseling and low-cost workshops to businesses in Penobscot, Piscataquis, Aroostook and Washington counties.

In other news, nomination papers are available in the town office for one opening on the Town Council — Councilor David King’s term runs out this year — and two seats on the RSU 26 board. The submission deadline is April 30.

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