Brownville residents to vote on three charter changes

Posted May 03, 2012, at 12:44 p.m.
Last modified May 03, 2012, at 6:51 p.m.

BROWNVILLE, Maine — Residents will be asked in June to consider a trio of amendments to the Brownville charter after the selectmen voted to put the questions out to referendum.

“I tried to keep it simple — check a box yes or no,” Town Manager Matthew Pineo said.

The proposed amendments will be posed as three separate questions and voting will be by secret ballot.

The questions will be: “As a resident of Brownville are you in favor of changing the language in the Town Charter to gender neutral language? As a resident of Brownville are you in favor of setting the selectperson’s wage at minimum wage? As a resident of Brownville are you in favor of allowing the town manager to reside outside of the town of Brownville?”

“We need to do this. It’s been nearly a year, and a year is not temporary,” Selectperson Paula Copeland said, referring to the time Pineo has been on the job and he has resided outside the community.

The charter, originally written in 1980, lists the board’s wage at $2.45 an hour. The current minimum wage is $7.50.

The town would hold the charter vote on the same day as the SAD 41 municipal budget referendum, which also will be scheduled for a date in June. Pineo said a sample ballot with the three charter questions will be available before voters head to the polls.

In other business at the April 18 meeting, the selectmen received an update from Pineo and Public Works Operations Director Kevin Black about gravel mining that recently started to take place on a property near the town’s water supply.

“Right next door here Ames Construction purchased a 40-acre parcel that falls within the wellhead protection zone for the village water pump station,” Pineo said, noting the location by the town office is the source of about half the town’s water supply.

Black said Ames Construction has been very agreeable to working with the town to ensure the water source is not compromised by any gravel mining being done on the property or by any fuel leaks. He said gravel is mined just 4 acres at a time, which falls under the 5-acre area minimum needed for the Department of Environmental Protection to become involved.

Another ongoing project Pineo has been working on is replacing the boat ramp and improving the property at Knights Landing on Schoodic Lake near the town line with Lake View Plantation.

“We have had an offer come in from Lake View and they are willing to do the entire drainage and pay for the remainder of the engineering if we sign the land over,” he said.

Pineo said any decision of changing property ownership would be subject to a town meeting vote, provided Lake View officials first agree to such an arrangement. He said the land is located in Lake View but is owned by Brownville as the town pays taxes to its neighbor with the parcel being considered shorefront property.

“The roadway will still be in Brownville, but the ramp would go to Lake View,” Pineo said. He said the land transfer agreement would provide access to Schoodic Lake with the boat ramp. “We need to guarantee that for Brownville and the area,” he added.

The selectmen indicated they are in favor of Pineo continuing to negotiate with Lake View.

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