11 beavers caught in Orrington since dam burst

Posted May 15, 2012, at 6:14 p.m.
Last modified May 15, 2012, at 7:06 p.m.

ORRINGTON, Maine — Nearly a dozen beavers, part of a colony that built an approximately 80-foot dam on Swetts Pond Road that failed in March, have been trapped, Town Manager Paul White said Tuesday.

“Eleven have been relocated,” he said. “Don’t ask me where because I couldn’t tell you. All I know is they’re out of Orrington.”

A trapper was called in by property owner Larry Pelletier after the beaver dam broke March 23 and caused extensive damage to the road and a portion of the nearby railroad tracks.

“There was a meeting yesterday with the landowners, town officials, game wardens, and [Maine Department of] Inland Fisheries and Wildlife basically to discuss where to go next,” White said, adding that no decisions were made.

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The good news is that early repair estimates of about $250,000 have been reduced significantly, the town manager added.

“I’m estimating between $120,000 and $130,000” to repair the roadway, White said. “The extent of the damage wasn’t quite as extensive as in 2001, but it’s still a major cost to the town.”

In May 2001, a hole in the beaver dam caused a rush of water that washed away a half-mile section of Swetts Pond Road, left a 25-foot-deep chasm at the entrance of Cemetery Road and damaged several driveways before it finally made its way downhill across Route 15 to the Penobscot River.

The cost for the town to repair the roads after the 2001 break was around $250,000.

Town selectmen were given an update about the beaver dam at their meeting on Monday, when town leaders also signed off on the warrant articles for the annual town meeting in June.

“The gross budget is $9,283,258, or a .55 percent — just over half of a percent — increase for the combined budget,” White said. “It’s anticipated the mill rate will not change due to increases in property values and only [a] minor increase in our budget.”

The current property tax rate is $13.45 per $1,000 in property value.

Preliminary 2012-13 figures include a town budget amount of $2,595,672, an increase of $20,633; $395,068 for Penobscot County taxes, a $2,634 increase; and $6,292,518 for the school budget, an increase of $27,262.

Residents will vote on the budget during the annual town meeting, scheduled for 7:30 p.m. June 4 at Center Drive School. Local elections will be held earlier in the day, from 7 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., and the results will be announced at the meeting.

Residents will select two selectmen and one school board member.

Incumbent Selectmen Christine Lavoie and Kevin Allcroft, the chairman, are running uncontested for their seats, and Michael Mason and Reginald Faulkingham are running for the school board seat of Kevin Hanscom, who decided not to seek re-election.

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