‘Very slow’ Election Day in Aroostook County

Posted June 12, 2012, at 4:49 p.m.
Last modified June 12, 2012, at 9 p.m.

LITTLETON, Maine — Election Day started out slow in Aroostook County and continued that pace through the evening as polling sites saw only a trickle of voters throughout the day.

Officials in Presque Isle reported a small turnout Tuesday evening and other communities saw similar traffic during the day.

Littleton Town Manager Courtney Toby had seen 16 voters by late in the day.

“Its very, very slow,” she said. “Even opening earlier to allow voting before people went to work didn’t seem to make a difference. And this is the first time I have not had one absentee ballot, either.”

Six Republicans and four Democrats seeking to fill the seat being vacated by Sen. Olympia Snowe are running in the primary election. The GOP also had contested primaries in each of the state’s two congressional districts.

In Fort Kent, Town Clerk Angela Coulombe characterized the day as “very slow,” with voters staying away from the polling booths.

It was the same in Madawaska, where voting was taking place at the Knights of Columbus Hall.

“I’ve had about 200 voters,” said Town Clerk Kathleen Pelletier. “It has been slow here.”

There were few cars in the parking lot of the Gentle Memorial Building in Houlton, where residents are deciding whether they want to spend $1.6 million to extend water and sewer service on a section of U.S. Route 1 known as North Road.

If approved, the town will use $1.6 million in tax increment funding to extend water and sewer lines on the roadway, which was designated a few years ago as a tax increment financing district, or TIF.

Tagged as an economic development device, TIFs aim to enhance and entice investment in a specific portion of a town. Establishment of TIF zones helps stimulate economic development, guard or create jobs and encourage investment to bolster business growth. The proceeds from such activity can be used for development projects.

North Road has blossomed over the past decade into the town’s major economic corridor and business owners in the area came before the council a number of times asking them to extend water and sewer services for their benefit. The town saw a need, but did not have the money to do it until they designated North Road as a TIF district and forged an agreement with the Houlton Water Co. which began the extension process in 2011.

Last year, Houlton Water Co. expanded sewer and water service up to 331 North St. using some of the TIF district funds for the $425,000 project.

If voters approve the next phase, the expansion will bring services from Tractor Supply Co. to just south of Currier Road.

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