3 Hancock County towns to pursue withdrawal from RSU 24

Posted June 13, 2012, at 1 p.m.

ELLSWORTH, Maine — Three Hancock County municipalities voted Tuesday to pursue withdrawing from RSU 24.

Ellsworth, Hancock and Lamoine each held referendum votes Tuesday to determine if they should develop a plan to withdraw from the RSU, which was formed in 2009. Some residents in each of the three towns have expressed dissatisfaction with the RSU and gathered signatures in order to put the question to a vote.

The total vote from all three towns was 1,320 in favor of pursuing withdrawing and 512 opposed. Hancock voters favored the proposal 273-87. In Ellsworth, 824 voters supported pursuing withdrawing and 282 did not. Lamoine approved the measure with 223 voters for withdrawing and 143 opposed.

Proponents have said that, if each of the towns voted in support of withdrawing from the RSU, they likely will discuss the possibility of forming a smaller AOS, or alternative organizational structure, similar to the one that exists on Mount Desert Island. The commissioner of the Maine Department of Education will have to approve another type of school governance for the three towns and a second vote will have to held before the towns can formally withdraw from the RSU.

In partisan politics, Steve Joy won the Republican vote to run for the District 1 seat on the Hancock County Commission in November. Joy, an Ellsworth resident and current chairman of the commission, received 720 votes while Ellsworth City Councilor Matthew Boucher received 539, according to an unofficial tally compiled by the Bangor Daily News.

In a legislative primary on the Blue Hill peninsula, a freshman Democrat legislator fended off a challenge from a former legislator. Ralph Chapman of Brooksville received 436 votes while James Schatz of Blue Hill received 291. With the win, Chapman is headed to another House District 37 rematch in November with Republican Madeleine Gay Leach of Castine, whom he narrowly defeated in 2010 with a vote of 2,266-2,231.

On the Senate side, David Burns of Whiting beat Kathleen Caso of Calais by a 2-to-1 margin in the Republican primary for Senate District 29. Burns received 1,374 votes and Caso garnered 680. Burns will face Democrat Anne Perry of Calais in the fall. Senate District 29 consists of all of Washington County, some unorganized townships just over the border in Hancock and Penobscot counties and the Hancock County towns of Eastbrook, Franklin, Great Pond, Osborn and Waltham.

In the Senate District 31 Democratic primary, Emery Deabay of Bucksport beat out Deborah Deane of Brewer. Deabay received 641 votes to Deane’s 491. Deabay will face a former legislator, Republican Edward Youngblood of Brewer, for the seat in November. Republican Richard Rosen of Bucksport is barred by term limits from seeking re-election to the post.

In local elections in Bar Harbor, an incumbent, a former councilor and a newcomer all were elected Tuesday to the Town Council.

Gary Friedmann, who has not served on the council before, and incumbent Peter St. Germain each were elected Tuesday to a three-year term with 366 votes. David Bowden, who last served on the council in 2006, was elected to a one-year term with 401 votes. Friedmann will replace Jane Disney, who decided not to seek re-election, while Bowden will take the seat of former councilor Matt Horton, who resigned last fall.

Horton’s three-year term was expected to expire in 2013, which is why Bowden’s term is only for one year. Enoch Albert served as an interim councilor after Horton resigned, filling the seat until Tuesday’s election. Albert was appointed as interim councilor with the understanding that he would not seek election to the post on Tuesday.

Follow BDN reporter Bill Trotter on Twitter at @billtrotter.

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