BREWER, Maine — City leaders have tried for months to get James L. Kearns Jr., who has been operating a trash collection business from his property at 87 Parker St., to clean up the site and pay his past-due city bills.
He has failed to do so, even after he signed a court settlement agreement in January, and on Monday the Brewer City Council voted unanimously to evict him and take possession of the property.
“He hasn’t kept up with the payment schedule and continues to operate a trash business [at the site],” city attorney Joel Dearborn said, explaining the situation before councilors voted on whether to evict Kearns. “In my opinion, the city has bent over backwards [and] basically, he’s thumbed his nose at the city.”
Brewer officials took Kearns to court in the fall over his “demised premises” and for nonpayment of his real estate and sewer bills, and in January signed a settlement agreement with him that essentially allowed him to keep the property if he kept it clean, stopped using the site for his trash collection business and paid his outstanding bills.
Kearns agreed to pay $2,000 in January and about $1,100 each month between February and December in order to pay off his outstanding city bills.
In other meeting news, councilors honored five people — two for being good samaritans, one for his 27 years of service with Maine State Police, one for being a track standout and one posthumously for her contributions to the city.
Benjamin Turner, a member of the Maine Air National Guard, and Chad Bean, an Orrington firefighter and emergency medical technician, were traveling on North Main Street on Feb. 26 when they both came upon a pedestrian who had been hit by a vehicle. Both stopped to render aid.
“These two gentlemen went out of their way [to help],” Mayor Kevin O’Connell said when presenting both with recognition plaques for their efforts.
Phillip “Phil” Pushard, who grew up in Brewer and retired at the end of January after nearly three decades in a state police uniform, was honored for his service and his years giving back to the community through his coaching.
“Sacrifice and service are two things that comes to mind when I think of Phil Pushard,” Brewer police Capt. Chris Martin told those at the meeting, speaking for Police Chief Perry Antone, who was home sick.
Martin said he looked up to Pushard as a young rookie and described him as, “A gentleman who never lost his sense of humor.”
Brewer police Officer Liz Kelley and Cpl. Steve Boyd entered the council chambers and stood in the back while Pushard was honored and got a handshake from him before heading back to patrol the streets.
Brewer High School senior Teal Jackson was honored as “an outstanding ambassador for athletics, her school and our community,” the council order in her honor states.
Jackson captured the state indoor track title for the 55-, 200- and 400-meter dash, and was recently honored for academic skills, the mayor said.
Councilors also paid respects to former city council candidate Patricia “Patty” Preble, who died on Jan. 1. Preble was a homemaker and regular attendee at the Brewer council meetings.
“Ms. Preble was a unique individual with a passion for the community she lived in,” O’Connell said, reading from the resolve that described Preble and one of the city’s “beloved residents.”
Most people in town will remember Patty because she rode a tricycle around the city and campaigned using signs she cross stitched by hand.
Preble, who proudly told people she only made it to the sixth grade, earned 456 votes during the November 2011 election, which was the last time she ran for office.
“She was indeed a real citizen who put her heart and soul before us and was not shy about expressing herself and trying to enlighten us in some way about life,” Councilor Arthur “Archie” Verwo said.