Greenville selectmen ponder ways to increase participation after 71 show up for town meeting

Posted June 11, 2014, at 12:22 p.m.
John Simko
Contributed photo
John Simko

GREENVILLE, Maine — The Greenville Board of Selectmen held their first meeting after the annual town meeting last week and discussed ways of increasing voter turnout.

According to the minutes of the selectmen’s meeting, there were only 71 people at the annual town meeting on June 2 where all articles on the municipal and school warrant were passed in less than 90 minutes. There are 1,429 registered voters in Greenville.

An informal discussion by board members, Town Manager John Simko and other municipal employees yielded a handful of suggestions for next year.

These included taking some town reports to the post offices for distribution prior to the town meeting, scheduling a public hearing on the contents of the warrant at the last selectmen’s meeting prior to town meeting, and working with the school to see if scheduling conflicts with sporting events and other co-curricular activities could be avoided.

During the public comment period, Janet Chasse, a former school committee member, said she was disappointed at the large increase in expenditures for the upcoming fiscal year. She noted that it appeared that the selectmen were “spending like drunken sailors.”

Greenville voters passed a $2.4 million budget, which was $61,482 less than last year. But selectmen recommended using around $258,000 from the undesignated revenue account in order to balance the budget.

In regular business items, Greenville selectmen voted unanimously to send a letter to the new owners of the Montreal, Maine and Atlantic Railway’s successor about a beaver problem near the village.

Simko explained that for several years, the railroad has opened the dam up to let “large quantities of water run through to the stream and culvert system which crosses Eveleth Hill and runs parallel to Moosehead Lake Road.”

While railroad maintenance personnel have been cooperative with the Greenville public works department by letting them know before they “open the floodgates,” Simko said that’s not always the case. Sometimes the railroad didn’t let the town know their plans in advance, “and even when they do, there is little we can do to mitigate the damage which comes with the flow.”

The selectmen signed a letter to Tom Tardiff, the property manager and environmental officer for the railroad, to seek a solution to the problem.

Selectmen also welcomed Mark Bernier as the new public works foreman; approved a liquor license renewal for the Blair Hill Inn; appointed Kelly McKeil to the planning board (term to expire June 30, 2015) and Sharon Libby Jones to the Appeals Board (term to expire June 30, 2017); and appointed Joshua Conroy of Dover-Foxcroft as a part-time constable, thus allowing him to work as a reserve police officer.

Under general discussion, Selectmen Bruce Hanson said he was concerned about four-wheelers driving on the paved walkway at the end of the Junction Wharf, which was installed with handicapped persons in mind. Police Chief Jeff Pomerleau agreed to look into this to see if some signage or other changes to the wharf could be a remedy.

Bonnie DuBien, chair of the Board of Selectmen, said she had people ask her about vehicles parking on both sides of Pritham Avenue during ball games. They were concerned about children getting hit if they ran out into traffic between parked cars.

Pomerleau suggested that the width of the road because of parking on both sides is not an issue, but “darting kids are always a concern.” The police chief and town manager will review the town’s traffic ordinance to see what can be done.

 

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