MILLINOCKET, Maine — Four new Town Council members showed some independence soon after being sworn in during a special council meeting on Monday.
Councilors Jesse Dumais, Louis Pelletier, Charles Pray and Paul Sannicandro replaced councilors Jimmy Busque, Bryant Davis, Anita Mueller and Richard Theriault as the council voted 5-0 to accept the Nov. 3 election results. Warren Steward, who was re-elected to the school board with 873 votes, also was sworn in to his three-year seat.
Pelletier came out hard against a proposed fireworks ban and nominated Pray for council chairman, efforts that drew no support. Pray immediately declined the nomination, which died without a second.
“I can appreciate your concern with enforcement, but that’s where it needs to be, not banning something we have all done since we were children,” Pelletier said during a review of the proposed fireworks ordinance. “I don’t know if it is overblown, but I think there should be something between this and an outright ban.”
Councilor Michael Madore, who supports the ban, said town lots are too small and a minority of residents too irresponsible to keep fireworks legal within town limits. Dumais supported the ban, while Pray encouraged residents to weigh in on the issue with councilors. A final vote on the proposal is due at a council meeting on Nov. 23.
Pelletier pushed the council to cut about $3,000 from its $38,000 portion of a state snowmobile trail-grooming grant, saying he wanted to start work on fulfilling a campaign promise: cutting town spending. That effort drew heavy opposition from councilors and snowmobiling advocates who spoke from the audience.
Sannicandro nominated Madore to replace Richard Angotti Jr. as chairman, a move Dumais seconded and drew three votes but ended in defeat. Angotti was eventually re-elected with a 6-1 vote, with Sannicandro the sole opponent.
Dumais and Sannicandro defeated Busque in his first election loss since 2003. Both captured three-year seats. Dumais drew 528 votes, Sannicandro drew 520 votes and Busque drew 406 votes. Pelletier and Pray won uncontested races created when Mueller and Theriault resigned their seats.
Pelletier will finish Mueller’s two-year term, and Pray will serve Theriault’s remaining year.
Councilors and residents praised Busque and Davis for their service with council resolutions.
Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that the council vote to accept the Nov. 3 election results was 7-0. It was 5-0. It also stated that a final vote on the town's proposed fireworks ban is at a council meeting next month. It is due Nov. 23.