Friendship town meeting in the books
Friendship — Friendship residents will raise $367,307 locally after approving a $717,307 budget at the annual town meeting March 21.
Voters approved taking $350,000 of expected revenue coming from excise taxes, state revenue sharing, homestead exemption and undesignated sources to reduce the tax rate. The budget is up about $9,300 from this year.
It took the 60-plus attendees about an hour to approve all articles on the town meeting warrant.
After being postponed from its originally scheduled March 19 date due to bad weather, the town meeting flowed through the 32 articles with very little discussion.
Deputy moderator John Black of Waldoboro called the meeting to order and released the results of the March 18 elections, then swore in newly-elected selectman David Benner, assessor Victor Motyka, and school board director Brook Simmons.
The board of selectmen also recognized the service of outgoing school board director Mary Genthner, who had served since 1998, school board member David Benner, and retiring selectman Earl Bachelder.
The residents voted March 18 in favor of referendums for a new fire truck with 112 for and 69 against, and raising funds for fireworks for their annual Friendship Day celebration with a vote of 91 for and 88 against.
Town Clerk Joel Fearn praised select member Elizabeth Dinsmore for her diligent work in overseeing solid waste management.
"It is our second biggest bill and it is in need of the attention she gives it," Fearn said.
Residents voted to allow a discount of 2 percent on real estate and personal property taxes if paid before Sept. 1, 2013 and to charge an annual rate of 7 percent interest on unpaid taxes after Nov. 30, 2013.
A motion was made on Article 26 to vote by secret ballot. The item in question was "to see if the town will raise and appropriate the sum of $6,570 for the maintenance of the Town Ball Field for the year of 2013."
Selectman Benner questioned the money, stating there was already $500 approved for the ball field in Article 11 and asked why more money was needed.
Acting Recreation Director Wanda Benner explained the funds and handed out copies of written proposals she had received for the maintenance of the ball field on School Street.
"Last year we made the field useable and functional," Benner said. This year dugouts need to be added and any money left over will go toward putting up a fence, she added.
"The Little League has a long list of rules and regulations," Benner said.
Attendees voted 23 to 6 to pass the article.
The final article brought comments from concerned citizens. Article 32: "To see if the town will vote to pass a resolution directing the Maine Legislature and Maine's Congressional delegation to call upon Congress to pass a U.S. Constitutional amendment for the purpose of overturning the Supreme Court's 'Citizens United v. the Federal Election Commission' decision made on Jan. 21, 2010. The purpose of this amendment is to limit the influence and to control the political spending by corporations and unions in our elections."
"The intent of the resolution is to get all that big money and nasty ads off the television that bombard us during election time," said Rep. Jeff Evangelos, I-Friendship. "This is a nationwide campaign and each state has to do its part."
"How do we get it to go nation wide?" asked Leola Russell. "This was the whole reason I came to this meeting," she said, "to make sure this passed."
Citizens unanimously approved the question.
Courier Publications reporter Beth A. Birmingham can be reached at 594-4401 ext. 125 or by email at email@example.com.