Two Waldoboro officers resign, cite budget issuesWaldoboro to hold special town meeting Sept. 10
Waldoboro — Following a public hearing on the municipal budget Aug. 27, it was announced that two officers have resigned from the department, citing the uncertainty of their jobs.
A public hearing was held to hear citizen comments on the proposed municipal budget that has been in question since its failure to be passed at the June 11 referendum-style town meeting.
Of particular concern are the proposed cuts to the police department and the public works department, as recommended by the board of selectmen.
The original amount proposed for the police department for fiscal year 2014 was $641,585, which did not pass. Subsequently, the board decided to present a budget of $581,585 — a $60,000 reduction.
The $704,198 public works budget did pass in June, however with the impending revenue sharing deficit the board has recommended a reduction of $35,000.
These two items alone account for $95,000 of the $106,000 the board is seeking to cut from the municipal budget to accommodate the reduction in state revenue sharing.
The remaining $11,000 is proposed to be deducted from the Finance and Customer Support Department and borrowing from undesignated fund balance — in the amount of $2,710 and $8,290 respectively.
On July 9, the board had initially decided to take the full amount of the revenue shortfall out of the police department budget — to the tune of $110,000. However, came to a joint meeting with the Budget Committee with the adjusted cuts.
"I encourage the voters to reject Article 4," said resident Bob Butler, who continued, "impacting the police department and public works department is not the way to go."
"It's not easy to cut anyone," said Board Chairman Craig Cooley. "Trimming should have started sooner, then it wouldn't hurt so much."
Former Police Chief Leroy Jones suggested the cuts are not all about statistics, and encouraged residents to "go to the polls."
"We've lost faith in you," said Terry Gifford in addressing the board of elected officials. "People stop going to special town meetings because our vote doesn't seem to count," said Gifford.
"It's our right," Gifford said.
Residents will be asked to vote on the articles at a special referendum-style town meeting Tuesday, Sept. 10. Polls will be open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the Waldoboro Municipal Building, 1600 Atlantic Highway.
Two officers resign
During the town manager's report John Spear announced that he was in receipt of a letter of resignation from Police Officer Jeremy Jocelyn, which goes into effect Sept. 9.
Spear noted the instability of the department and the budgetary goings-on as a contributor, and said "I believe the department anticipates another resignation tomorrow (Aug. 28)."
On Aug. 28, Detective Jason Benefield in fact did submit his letter of resignation, effective Sept. 11. According to his letter, Benefield has accepted a position of investigator with the Maine Department of Corrections.
Benefield's letter stated that he felt the detective position was no longer supported due to the budgetary issues, and he took the position due to the uncertainty of his future.
Jocelyn's resignation will allow Officer John Lash to return to active duty Aug. 31. He had been terminated due to the budget cuts.
Chief Bill Labombarde was not available for comment.
In other business, Willa Antczak was appointed as Planning and Development Director/Code Enforcement Officer.
As well, the board approved the use of a logo developed by the Transfer Station Committee. It will be used on permits, applications, flyers, and handouts associated with the Transfer Station. It is designed to encourage recycling.
The board gave permission to the Charles C. Lilly Post 149 American Legion to move the WWII memorial plaque from its present location in front of the old library to the front of the post headquarters. The American Legion will assume future maintenance of the plaque.
The Shellfish Committee received board authorization to expend up to $400 from the Shellfish Equipment Reserve account for the purpose of purchasing five green crab traps and ancillary items. The purpose of the traps is to assist in surveying the green crab population in the Medomak River.
Courier Publications reporter Beth A. Birmingham can be reached at 594-4401 ext. 125 or via email at email@example.com.
594-4401 ext. 125
Beth rejoined Courier Publications' news staff in February 2013. She previously worked at The Courier-Gazette from 1981 to 1990.
Her coverage area includes Warren, Union, Friendship, Waldoboro, Washington, and Thomaston and RSU40.
Beth has a passion for photography, and a degree from the University of Maine at Augusta, in affiliation with the Maine Photographic Workshop in Rockport.
Aside from photography, Beth enjoys running and walks along the waterfront, as well as other outdoor activities. She has a daughter, Claire, who is 13.
Recent Stories by Beth Birmingham
Dec 11, 2013
Dec 11, 2013
Dec 10, 2013
Dec 10, 2013
Dec 10, 2013