CAMDEN — The Select Board worked Feb. 15 on drafting a charter change that would institutionalize voting on budgets by secret ballot rather than in open town meetings.

Under the existing charter, the Select Board has the option of putting the budget to voters each year in a traditional town meeting or by secret ballot. Residents will decide in June whether to adopt a change to the town’s charter that would mean it is always voted on by secret ballot.

Residents have already expressed interest in this change, voting in a November non-binding election 1,689 to 425 to go to a paper ballot.

The Select Board discussed this week how that budget would be presented to the voters on the ballot, opting to allow voters to decide on specific portions of the budget as they would in a town meeting.

The ballot would include a separate article for each of the following: General Government; Public Safety; Highways, Streets & Bridges; Health & Welfare; Leisure Services; Cemeteries; and Debt/Capital/Contingency.

In addition, it would include the recommendations of both the budget committee and Select Board, but residents would be voting on the recommended amount from the Select Board.

Other options considered in the meeting included putting forward whichever amount was highest, be it from the budget committee or Select Board; or allowing the voters to choose whichever amount they preferred between the recommendation of the two boards, if they differed.

Select Board member Marc Ratner said he would have liked to have given the voters the choice between the budget committee and Select Board recommended amounts, but he was willing to support the option the rest of the board had gained consensus on to go with the Select Board’s figures.

Sophie Romana of the Select Board presented the options for the charter change and thanks was offered in the meeting to Deb Dodge of the Charter Commission for her and the commission’s work.

There was also discussion of providing more information on the ballots such as revenue figures.

There will be a public hearing on the charter change.

In other business, Town Manager Audra Caler said she has been contacted by NOAA and other agencies that say grants are available to fund river restoration projects including the town hiring a consultant to manage the project, and that some of these grants would be 100 percent funding with no needed match from the town.

The Select Board voted to approve commercial fishermen’s float permit applications for Barney Appleton, Mark Bradstreet, Kent Bradstreet, David Emery, Adam Scott, Bradford Scott, Herbert Reherrell, Toby Wincklehofer and Gary Talbot.

The board also granted conditional approval for a one-year Daysailer License Agreement for the Sally. Capt. Ray Williamson of Maine Windjammer Cruises had raised concerns in recent meetings about an earlier decision that denied him use of a town-owned float. In October, the Select Board reduced the number of licensed daysailers from seven to six in the harbor and did not renew Williamson’s license for day cruises in his 1941 lobster boat, the Sally. Part of the issue at the time was that Williamson had not used the Sally much in recent seasons and others were waiting for a chance to have a spot.

Romana said she supported the measure, saying anything they could do to help especially during COVID.

Vice Chair Alison McKellar said Williamson might be owed “a small apology.”

Williamson thanked the board.

“Good sailing, Ray!” Chair Bob Falciani said to him.

The Select Board voted 3-1 to table confirming two new members of the Camden Public Library’s Board of Trustees — Natalie Travia and Jennifer Gromada.

Falciani said the board had not been given adequate time to vet the new members of the trustees with the bio information only arriving one day before the meeting. He said he did not want to rubber stamp the appointments.

Ratner disagreed. He said it was not a matter of rubber stamping, just trusting the library officials to do their job. He said the board should approve the confirmations that night and voted against the motion to table.

Brief bios of the two were included in the Select Board packets:

“Natalie Travia has been volunteering for the Library in a number of ways over the past several years. She has sold bricks in front of F&B during the initial campaign push, delivered water and snacks to artists during Camden on Canvas, and participated as an absentee bidder at the art auction…

“Her previous board experience was with a non-profit, Wings for Success. This organization prepared women to return to the workforce after recovering from hardship situations. Natalie facilitated educational workshops for the women in the program as a part of her tenure on the board.

“Currently, Natalie plays an important role at Avena Botanicals where she works part-time. Prior to moving to Maine, Natalie worked in Quality Assurance and Documentation for a Medical Device and Pharmaceutical company.

“Jennifer Gromada has been a volunteer at the Library’s Walsh History Center for the last several years. Jennifer has a Doctor of Letters degree, and in this capacity, has helped us document and write in-house publications facilitating local research.

“Before moving to Maine, Jennifer was involved with a number of service organizations (Habitat for Humanity, Trenton Area Soup Kitchen, Appalachia Service Project) as both a volunteer and board member.

“Professionally, Jennifer has most recently worked as an independent researcher/writer, bookseller, and used book buyer. Before that, she was a global marketing manager for IBM’s financial market business.”

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