Friendship votes down fireworks, road equipment

By Beth A. Birmingham | Mar 20, 2019
Photo by: Beth A. Birmingham During Friendship town meeting March 19, Selectman David Benner, standing, explains the need to establish a fund to survey town property. Also shown are, from left, Selectmen Elizabeth Dinsmore and Arthur "Bubba" Thompson Jr., and moderator Dana Dow.

Friendship — After having two articles that sought financial backing defeated, Friendship's municipal budget was reduced to a 9.5 percent increase instead of the original 13.12 increase.

During municipal elections and secret ballot voting March 18, voters shot down spending $6,500 for fireworks for Friendship Day, Saturday, July 27, by a 92-79 vote and raising up to $12,000 for the purchase of a York Rake, a piece of equipment used for road maintenance, by a narrow 86-82 vote.

Articles approved for financial expenditures included raising up to $20,000 to pave the walkways along Harbor Road from the Advent Christian Church to Tamarack Road, by a 116-55 vote; spending $4,000 to replace the copy machine in the Town Office, 143-28; and appropriating up to $20,000 from automobile excise tax for shimming of roads, 126-42.

One other article, seeking voter approval for selectmen to appropriate $75,000 -- $25,000 each from the Vehicle Replacement Fund, the General Fund and Automobile Excise Tax -- and borrow a principal amount of $185,000 for the purchase of a new fire engine, and to raise an additional $49,697.45 for the first of four annual payments on the vehicle, was defeated in a 93-77 vote.

With all other articles passing at town meeting March 19, the proposed budget to be raised and appropriated by the town totals $444,953, an increase of $42,295 from last year. That is after applying $400,000 from various accounts to reduce taxes to the sum of the general budget plus the articles that passed, which was $844.953.

More than half of this year's increase -- $27,438 -- is for the first payment on a plow truck that was approved at last year's town meeting, according to Town Clerk Joel Fearn.

He also said the town is trying to keep $25,000 to $30,000 in the maintenance fund for various projects.

A breakdown of the budget shows:

— General government at $193,830, down one tenth of a percent, or $282;

— Protection at $164,320, up 1 percent, or $1,836;

— Roads at $196,131, up 2 percent, or $3,737;

— Buildings at $65,685, up 10.4 percent, or $6,822;

— Health, Sanitation and Social Services at $99,849, down 1.4 percent, or $1,367;

— Community Development at $4,600, up 2.4 percent, or $110;

— Debt Service at $27,538, as explained above.

Incumbents David Benner for selectman, Victor Motyka for assessor, and Brooke Simmons for Regional School Unit 40 Board of Directors were all elected. All ran unopposed for their respective three-year terms.

Town meeting lasted just under 45 minutes, and there were 32 registered voters in attendance.

Courier Publications reporter Beth A. Birmingham can be reached at 594-4401 ext. 125 or via email at

Thirty-two registered voters attend Friendship Town Meeting March 19. (Photo by: Beth A. Birmingham)
Incumbent Victor Motyka, right, is sworn as assessor by moderator Dana Dow during Friendship's town meeting March 19. (Photo by: Beth A. Birmingham)
Ballot clerk Annelle Blue Miller, left, and Treasurer Kathy MacLeod count ballots cast to approve increasing the property tax levy limit established by state law. The article passed 26-3. (Photo by: Beth A. Birmingham)
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