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Hope ponders public works option, changes Select Board titles

"Selectmen" are now "Select Board"
By Daniel Dunkle | Aug 27, 2020
Photo by: Daniel Dunkle Roadwork is on the agenda in Hope.

Hope — The Hope Select Board plans to establish a Roads Advisory Committee to investigate whether the town should create its own public works department to handle work ranging from plowing and shoveling to road repair.

Currently, the town has only a road commissioner and has to contract out to hire help to deal with plowing, shoveling, paving, mowing and so on.

The Select Board has voted to appoint members to the committee and create a charge for what this committee needs to do, according to Town Administrator Samantha Mank.

Select Board Chairperson Sarah Ann Smith said at the Aug. 11 meeting that she would really like to get the ball rolling on this, according to the draft of the meeting minutes.

Select Board member Thomas Ingraham said he would be interested in creating a committee and then, over the next several weeks, getting all of the details hammered out and figure out who the appointees will be, the minutes stated.

Rick Bresnahan said he came to that meeting to volunteer for this committee. The minutes quote him as saying that obviously some things need to get hammered out. "People have different interpretations. Some people think the roads have been horrible over the past three years but, then someone else says 'what are you talking about, the roads are as good as they’ve ever been.'”

Ingraham made a motion to create the committee, its purpose and mission and then to appoint people to it once there was a clear charge.

The motion passed 5-0.

Meanwhile, roadwork is being done in the town. The Maine Department of Transportation is repaving Route 235.

"We're pretty excited about it," said Billie-Jean Steere at the Hope General Store Aug. 26.

Mank said the town is also doing paving projects on part of Gillette Road and Hope Street.

In other business, the board is now officially a Select Board, not selectmen.

Smith told board members at the Aug. 11 meeting that someone’s daughter thought they could not be on the "Board of Selectmen" because she was not a man. Bruce Haffner made a motion to change the designation from "Board of Selectmen" to "Select Board." The motion was seconded by Amy Gertner, according to the minutes. Vice Chair Brian Powers Jr. said it does not make any difference to him if it is called the Board of Selectmen or the Select Board.

Ingraham said language matters and there are two people on the board who do not look the part of "Selectmen," emphasis on the "men."

The motion passed 4-0, with Powers abstaining.

The Maine Department of Transportation has been doing work on Route 235 in Hope. (Photo by: Daniel Dunkle)
(Photo by: Daniel Dunkle)
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