St. George news

By Sandra Dickson | Jul 13, 2018
Photo by: Sandra Dickson The season's first schooner, American Eagle, is moored in Port Clyde.

That recent heat wave had some neighbors saying they'd install air-conditioning for the first time. Still, on these soft, humid nights, there's a nostalgia to hearing frogs gallumping and watching tiny firefly contrails. Warm temperatures have heightened the scent of evergreens, the salty summer smell of seaweed on the shore, and the dueling sweet perfumes of mock orange and wild multiflora roses.

Writing the weekly column

In February when I agreed to write a St. George column for this paper giving our citizens more access to local news, I knew I'd be checking in regularly with Town Manager Tim Polky for updates on past and future events and that there would be weekly deadlines, a word limit, and room for a photo. What I hadn't foreseen was how writing this column would help me appreciate all that goes into running a town like St. George, our elementary school, the library, recreation and fundraising, and other areas I try to cover regularly.

This column requires a three-way juggling act of reviewing past events, being in the present, and thinking ahead. I envy columnists who can just sit down and write what's on their minds, serious or witty, without having to check the calendar to make sure the "coming events" won't have happened before the paper comes out.

The art of town government

Running the town is a far more complicated juggling act than writing a column. A combination of elected officials, employees and volunteers are regularly planning and attending Monday Select Board meetings, Tuesday Planning Board meetings, monthly meetings of the Conservation and Solid Waste/Recycling Committees, weekly meetings of the Fire & Ambulance Service, occasional meetings of the Harbor and Budget Committees, and the Firemen's Room has to be readied for monthly senior lunches, voting, town meeting, hearings, and other events.

Behind the scenes, the town manager is on the phone or internet dealing with complaints and requests. He regularly talks or meets with the chairman of the Select Board, various department heads, DEP, CMP, DOT, and project contractors. He sets up contracts, agreements and schedules, and attends Select Board and other meetings as needed.

The code enforcement officer deals with complaints, handles building applications, keeps abreast of regulations and ordinances, and works with the Planning Board.

The harbormaster handles complaints, mooring permits and wharf applications, and works with the DEP,  Army Corps of Engineers and the Planning Board.

The Office Angels answer phones, field questions to the right people, run the copier, do the filing, register voters, handle licenses for dogs, vehicles, boats, trailers, fishing and marriages, record births and deaths, post notices and send press releases, collect excise and property taxes, update the website and newsletter, keep the building clean and the staff kitchen stocked, and assist the town manager and the CEO.

This is just a sampling of what keeps St. George running. In case you're wondering: the flower garden at the office entry is maintained by Diane Oelberger. And we all wish a healthy recovery for our property maintenance manager, Steve Jarrett.

Town newsletter

I was glad to see in the July/August newsletter (available online or in hard copy) a column from our CEO and Planning Board outlining which projects require building or plumbing permits, and the limits to tree-cutting in the Shoreland Zone. Some items surprised me, such as temporary cloth-covered storage facilities, chicken coops, new internal plumbing fixtures, and solar hot water panels. To learn more, call or email CEO Terry Brackett: t.brackett@stgeorgemaine.com.

The newsletter also had a message from Finance Director Elizabeth Curtis, explaining how the 2018-19 Fund Balance will pay bills in July and August until tax revenues start to arrive in September. I hope Elizabeth will explain more about town finances in a future column.

Conservation Commission

Meetings are held on the first Thursday of the month at 4 p.m. If an issue needs discussion at a different time, the commission can accommodate a time change request.

Public supper

There will be a public supper Saturday, July 14, at the St. George Grange starting at 5 p.m. Word to the wise: get there early!

Senior lunch

On July 17, there will be a senior lunch cookout at the Town Office at 11:30 a.m. This is a popular annual event.

Monhegan

The Farmstand opens at 11 a.m. six days a week.

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[PHOTO by Sandra Dickson]

The season's first schooner, American Eagle, moored in Port Clyde.

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