AMHERST — All warrant articles were approved but one at Town Meeting on Sept. 25, with just under three dozen citizens casting ballots. The one article rejected by voters was for contributions to third-party charities. The Select Board recommended that zero dollars be approved this year, and voters followed suit 25-2.
Requests totaling $2,201 came from the Ellsworth Public Library, Community Health and Counseling Services, LifeFlight Foundation, Maine Public, American Red Cross, Downeast Community Partners, the Women, Infants and Children Program and Yesterday’s Children.
Voter rejection of the requests came after they first unanimously approved removing consideration of donation requests from future warrants by a count of 28-0. Future Select Boards may reinstate them at their discretion or citizens may use the petition process to do so, the article stated.
“Our first priority as a Select Board is to provide our residents with all needed services in the most reasonable and affordable method possible,” Selectman Wes Ellington said via email, speaking on behalf of the Select Board.
“As costs rise, we hold ourselves responsible to provide for our citizens’ needs while minimizing their tax burden to the best of our abilities,” he continued. “This led us to take a look at all methods to maximize the value of each dollar spent, and as a result we felt this helped us achieve that goal.”
In 2020, the town approved $1,095 in charity contributions out of $1,630 in requests, giving funds to the Ellsworth Public Library, LifeFlight Foundation, Community Health and Counseling and American Red Cross.
Ellington said the Town Meeting overall went very well.
“There was a lot of great, open, respectful and transparent discussion amongst the attendees,” he said. “The number of attendees was also up this year from last year, which was great to see.”
Voters approved adult use marijuana retail stores and cultivation facilities by a 30-1 vote. Southwest Harbor and Surry have also passed measures “opting in” to allow adult use businesses. Marijuana manufacturing facilities were also approved 31-1. Both articles landed on the ballot via citizens’ petitions.
Voters approved $239,503 in school appropriations and municipal expenditures of approximately $180,000. They also approved land use changes concerning excavations in the Shoreland Zone, changing the limit from 10 yards to 250 yards before Planning Board approval is needed.
A new town clerk, Liz McKinney, was elected for a one-year term, with incumbents mostly voted in to return to their seats. Exceptions were elections to the Planning Board and the Zoning Board of Appeals.
Amherst nominates town officials from the floor at Town Meeting, and an open Planning Board seat held by Malcom Hunter drew a second nomination, Ralph Jordan. Jordan won the seat 25-6.
Hunter was then voted to the Board of Appeals to fill a vacant seat. He was joined by Dennis Boudreau, who filled Larry Lockman’s seat.