Eastbrook budget passes; funds set aside to buy former Grange hall

EASTBROOK — On July 12, Eastbrook held its annual Town Meeting at the Charles L. Yeo Community Center to vote on budget items and elect town officials.

The current members of the Select Board were all re-elected, placing Julie Curtis as first selectman, David DeWitt as second selectman and Craig DuBois as third selectman, all to serve as selectmen, assessors and overseers of the poor for a one-year term.

Residents also voted on the compensation for the Select Board. They set payment at $15,000 per year for the first selectman and $6,000 per year for the second and third selectmen.

All standard town budgeting items passed as written in the town warrant with no discussion. Items included budgets for ambulance services, animal control, administrative costs, waste removal, snow removal various utilities and Hancock County dues, among others.

The school budget, as part of Regional School Unit 24 (RSU 24), was $871,558.96, which is roughly $20,000 less than the budget had been the previous year. Nevertheless, it prompted some discussion before a motion was passed, as to how many students were enrolled in the Cave Hill School for the upcoming year. Eastbrook’s share of the RSU 24 budget is set by the district and not by the town of Eastbrook itself. The item was passed as stated.

Residents also voted in favor of the town purchasing compost bins for those who wished to have them, provided that the cost to the town does not exceed $15,000. This prompted discussion on the issue of solid waste removal, and the costs that the town and its residents usually spend for that service. It was decided that composting food waste would vastly reduce the tonnage of solid waste created by the town and would reduce the cost of having the waste removed.

An item that prompted much discussion was the question of whether the town would authorize $100,000 to be set aside for the potential purchase of the Grange hall property that sits in the center of town across from the fire station. The building has been out of use for some time and needs work. It sits on about an acre and a half of land.

Concerns arose over the amount of money set aside for the building, since even after a $100,000 purchase the property would need a lot of work in order to be used by the town for events. Officials said the property would likely cost less than the amount being set aside.

Voters ultimately favored the measure since the property is in the center of the town and would not be available for town use if an individual were to purchase it for private use. A special town meeting will be held when the time comes to decide whether to buy the property with the money set aside at town meeting.

Malachy Flynn

Reporter Malachy Flynn covers news on the Schoodic beat, which includes the towns of Eastbrook, Franklin, Hancock, Sorrento, Sullivan, Trenton, Waltham, and Winter Harbor. He also reports on the town of Tremont on Mount Desert Island. He welcomes tips and suggestions about stories in the area. To contact Malachy with tips or questions, email him at [email protected].

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