ORLAND — A group of 31 voters made their way to the Community Center gymnasium on July 15 for an in-person, socially distant Town Meeting. In chairs 6-feet apart, and with most wearing masks, they made their way through 25 articles in about 50 minutes.
Voters approved a roughly $1.8-million budget for municipal expenses, including $415,300 for town administration, $850,000 for road maintenance and $11,300 for the fish account.
While most of the evening’s articles were housekeeping measures aimed to pay the town’s bills, voters nixed $2,100 for the Ellsworth Public Library after selectmen said that unless they doubled their support residents would have to pay for a fee to use the library after October.
Residents supported an additional $20,000 for the Fire Department to purchase turnout gear and by a 23-8 vote authorized “the operation of medical marijuana facilities, provided they operate in compliance with all applicable state and local requirements.”
The secret ballot vote came after a brief statement by Orland resident Matthew Lee, a licensed medical cannabis grower who asked the town to consider the measure as a first step to allowing a retail medical marijuana storefront in town. State law requires municipalities to opt in for such uses.
Town officials told voters that any storefront would require additional planning board action.
As the meeting concluded, moderator Sherman Hutchins, also the town’s state representative, read a legislative proclamation to Connie Brown, who left the position of town clerk after almost 30 years on the job. Likewise, Hutchins recognized outgoing selectman Ralph Gonzales, who also served the town for three decades.
Selectman & Overseer of the Poor, 3 years
Matthew Pierce 270
Lester Stackpole 364*
Assessor, 3 years
Amber Poulin 616*
Fish Committee, 4 years
Peter Wardwell 623*
* Denotes winner