Roads, rubbish, recycling debated in Eastbrook

EASTBROOK — Reading, ’riting and ’rithmetic are well-known as the three R’s, but at Monday night’s annual Town Meeting in Eastbrook it was six R’s that prompted debate and discussion among voters:

Roads, rubbish and recycling, rabid animals, responsibility and the regional school unit, RSU 24.

After much discussion between voters and selectmen, the recommended amount of $20,000 for roads was approved.

Voters and town officials agreed $75,000 is a lot to spend on rubbish and recycling. The town currently has a roadside pickup system, and selectmen said fuel surcharge costs allowed for in the contract are what have driven up the overall cost.

On rabid animals (and animals in general), townspeople balked at paying $2,000 for animal control because no one has any luck reaching the town’s animal control officer, Richard Ryan.

Townspeople asked if they could elect a new animal control officer but were informed it is an appointed position. Town Clerk Shelly Shaak said this was the first she and other town officials had heard of dissatisfaction with Ryan. She encouraged residents to attend selectmen’s meetings in the future to voice their complaints there.

On the subject of responsibility, resident Julie Curtis asked why the town doesn’t make a greater effort to go after delinquent taxpayers.

Curtis said her calculations showed the town has more than $130,000 in unpaid taxes, and said that money — if collected — could be used to help pay for things such as road repairs.

The RSU was the subject of discussion when voters had to approve raising $743,103.69 for the school system. That figure is based on what the town paid last year and includes a 3 percent increase.

Townspeople agreed they will likely need to look at their options for educating the town’s children next year.

In other business Monday night, the approximately 70 residents at the Town Meeting:

• Approved changing pay rates for selectmen.

• Elected Brian Lane as first selectman, Larry Hardison as second selectman and Arlington Elliot Bickford as third selectman.

• Re-elected Shaak town clerk.

• Elected Charlene Bunker to the Planning Board, taking the place of Mary Harris.

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Steve Fuller

Steve Fuller

Reporter at The Ellsworth American,
Steve Fuller worked at The Ellsworth American from 2012 to early 2018. He covered the city of Ellsworth, including the Ellsworth School Department and the city police beat, as well as the towns of Amherst, Aurora, Eastbrook, Great Pond, Mariaville, Osborn, Otis and Waltham. A native of Waldo County, he served as editor of Belfast's Republican Journal prior to joining the American. He lives in Orland.
Steve Fuller

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