From left, John Curtis, Gary Mosley and Glyneta Thomson listen at the annual Town Meeting held in the school gymnasium. PHOTO BY JENNIFER OSBORN

Surry Town Meeting is short and sweet

SURRY — Short and sweet was the theme of Surry’s annual Town Meeting, which was held Monday in the school gym.

This was one of the speediest Surry annual town meetings in recent memory. It took voters less than 90 minutes to get through the 68-article warrant, which was devoid of any new ordinances or contentious issues.

Voters approved a spending package totaling $3,705,474 for FY 2019, which starts July 1.

The $3.7 million includes a $2,642,002 education budget. School Union 93 Superintendent Mark Hurvitt said the new budget is up $98,286 over this year. The biggest increase, $65,000, is due to a greater number of high school students anticipated in the fall.

Surry residents raise their hands to vote at the annual Town Meeting Monday, which was moderated by Surry resident and attorney Tony Beardsley.

The remaining school budget increase is due to greater health insurance costs — $33,000.

The total municipal budget approved was $1,063,472, a figure obtained by adding up the warrant spending articles. That’s an increase of roughly $12,000 over this year’s budget.

In other business, one resident questioned who makes the decision about where road improvements will occur each year.

Selectman Bill Matlock said the decision is made between the town’s road commissioner and the Board of Selectmen.

Another resident asked about a possible increase in transfer station costs. Surry and Blue Hill are taking municipal waste to Penobscot Energy Recovery Co. instead of a landfill since the Fiberight plant isn’t done.

“There will be no increase in taxes because we’ve got the money in reserves,” Matlock said, speaking specifically about Blue Hill-Surry Transfer Station reserves.

“Right now our stance is we will continue to take our municipal waste to PERC (Penobscot Energy Recovery Co.) and burn it and turn it into electricity instead of putting it in the ground,” Matlock said.

The Fiberight plant was supposed to be finished April 1 but is still under construction. It may be fall at the earliest before the plant is finished.

“We will continue to take it to PERC to be burned and turned into electricity until Fiberight is ready,” Matlock said.

In other business, Matlock advised that a Fire Department building expansion project was wrapping up ahead of schedule and under budget. There will be an open house later this year.

In other construction news, Glyneta Thomson said the Old Schoolhouse Project had raised enough money to finish rehabilitating the building. Next year’s fundraising efforts will focus on the purchase of an adjacent property to create a park.

Also, with help from Sen. Brian Langley, the Maine Legislature has approved a bill to rename Bridge No. 5977 in Surry the “Old Surry Schoolhouse Bridge.”

Town Treasurer Tom Welgoss, whose wife, Joan, has launched a school backpack food program, spoke about the need for donations.

The program sends children home on Fridays with nutritious food for the weekend.

“Since October we have provided about 1,000 days of food to children,” Welgoss said. “All this has been done through generous contributions. To keep this program going we are in need of contributions.”

Checks should be made out to the town of Surry with school backpack program in the memo line. The mailing address is Town of Surry, P.O. Box 147, Surry, ME 04605.

In election news, incumbent Selectman Bill Matlock, who ran unopposed, was elected to another three-year term on the board with 49 votes.

School Board member Michelle Berger ran unopposed and was re-elected to a three-year term on the board with 48 votes.

Jennifer Osborn

Jennifer Osborn

Reporter and columnist at The Ellsworth American
News Reporter Jennifer Osborn covers news and features on the Blue Hill Peninsula and Deer Isle-Stonington. She welcomes tips and story ideas. She also writes the Gone Shopping column. Email Jennifer with your suggestions at [email protected] or call 667-2576.
Jennifer Osborn

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