Voters Pass Cemeteries Ordinance, Approve 9% Budget Increase


BROOKS – Residents made a night of their annual town meeting on Tuesday, March 29, with soup and dessert fundraising for the volunteer fire department, followed by a presentation and discussion on an ordinance on the cemetery, then of the municipal assembly proper, all held at Morse School of Remembrance.

The dinner raised $649 to support the fire department. The purpose of the Graveyards Ordinance, it was explained, is to clarify the respective rights and responsibilities of the Select Council and graveyard owners.

Moderator Walter Whitcomb of Waldo, right, is sworn in as moderator at the start of the March 29 town hall meeting in Brooks. Courtesy of Ray Quimby

The town hall opened at 6:30 p.m. with about 75 voters present, and they elected Walter Whitcomb as moderator. After electing the civic officers and after a brief discussion regarding notifying the city clerk, the residents passed the Cemeteries Ordinance.

A line item for the overall city plan, subject/special funds, raised several questions. It was explained that the city should have an overall plan and the $10,500 budget for this was approved last year. The Planning Board has nearly completed the plan and will hold a public hearing after it is approved by the state.

Selectman Mike Switzer explains a term paper to voters at the March 29 Brooks town meeting in the Morse Memorial School gymnasium. Courtesy of Ray Quimby

Voters approved a municipal operating budget of $1,001,301, up $82,931, or 9%, from last year’s total of $918,370. Of this total, $643,457 must come from taxes. An additional $30,000 will be taken from taxes for reserves for roads and bridges ($15,000) and municipal properties ($15,000).

Residents also approved the allocation of $16,128 to eight nonprofit organizations, with the largest donations going to Waldo Community Action Partners ($10,316) for its work with city residents and the Brooks Historical Society ($2,500).

Residents voted to appropriate up to $139,801.72 in funds from American Rescue Plan Act funds. The select committee will hold a public hearing on the proposed expenditure of the funds. Coach Michael Switzer explained that a decision on how to use the funds must be made by May 24 and the funds must then be used within two years or they will revert to the government. Residents are asked to submit any ideas they may have on the use of the funds to the Select Committee prior to the public hearing.

The meeting adjourned at 7:33 p.m. Copies of the annual report and terms of reference (including the cemetery ordinance) can be viewed at the municipal office and on the town’s website.

In the municipal election held at the start of the meeting, residents re-elected William Michael Switzer to a three-year term as selectman, Roscoe Kenney as road commissioner, Hans Albee as fire chief, Ray Quimby on the Cemetery Trust Fund Committee and Heather Quimby on the Planning Board.

After the election, candidates for state and local office introduced themselves and made brief statements, including Deputy Chief Jason Trundy, a Democrat, and Searsport Police Chief Todd Boisvert, a Republican, all two nominees for sheriff of Waldo County; Betsy Garrold of Knox, a Green Independent, and Jesse J. Waryck of Brooks and Benjamin C. Hymes of Waldo, both Republicans, running for the new House seat from District 38; and Republican MaryAnne Kinney of Knox, who will face incumbent Democratic Senator Chip Curry of Belfast for the Waldo County State Senate seat. Waryck and Hymes will be on the primary ballot in June vying for their party’s nomination.

Melissa McDonald is the Republican Journal’s city columnist for Brooks.

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