Town treasurer talks

A few weeks ago, the town of Morrill held a special town meeting. One of the articles was to increase the hours of the treasurer (myself) from 15 hours per week to 25 hours per week. A handful of people in town were very verbally against it, so to ensure that it didn’t pass, they literally recruited people to come to the meeting to vote it down, which they had every right to do. What they didn’t have the right to do was to lie to these people and convince them that the treasurer only worked four hours a week and got paid for 15. Of course the people voted it down!

Let me explain. The treasurer does, and has for many years, get paid for 15 hours a week. I had posted hours of four hours per week at the Town Office and worked the other 11 hours at home on my own computer. There is no possible way the work could all be done in four hours.

I just want the people of Morrill to know that I did not ask for those hours. They were offered to me and I agreed to take them if the article passed at town meeting. I think most of you would have done the same thing. I have done nothing wrong and I’m tired of being treated as if I did.

Just so we’re all on the same page here, I am not quitting my job. My work is done accurately and any one of you is welcome to check it out. I know the selectmen, the secretary/bookkeeper and the auditor will vouch for me.

As Mr. Peeler tried to explain that night, the additional hours were not just for extra work that involves my job, but also to help the secretary/bookkeeper with her extra workload.

Since then, I’ve heard that “they” don’t care about the extra hours. “They” want all of my hours to be worked in the Town Office. According to the Maine Municipal Association, “An elected Treasurer has the discretion to establish his or her own office hours and location.”

I have always been available to do weekly cash-ups for the tax collector and town clerk, even coming in on weekends. I also am responsible for tax lien payments. My hours are posted. If it is inconvenient for a taxpayer to come in during those hours, they are welcome to call me at home. I have never refused to go to the Town Office if it was at all possible. Only once did I find it inconvenient. I talked to the taxpayer. When he learned what my hours were, he was very agreeable to coming in the following week.

I’m not sure this will change any opinions, but I do wish people would not profess to know so much about another person’s job unless they feel confident to step in and do it.

Janie Smith, Treasurer

Town of Morrill

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Candidate wants to represent you

My name is Rita Horsey. I am running for election as Belfast City Councilor for Ward 2. Although each member of the City Council represents the ward in which he or she lives, the entire electorate of the city of Belfast selects the City Council. Therefore, if elected to serve on your City Council, I pledge to represent, to the best of my ability, all the citizens of this lovely city.

Many people don’t realize the importance of local government. It is our local government that has the most direct effect on our everyday lives. It is our City Council that makes the rules governing the use of our city parks; it decides if our tax dollars are going to be spent on our library, or on purchasing a building for a performing arts center; it decides what kind of banner an organization can use for its event held on city property. All decisions, big and small, that in any way concern the city, are the result of judgments by the Council.

Why does the City Council exist? In many towns in New England, the town meeting is still a very important part of government. All the voters in a town get together once or twice a year — or as often as it takes to get through the business of deciding how their tax dollars are going to be spent.

In a larger city, it is not practical for everyone to assemble, so we elect people, city councilors, to represent us in making the decisions that used to be made by the entire electorate. The key word in that sentence is “represent.” The members of the City Council are not supposed to vote just as they want, they are there to vote the way in which they can best represent their constituents. If I am elected, that is exactly what I intend to do — represent you.

Our city does not print money — it doesn’t have its own “private stash.” The money the city councilors spend on behalf of the city comes from us, the taxpayers. It is our money and we should have a say in how it is spent. It is my opinion that, as taxpayers, we have to be encouraged to participate in our government — we have to be empowered. We must say to our elected officials, “This is our city, this is our money, this is how we want it spent.”

The reason I decided to run for City Council is because I feel so strongly about representative government and I get so upset with elected officials who don’t represent their constituents. I decided that I had to get involved or I could not justly complain. Each person who lives in Belfast should know that they have a City Council willing to listen to them and to honestly represent them. And each citizen should be aware they have an important role in making this city work.

Rita Horsey

Belfast

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Accessibility for all

The Americans With Disabilities Act just celebrated its 10th anniversary. While there has been some progress in making things more accessible for the disabled, there still needs to be more done in Maine towns, and that includes the town of Belfast.

As a person who uses a power chair, I would like to thank the Belfast City Council for having some of the sidewalks repaired in the downtown. Those repairs have made it much safer for me to get around. I would also like to thank the many businesses which have found a way to accommodate me and other disabled people, whether it is with permanent ramps or portable ramps.

However, there are some businesses in the downtown which could make their places accessible but have decided not to. To those I have two things to say:

First, what you are doing is discriminatory. One restaurant owner who had been pressured by the Disability Rights Center of Maine said it best, “I finally got it. Not being accessible to people with disabilities is akin to putting a sign on the door that said, ‘No blacks allowed.'”

This in itself should be enough to convince you to make your business accessible, but here is another reason: As the population ages, more and more people will be using walkers, wheelchairs, power chairs and scooters. If your place isn’t accessible, they will be taking their dollars elsewhere.

Neva Allen

Belfast

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‘Reclaim,’ or reverse?

I watched some of the Glenn Beck rally in Washington this past weekend. Martin Luther King III, Martin’s son, should have been the one to speak at the site, instead of Glenn Beck. King III and his father represent the best that America could be. Beck and his followers seem to represent the worst.

Beck said they want to “reclaim the civil rights movement.” I think we all know what he meant by the word “reclaim.” I believe he means “reverse.”

Beck, in fact, seems to have become such a megalomaniac in the past few weeks that he actually is beginning to believe his own lies. If I were an intelligent Republican, of which there are many, I would be starting to get worried about, as Ross Perot would have put it: “That great sucking sound.” Could it be the sound of people like Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck and the American Tea Party sucking votes away from the Republican Party?

It’s interesting to note that the Tea Party is financially supported to a great degree by the Koch brothers, two of the richest billionaires in America — who are extremely conservative. One of their primary wishes is to do away with Social Security entirely (See the article in the current New Yorker magazine.)

Stephen Allen

Belfast

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A ‘loverly’ day in Searsport

Serasport’s Carver Memorial Library had a 100th birthday party that scored a “10” on Saturday, Aug. 21. Librarian Chase Colasante, her board of directors and volunteers put on an event worthy of their patrons and their town. From the colorful balloons and crêpe paper festooning the trees, shrubbery and library entrance, to the new walkway with memorial brick edging, everything looked ready to party.

Then there was tile-painting for children and adults to help create a centennial display, wonderful commemorative party favor posters showing the library from creation to its 100th birthday in a variety of photos, paintings and drawings, a large poster board covered with pictures done by Searsport Elementary School fifth-graders showing their favorite parts of the library and a fantastic cake — it was a birthday party after all — created by Ron Leighton, that not only tasted divine, but had an incredible picture of the library created in frosting and candies that you had to see to believe.

Then, when you thought it couldn’t get any better, the Belfast Band, sponsored by Hamilton Marine, gathered on the lawn. Folks sat in chairs on a glorious summer’s day with just enough breeze to make it comfortable and listened to a concert of a variety of glorious pieces skillfully played with joy and verve, made all that much better by the gracious conductor. One had the feeling of being on an MGM movie set of days long past. I almost expected to see Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland come dancing down the library stairs and tapping their way down the brick walkway.

Everything was well planned and carried off. To be a guest at this party was to be part of a wonderful chapter in the history of Searsport. To steal a word from “My Fair Lady,” it was all just “loverly”!

Charlene Knox Farris

Searsport

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Thanks to all

The members of Poulin-Jones AMVETS Post 6829 thank the Belfast City Council, Belfast Parks and Recreation, Belfast Police and Fire Departments for their support of our Fourth Annual Public Family Picnic held Aug. 21 at the Belfast City Park.

We also thank the following sponsors/donors: Alexia’s Pizza, American Legion, Anglers, Anonymous, Awesome Diner (Dudley’s Diner), Bayside Country Store, Bayview Physical Therapy, Belfast Armory National Guard, Belfast Army-Navy, Belfast Auto Supply-NAPA, Belfast Boatyard, Belfast Historical Society, Belfast Soup & Sandwich, Belfast Variety, Belfast Veterinary Hospital, Belfast VFW, BJ’s Automotive, Brambles, Campbell’s Barber Shop, Colburn’s Shoe Store, Butch Colby, Colby’s, Consumers Fuel, County Copy, Cross Insurance, Dairy Queen, Damariscotta Bank, Dawn’s Cleaning Service, Dead River Store, Deb A Friend, Delvino’s Restaurant, Dockside, Dutch Chevrolet, East Side Garage, EBS (in memory of World War II veteran Harold Edwin Grenier), George Squib, Leonard Harvey, Heavenly Bean Bags/Belfast Signs, Hilltop Store, watercolor painter Diane Horton; items for the barbecue from Jack’s Grocery, Jarrod’s Construction, Jerry’s Tru Value, Liebmann, Gad + Noreen, MacLeod’s Furniture, McDonald’s, Merrill’s Powerwash, Morrill General Store, Mr. Paperback, Nana’s Kitchen, Ocean’s Edge Restaurant, Old Professor’s Book Shop, Out of the Woods, Parenteau’s Floor Covering, Perry’s Nut House, Perry’s Quik Stop, Prime Gravel Inc., Purple Baboon, Rent-A-Center, Reny’s, Scoops, Sears, Sherwin Williams, Silkweeds, Wesley Smith, Swan Lake Grocery, Thai Bhurapar, The Playhouse, Tozier’s Market, VFW, Family Tradition Restaurant, Viking Lumber, Waldo County YMCA, Weaver’s Bakery, Wentworth Family Grocery and many others.

Richard Marsden

Finance Officer

Poulin-Jones AMVETS Post 6829