Town Clerk Jane McLaughlin summarized the March 17 Brooks town meeting as pretty straightforward. Walter Whitcomb moderated the meeting as he has done for many years. Approximately 55 people attended, and all articles passed without amendments.

Brooks Fire Chief Jeff Archer announced that ISO, an advisory organization that collects data useful in insurance underwriting, changed the department's rating to a class 8B from a class 9-10. The better rating could decrease homeowner's insurance costs, Archer said, and he encourages residents to inquire with their insurance carriers after May 1.

According to ISO's website, "Class 1 generally represents superior property fire protection, and Class 10 indicates that the area’s fire suppression program does not meet ISO’s minimum criteria." The rating is based on several factors including mutual aid, automatic response plans and apparatus, among others.

"We are always trying to better ourselves," Archer said.

A few open municipal positions were filled. Arthur Butler was re-elected to the Board of Selectmen. Residents elected Jennifer Kenney to the Cemetery Trust Fund Committee; and Ray Quimby and Melissa McDonald were elected to the Planning Board for three-year terms.

There was discussion on article 25 to see if residents wished to spend the balance of the Hall Bridge Reserve Account — the bridge work was completed under budget — for the purpose of paving town roads. The total amount requested for paving was $51,805.29, which includes the balance of the 2017-2018 roads budget ($21,375.11).

A letter from selectmen in the warrant said, "We were able to replace the Hall Bridge this year thanks to the residents of Brooks voting to use the Salt/Sand Shed reimbursement to complete this much sooner than we had hoped."

Some questioned whether it would make sense to pay back the salt/sand shed debt, but ultimately the town voted to approve the full amount, McLaughlin said.

Article 41 dealt with when taxes would be due and the interest rate for overdue payments. The new interest rate approved by residents is 4 percent, down from 8 percent, and the due date for property taxes is Sept. 30. Interest will accrue after Oct. 1.

The Spirit of America Award honoring volunteerism was presented to Darren Labbe for his work with the recreation department.

"Susan Champa put on a nice lunch, and raised $500 for the Brooks Fire Department,"  McLaughlin said.

Democrats Erin Herbig and Joe Greenier and Republican Jayne Crosby Giles, candidates for state Senate, spoke about their political views in their bids for office. House District 99 candidate April Turner, a Democrat challenging Rep. MaryAnne Kinney, R-Knox, also addressed residents.

The meeting began at 1 p.m. and concluded at approximately 3:45 p.m.