"Somebody in my class was wondering, why don't we have a skateboard park in Searsport?" fifth-grade student Mylee Henderson asked selectmen Dec. 4.

Selectman Mark Bradstreet fielded the question. He said a proposal could be discussed with other people, presented as a warrant article and voted on at the next town meeting.

Students from Searsport Elementary School were invited guests at the selectmen's meeting last week in Union Hall, an annual event designed to show students how town business gets done, and give them a chance to ask questions.

Chairman Jack Merrithew explained the "open to the public" part of the meeting was an opportunity for students or town residents to talk about concerns or put forward questions to selectmen.

Student questions ranged from "Does Donald Trump's decisions affect our town?" to "Why don't we have a homeless shelter in town?"

One student also asked, "What's it like being a selectman?"

To that, Merrithew replied, "Very rewarding. You're doing what you can to make the town a better place."

Getting down to municipal business, selectmen authorized Town Manager James Gillway to continue the tradition of giving full- and part-time town employees Christmas turkeys. According to Gillway, the gift is "usually a $30 gift certificate to Tozier's Market."

Last year, the office staff donated the value of their Christmas turkeys to Sue Packer, who was battling cancer, Gillway noted.

Selectmen also authorized spending $3,900 toward the purchase of a new sander by the Public Works Department. Gillway said the old sander was "pretty worn out" and "patched together," and recommended replacing it. He also asked to take the money from the operating budget but to be granted authority to use reserves, if necessary.

Gillway said during the last snowstorm, the town was caught short-handed on plow drivers. He requested hiring "a couple of positions, if we can find them." He explained there is a shortage of qualified drivers and asked for authorization to hire a part-time or part-time per diem person to fill in and help the town crew.

He also requested a part-time employee to help out at the transfer station. Sundays have been increasingly busy, he said, and, as of Dec. 1, enforcement of a new window sticker rule has "added more pressure."

Selectman Dick Desmarais said there has been a need to hire another person at the transfer station for a long time. He suggested, if there were multiple applicants, veterans should be given serious consideration.

Bradstreet wondered if a commercial driver's license is required.

Gillway said in the past, when short-handed, drivers of smaller trucks registered under 26,000 pounds did not have commercial licenses, but said he did not think it was a good idea going forward.

"It's a commercial operation; we are not going to put someone who does not have a commercial driver's license in those trucks. Sidewalk shoveling and pickup trucks plowing driveways is fine, but anything bigger than a pickup will require a CDL license," he said.

Bradstreet asked about assistance available to help get a CDL license.

Gillway said the town would allow applicants with learning licenses the ability to "learn on the equipment," with a licensed driver with them. He said he would advertise the position and hoped this incentive would draw more applicants.

Ultimately, the selectmen authorized hiring two new part-time positions.

The Emergency Management Agency sent correspondence, Gillway said, about the town receiving a check for the October windstorm two years ago. A $24,426 check was issued and an additional $6,350 will be sent when additional federal money becomes available.

As the meeting wrapped up, Merrithew asked if there were any more questions. A student asked for an example of something the selectmen do.

Gillway said, "…today the selectmen voted to spend money. As a manager, I don't have the authority and the person who runs the truck doesn't have authorization to purchase equipment. We have to ask the board ahead of time to spend the money.

"Another responsibility they have is to authorize me to hire somebody. I now have authorization to hire two people for the Public Works crew. I can't do that without their permission and they are giving me authorization by the town, by being elected.

"Signing the warrant is another requirement," he said. "They will look at all the expenditures and authorize the payment. They respond when people have concerns and they authorize all operations of the town."

A student then asked, "Why would you want to be a selectman?"

Desmarais chuckled, looking around the room, and said, "We don't know."