JACKSON — At least 50 people crowded the Jackson Community Center March 19 for the town’s annual meeting, where residents raised a little more money through taxation than what was raised at the 2021 meeting, discussed fire department funding and reelected officials.

Residents agreed to raise from taxation $364,480, which is 0.43% more than the $362,907 raised at last year’s meeting. They appropriated $50,490 from the town’s surplus and $2,200 from the Animal Control Reserve to supplement the budget. The total town budget approved is $527,170, an increase of 5.76% from last year’s $498,447.

There was a brief discussion on funding for the Jackson Fire Department. The town approved $15,000 for the department, which is one of the lowest-funded fire departments in Waldo County, Fire Chief Don Nickerson said.

Nonetheless, the department is in good shape financially, he said, particularly compared to other towns, Select Board Member Bryan Menard added.

Less was spent last year than was allocated to the department. “We held the line on everything that we possibly could, so we don’t raise the taxes,” Nickerson said. Equipment is being well maintained and tested frequently. Nickerson is working on a federal grant application to buy SCOTT air packs, which are expected to increase in price in the coming months. That brand of air pack is good for 15 years, he said.

Another resident noted that the department has only a handful of active members, so there are usually only a couple of people in town available to answer emergency fire calls, which results in the need for mutual aid and increases response time.

Under another warrant item, a discussion of access to Kimball Hill cemetery turned into an argument. The old cemetery contains the graves of two veterans on private land. A resident asked whether some of the funds in the cemetery reserve account would be used to increase access to the burial ground.

Another resident said it is a private cemetery, to which the first resident replied that it is a town cemetery. The moderator interrupted and ended the argument to move the motion along. As of the meeting, there was $4,300 in the reserve fund, Clerk Brenda Dennison said at the meeting.

Gary Stacey moderated the meeting, where John Work was reelected to the Select Board for three years with 33 votes, while Debbie Ludden received 22 votes. Marlene Thompson was reelected as town sexton, Donald Nickerson was reelected fire chief, Dale E. Hustus was reelected Emergency Management Agency director and George Faulkner was reelected to represent the town to Unity Area Regional Recycling Center.

 

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