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Board of Selectmen meets

New Searsport clerk is familiar face

By Fran Gonzalez | Feb 18, 2021
Photo by: Fran Gonzalez Searsport Town Clerk Harriet Clark sits behind her desk at the Town Office Feb. 17.

Searsport — On her first day on the job as the new Searsport town clerk, Harriet Clark said the day so far had been “kind of crazy,” with many tasks having to be relearned.

She is no stranger to working at the Town Office, having performed the deputy clerk's duties from 2010 to 2017, and those of town assessor from 2017 until recently.

She said she had attended the Feb. 16 Board of Selectmen’s meeting the night before in her new capacity as clerk and wrote her first meeting minutes. The position was left vacant by the retiring Deb Plourde early in January.

Because she was a deputy clerk before, Clark is still on the Department of Motor Vehicles' list of municipal clerks and will not need further training, she said, just updates.

Clark grew up in Searsport, graduated from high school there and currently lives on Cape Jellison in Stockton Springs.

She said she had enjoyed the day so far. “The reason I wanted to come up to the front (office) is, I missed the public.”

At the Feb. 16 meeting, selectmen voted down a request for a warrant article from the Ryans Pass Phase Two Association, to have their private roads maintained with municipal snow plowing and sanding.

The association, which encompasses Sandy Ridge Lane and Serenity Lane, claimed the local highway law (MRSA 3105), which states towns can use their snow plowing equipment on private ways if deemed advisable and in the best interests of the town for police and fire protection.

In the petition for the warrant article, the request reads, "... to allow for the plowing of snow, sanding and treatment of Sandy Ridge Lane and Serenity Lane by town equipment ... in order to provide for access by public safety vehicles including fire, police and emergency medical services to the homes ... residing therein."

Town Manager James Gillway said Maine Municipal Association, recommended the town refuse the article because what is being asked for, "is not legal. ... It is not a town road."

The association also did not gather the required number of signatures to be placed on the warrant, he said.

Selectmen discussed the "Out of House Accounts," approving $1,500 for Waldo County YMCA, $100 for The Game Loft, $500 for Sexual Support Services of Maine, $500 for Habitat for Humanity and $100 for Health Equity Alliance.

The 2021 interest rate was set at 5%, with taxes due Sept. 3 and late charges applying after Oct. 8.

Speaking about the Swan Lake Dam, Gillway said a comment was submitted to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in support of ending the license granted by the agency for use of the dam to generate power.

Swanville residents approved the town's buying Swan Lake Dam for $150,000 plus closing costs from Goose River Hydro at a Nov. 11, 2020, special town meeting.

Searsport, Frankfort and Swanville, Gillway said, came to an understanding about the lake water levels, which were determined by the Department of Environmental Protection back in 1979.

Searsport resident Stan Wood has served on the committee that oversees the dam since it began, representing the town's interest, and will continue to do so, Gillway said. The Swanville Dam Committee will monitor the levels, he said. "They own it and will make sure it's being maintained."

Gillway said the town has worked from the beginning with DEP and both Swanville and Frankfort. Swanville took the lead on the dam purchase after there was a threat from another entity with interest in taking it down, he said.

"Good for them. It's a good decision."

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