Northport says yes to food sovereignty

No to ban on retail marijuana
By Fran Gonzalez | Jun 06, 2018
Photo by: Fran Gonzalez Northport residents vote at the annual town meeting June 4.

Northport — Northport residents plowed through 52 articles in about two hours June 4, approving municipal and school budgets during the annual town meeting.

Moderator Bill Kelly presented outgoing Selectman Drexel White with an award for nine years of service to the town. White thanked his colleagues and Town Office staff and said, "it's been an honor to serve the town."

Town Administrator Barbara Ashey presented White with a gift and said, "(Drexel) has vast knowledge of pretty much everything. He kept us on track with bills in the Legislature and even above that, he is a grammatical wizard ... in that fervor, we have given him his own pen."

At the polls June 2, Sandy Wallace was re-elected to a three-year term on Northport's School Committee with 115 votes and Zack Hollingshead was elected to a three-year term as selectman with 103 votes.

A Food Sovereignty Ordinance passed with 94 residents voting yes and 27 no. Also on the ballot, Article 4, prohibiting retail marijuana establishments and social clubs, was narrowly defeated by a vote of 60 to 67.

At the annual town meeting, Superintendent Judith Harvey commented on this year's school budget and said there were "no increases to taxpayers from last year's budget."

Residents approved a total of $3.2 million for the 2018-2019 school budget.

One resident requested Article 31, dealing with increasing the property tax levy limit, be tabled. The town's finance director, Vicki Eugley, noted, "We're not over the property tax levy limits this year."

One article provoked a lengthy discussion: Whether to continue with the ZeroSort Recycling Program through Pine Tree Waste.

Selectmen said the article was included on the warrant to get an idea of where the town stands after ZeroSort fees increased.

"We wanted to get an idea from the town if this is something that they wanted to continue," White said.

The current contract expires June 30, 2019, though there is no penalty for withdrawing early, according to Ashey.

Residents wondered where the recycling goes after it leaves the transfer station and how many people are actually recycling, but selectmen could not provide those answers.

"I would love to look at other options," one resident said. "We should use this next year to try and find alternatives."

Many in attendance appeared to agree, nodding in approval.

"I think we thought this would be a better system ... but I don't think this is the best choice anymore," another resident said.

Ultimately, voters approved continuing the contract because there is no clear alternative.  Residents urged selectmen to present other options next year.

Candidates running for election addressed the crowd, including Democrats Joe Greenier and Rep. Erin Herbig and Republican Jayne Crosby Giles, all running for Senate; Democrats Jan Dodge and Caitlin Hills, running for House District 97, and Betty Johnson, who is running for re-election as County Commissioner.

Democrat Joe Greenier of Stockton Springs speaks before the town meeting while, from left, Town Clerk Jeanine Tucker, Finance Director Vicki Eugley, Selectman Shelly Patten, Selectman Drexel White, Selectman Mark Humphreys and Town Administrator Barbara Ashey look on. (Photo by: Fran Gonzalez)
Northport residents look over the town's Annual Report June 4. (Photo by: Fran Gonzalez)
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