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Searsmont

By Joyce Sirota | May 15, 2020
Photo by: Mickey Sirota Daffodils in the May 9 snow in Searsmont.

joycesirota@gmail.com

322-7572

Spring has sprung

Snow on May 9 and near-freezing night temperatures notwithstanding, spring is here. Leaves are coming out, ferns are growing fast (has anyone picked fiddleheads yet?), last fall’s planted garlic is up, and gardens are nearly dry enough to prepare for planting. Tadpoles are emerging from frog eggs, rose-breasted grosbeaks and winter wrens are back and the hummingbirds have shown up at the feeders. There is no truth to the rumor that two Searsmonters were carried off by black flies last Tuesday.

Selectmen, Town Office

The May 12 selectmen’s meeting was short (30 minutes, 13 people tuning in with Zoom). Former Liberty Town Administrator Kenn Ortmann facilitated. Twenty-one appointed municipal officials were approved for the year, no town meeting date was set (it will be considered “soon” after checking with the Maine Municipal Association and nearby towns) and Town Clerk Kathy Hoey presented a town treasurer’s report. Vehicle registrations are down from last year, and late tax liens won’t go out until June, but Kathy says “the town is not in dire straits, and most of that money will come in when people come in later.” Check townofsearsmont.com or call 342-5411 to find out how to “attend” the May 26 meeting at 5 p.m.

James Murphy, Searsmont’s assessor, has sent out revaluation letters to Searsmont property owners whose properties are now to be taxed at a higher assessed value. He says “The last review of … valuations was in about 2010. The town is long overdue” because valuations have “been slipping downward compared to average market sale prices … over the last five years.” If you have information about your new valuation, get in touch with James by June 30 at assessor@fairpoint.net.

Searsmont Town Library

Jana Herbener, who chairs the library Board of Trustees, says the July 18 Book & Bake Sale has been canceled “because of the current state guidelines.” She said she hopes “we’ll be able to reschedule for some time in the fall. We regret having to make this decision because the annual community event is enjoyed and supported by so many!” The summer Searsmont staple event raises more than $6,000 from sale of books and baked goods and silent auction bids. Jana says “the board is discussing other fundraising possibilities,” so stay tuned.

There’s still time to use the free Searsmont Seed Library pick-up service. All packages are handled with gloves. Please read and follow these instructions carefully to pick up your seeds. Find the seed list on the Searsmont Town Library website or Facebook page. Then call in your order to 342-5549 during these times only: Thursday, 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., Friday 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., and Saturday 9 a.m. to 11 a.m., or email your order to searsmont.town.library@gmail.com. You will be given a date and time to come collect your seeds.

Goings-on about town

You probably noticed that Mickey is not listed as a column writer today. He will be a candidate to fill the remainder of Bruce Brierley’s term as selectman. Until the next town meeting and election of town officers, we didn’t want to present any potential conflict of interest, so I will be the sole town columnist.

Still have questions about COVID-19 restrictions, filing for unemployment, who can provide childcare, when restaurants and stores will open and what they will look like when they do? Searsmonters can get information on these matters from state Rep. Paige Zeigler (322-1414, StanleyPaige.Zeigler@legislature.maine.gov) and U.S. Rep. Jared Golden (249-7400, golden.house.gov).

Practice social distancing, wear your mask to protect other people, stay safe and be well.

 

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