Another grant comes Alna’s way for voting

Fri, 11/27/2020 - 8:45am

    A nonprofit will give Alna another $5,000 for COVID-19 election precautions, this time for the possible winter vote on changes to the shoreland and E911 ordinances.

    Town Clerk Sheila McCarty said the town is fortunate to get the new grant from Tech and Civic Life. “As with any town, we are under a budget. During these unusual times, there are unexpected expenditures,” McCarty told Wiscasset Newspaper Nov. 25. “We will have the added expenses of staffing hours with hazard pay, PPE (personal protective equipment) for safety and needing to space voting booths further apart.”

    In a series of emails, Tech and Civic Life’s executive and development assistant Dennis Granados said it has approved giving Alna $5,000. The grant follows a $5,000 one TCL gave the town for the Nov. 3 election.

    McCarty said first grant got the town added staff to disinfect between voters and disinfect the fire station after the election; hazard pay, PPE, a UV wand, extra hours and 20% of the cost for an armored ballot box. In yet another grant, the Secretary of State’s office was reimbursing up to 80% of the cost to buy and ship that box, she said.

    “The goal here is to provide a safer, more efficient environment for the residents and staff to vote during COVID-19,” McCarty said.

    Requesting funds for the new vote, Second Selectman Doug Baston wrote Granados via email Nov. 20, “We have to hold a referendum election ... probably in January or February. We're waiting as long as possible given the pandemic, but there are statutory deadlines. We would use (the grant for) hazard pay for election workers as well as any additional preparations in terms of PPE that need to be replenished. My best guess is that it would be somewhere in the neighborhood of $1,500 to $2,000. Any consideration you could give would be most appreciated.”

    Granados wrote him back in three hours and seven minutes. “Upon review, our team has approved this request. We will be following up with a new agreement for the additional funding of $5,000.”

    Nov. 22, Baston thanked Granados and the team for the “rapid and generous responses.” Baston added, “We are a small (population 695) rural community with a limited tax base. So as you can imagine, the pandemic has stretched our government – which is largely part-time and volunteer,  to the max.”

    Selectmen decided Nov. 18 to decide Dec. 16 how and when the town will vote on the shoreland amendment Ralph Hilton petitioned for; and an amendment to the E911 address and road names ordinance voters passed Oct. 6.