Edgecomb Selectmen

Edgecomb students learn firsthand lesson in local government

Mooring fees, storm costs and more discussed
Posted:  Thursday, November 23, 2017 - 8:30am

On Nov. 20, class was in session during the Edgecomb selectmen’s meeting. Several Edgecomb Eddy School students learned about local government as they attended the bi-weekly board meeting. Students in grades four through six learned how municipal government set mooring fees, paid for non-budgeted expenses, and worked with state officials to improve road safety.

Chairman Jack Sarmanian welcomed the students and told them the selectmen were honored they were in attendance. “I want to thank those students who wanted to understand how local government works. It’s something we (selectmen) are still wondering about.”

During the meeting, selectmen met with Harbor Master Corning Townsend about revising mooring application and renewal fees. Townsend proposed a $30 application fee for residents and $60 for non-residents. He recommended a renewal fee between $10 to $15. He thought a nominal fee for renewals, which would generate about $1,500 annually, was reasonable. Selectmen questioned if the proposed fees were too low compared to other coastal towns.. In other communities, mooring fees range between $50 in Wiscasset and $250 in Camden.

“I don’t mind being generous, but there seems to be a big difference in what we are proposing and what other towns charge,” said Selectman Ted Hugger. Townsend explained Edgecomb’s harbor master has less responsibility than other communities. In Edgecomb, the harbor master doesn’t have a boat so there is no need for maintenance or fuel purchases. Also, local moorings are owned by individuals, not the municipality. “We don’t purchase the mooring and other equipment. The applicant does that. The harbor master needs about $1,500 and the majority of that is for an annual conference in Castine,” Townsend said.

Selectmen are also considering other revenue options for funding the harbor master. They discussed using boat excise tax and registration fees for paying a stipend and operating budget.

Students also learned how municipal officials planned on paying for the Oct. 30 windstorm cleanup. Municipal public safety officials have to date calculated a cleanup cost of $37,906.60. Edgecomb Emergency Management Agency Director Bill Witzell reported local firefighters spent 408 hours clearing road debris and a crew hired by Road Commissioner Scott Griffin had accumulated about $17,000 in debris removal and had about $9,000 remaining.

Selectmen will ask voters during a Jan. 16 special town meeting to use municipal surplus funds to pay for windstorm cleanup. Witzell reported the town may receive emergency funds from the state and federal government to assist recovery efforts.

Selectmen are also seeking assistance with improving traffic safety on Eddy Road. Town officials and Maine Department of Transportation are considering a state-municipal partnership on various repairs and improvements. Eddy Road is a state aid minor collector meaning Edgecomb and MDOT are financially responsible for maintenance. The project’s major expense is a land purchase for removing a dangerous curve.

Selectmen received an MDOT letter indicating the department may assume a greater share of the project’s cost than the 50-50 split required under the program. The selectmen meet next at 6 p.m. Monday, Dec. 4 in the municipal conference room.