Special town meeting scheduled for May 7

By Stuart Hedstrom 
Staff Writer

    BROWNVILLE — A special town meeting concerning Brownville’s tax club has been scheduled for the evening of May 7 after the selectmen formally set the meeting on April 17.
    “What we are looking to do is a special town meeting on Tuesday, May 7,” Town Manager Matthew Pineo said. “What we want to do is make this permanent, we don’t want to come back to this all the time.”

    The tax club, which has been enacted in the past, enables eligible residents to pay for property taxes on an installment basis instead of having to pay their entire bill at once. “6:30 would be a public hearing and directly following will be the town meeting at the Alumni Building,” Pineo said, with the special town meeting taking place at the BJHS Alumni Hall on Railroad Avenue in the Junction.
    In other business, the selectmen met with Town Forester Doug Reed to discuss the potential harvest of another one of the community’s woodlots. Pineo said that one woodlot was believed to be owned by the town, but no work could be done to the parcel until the ownership was confirmed.
    “We had a map from the 1950s stating the town was the owner, but there is nothing for a deed,” Pineo said as a search revealed the property was given to Brownville during the 19th century. “Everybody has these woodlots and they are basically landlocked and that’s why they were given to the towns, to help the towns make money.”
    With the woodlot ownership confirmed, Reed said he would contact four qualified local contractors to invite them to bid on the harvest work. A site review for the contractors is scheduled for late May and the selectmen could then award the bid at the June meeting with the harvesting to start soon after. Reed said he would be monitoring the harvesting, which he estimated to take about two weeks to complete.
    Pineo provided an update of a proposal of Gov. Paul LePage to reduce municipal revenue sharing in the state budget. He said the proposal’s supporters and detractors tend to follow party lines, with the plan heading to the House floor after being split in the sub-committee. “It’s most likely not going to pass,” Pineo said, mentioning that the proposal may not pass by the two-thirds majority needed in order to prevent a possible veto by Gov. LePage.
    “We could be in limbo for months,” Pineo said about when Brownville could know if and how much revenues, in areas such as excise tax and tree growth, are reduced.
    He shared a letter from State Sen. Doug Thomas (R-Ripley) about the state budget situation in which Sen. Thomas wrote, “There is a strong sentiment in the Legislature to finds cuts in state expenditures so we can reduce the burden that will be placed on the property taxpayer.
    “I don’t expect to know exactly what the budget will look like until sometime in June. Revenue projections are down and there aren’t many alternatives for us at this point. We will do the best we can.”
    The selectmen also gave Pineo permission to allow Bangor Hydro to replace two dozen poles along an over 4,600-foot stretch of the Schoodic Lake Road. He said the electric company does pay taxes to Brownville on these poles.

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