Route 11 railroad crossing work set for August

By Stuart Hedstrom 
Staff Writer

    BROWNVILLE — The southern of two Maine, Montreal & Atlantic Railroad crossings on Route 11 is set to be repaired over several days in August, the Board of Selectmen learned during a June 12 meeting.

    “We are going to tackle the south railroad crossing to replace it,” Maine Department of Transportation (MDOT) Assistant Engineer Brendan Moran said about the first crossing on Route 11 beyond the intersection with Church Street. “Currently there is steel coming out of the road and I have heard complaints of tires being popped.”
    Moran said the MDOT would fund the project and collaborate with the Maine, Montreal & Atlantic Railroad on some of the specific details of the work. The repaired crossing will include new LED flashing signs, a new track panel and track ties with the crossing raised several inches. “The pavement is going to be cut out on each side about 15 feet from each rail,” he said. “Basically we are going to make it the best we can for dollar amount we have.”
    The railroad crossing project will include ditching work and the installation of a culvert to help prevent water from running over the Route 11 pavement.
    The work is scheduled to go out to bid in July, awarded soon after and the construction will take place in August. “I anticipate it will be a 3-day project, four days max,”  Moran said. He said Route 11 will need to be closed for the work, some of which may take place at night, and a detour via Church Street will be set up to allow all non-residential traffic to travel through Brownville. A map and more project information can be found at
    In other business, Town Manager Matthew Pineo said the previous evening the SAD 41 School Board gave its approval to an over $7,840,000 budget for the 2014 academic year. This total represents a decrease of over $168,000 from the current year, but Brownville’s portion of the spending plan will rise from 2012-13.
    “Our valuation for 2012 was high, so it is going to increase our school budget,” Pineo said about the town’s $57,200,000 valuation, which is set by the state and is the second highest of the four SAD 41 communities. Slightly more than $2 million needs to be raised by Brownville, Atkinson, Milo and LaGrange —  equaling about a $25,500 increase — with Brownville’s approximate $553,000 share slightly more than $20,500 from its 2012-13 cost.
    “We are going to put $20,548.89 more toward the budget,” Pineo said, adding this figure results in a little less than .2 of a mil. This would raise Brownville’s mil rate to between $17.30 to $17.50 per $1,000, from the current rate of $17.30.
    “So we are going to have a slight increase from that,” Pineo said. “I truly believe the superintendent listened to the letter you sent,” he said about concerns the selectmen raised in the town and school’s rising costs presented earlier in the budget process. “It raised a lot of eyebrows and got a lot of attention, it definitely made a difference.” Pineo said Brownville’s valuation is projected to drop in 2013, and as a result the community would have a reduced cost for the SAD 41 budget.
    The district budget meeting is scheduled for Thursday, June 20 at 6 p.m. at Penquis Valley High School in Milo, with an information session beforehand at 5:30 p.m. The budget approved on June 20 will then go out to a district-wide referendum on Thursday, June 27.
    Pineo said the June 27 referendum will not include any questions related to the Penquis Solid Waste Corporation, as earlier in the year the organization’s had looked at several plans concerning the facility in Milo. “We may have new developments after the June 26 meeting,” Pineo said.
    A bid for harvesting at a town wood lot near Schoodic Lake was awarded to Earl W. Gerrish Jr. & Sons of Brownville for just under $21,200, the highest of four local bids received as the work would be bringing in revenue to the town as opposed to the community paying for the project.
    “Gerrish would like to be in there within the next seven days,” Pineo said, as hardwood species would be harvested.

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