Local Letters to the Editor

Rider in Bike Maine impressed

To the Editor:
    I was a rider in the inaugural Bike Maine ride. I live north of Chicago and this was my first time in the state of Maine. The hospitality I received was overwhelming.

    I want to thank your community for hosting us. The kindness and friendliness of the people I met was heart warming. As I rode intro Dover-Foxcroft, a dad, daughter, and Sweetie Pie warmly greeted me — a welcome sight after riding in the rain and wind. Thank you YMCA for opening your doors to us for camping, showers, and breakfast. Thank you Foxcroft Academy and Congregational Church for hosting dinner and breakfast for us. The meals were delicious and I experienced my first Whoopie Pie. Thank you to all the behind-the-scenes people that helped make our stay in Dover-Foxcroft so enjoyable. Thank you to the bike mechanics for volunteering their time to fix any and all bike problems. Finally thanks to all the drivers who were respectful of the cyclists on the road.
    My experience was incredible. Thank you for being a part of it. The memories I have of this trip and you will be with me forever.

Pat Brummet
Wilmette, Ill.


Great youth fishing
in October

To the Editor:
    As one of the coordinators for Hooked on Fishing Not Drugs program I want to take the time to thank all the countless volunteers and businesses for our program. The Hooked on Fishing program in the Dover-Foxcroft area was held at the Kiwanis Park Pond and was a big success this year.
    The leaves are beginning to change and October is just around the corner. Womancare is getting ready for the Race to End Domestic Abuse on Oct. 6. The Hooked on Fishing Not Drugs awareness group is also teaming up with Womancare, as many of us see that alcohol and drug abuse can lead to domestic violence.
    The Kiwanis Park Pond in Dover-Foxcroft will be stocked with some nice fat brook trout the whole month of October. I would like to challenge all adults to adopt a youth under 15 years of age to attend the Race to End Domestic Abuse on Oct. 6 in the morning and then to bring them to the Kiwanis Park for an afternoon of fishing.
    We all know that hunting season gets under way in October also. My friend Billy Roberts, who passed away last year, would say put the fishing rods away in October and take a youth hunting. I say to Billy, you can take a youth hunting in the morning and fishing in the afternoon. Billy finally caught on to that.
    So the Hooked on Fishing Not Drugs group would like to make sure that local youth under 15 know that they can fish from Oct. 1 to Oct. 31 at the Kiwanis Park. If a youth does not have fishing equipment, they can stop by the Piscataquis YMCA to borrow a rod for free for the day. Night crawlers can be purchased at Mountain’s Market on West Main Street in Dover-Foxcroft.
    The Kiwanis Park has plenty of playground equipment and plenty of room for a picnic lunch and fishing. Let’s show our youth a good time with a little exercise and time spent out in the Maine outdoors — without the use of drugs.

Jim Ellis


Good news!

To the Editor:
    It was standing-room only at the Sangerville Fire Station Wednesday night (Sept. 18th). After a little over an hour of discussion the residents of the town of Sangerville voted 2–1 (86–40) to enact the proposed Community Bill of Rights Ordinance (RBO).
    Many thanks to you all who took part in this grassroots demonstration of true democracy. Whether you were part of the concerned citizens group (SCRG) who worked unbelievably hard to research and write the ordinance or whether you helped by spreading the word door to door, chatted with neighbors, wrote letters to the editor, made phone calls or sent e-mails, posted or displayed road signs, attended the Dessert & Discussion information meetings, asked questions or made comments at the public hearing, or just cast your vote at the Special Town Meeting you were all important parts of this historic process and event.
    Melissa Randall, one of our “Selectmen,” remarked about the vote, “This is a refreshing breath of energy for Sangerville.” Someone else commented at the Special Town Meeting, “This Ordinance is a first brick for building a foundation of strength for our town to keep it the way it is now, the way we love it.”
    I am very proud to be a citizen of the “New” Sangerville and I’m glad to have Sangerville back in the news … good news!
    Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

Cynthia Hall


Democracy at work

To the Editor:
    I attended the Sangerville special town meeting on Sept. 18 and was pleased to see the turnout.
    I have lived in this town all my life and have never seen such an attendance at the regular town meetings, especially a special one.
    This was democracy at work at its best. This is why I am proud to be a United States citizen and live in a country that the Constitution allows us the freedom to have these types of meetings where the people can vote their wishes.
    Paul Davis was elected moderator for the meeting. He did a great job in keeping it orderly and allowed anyone who wanted to speak the opportunity to do so.

Gerald “Chummy”Jackson


Mangled facts lead
to wrong conclusion

To the Editor:
    A couple of weeks ago somebody wrote a letter to the editor complaining about the profligate spending in Dover-Foxcroft’s government. He rightly pointed out that our taxes are going up this year, but implies that it is a result of increased spending by the town. Also, as an example of “out of control” spending he alludes to the town’s increased indebtedness. Unfortunately, the writer managed to mangle his facts to come to the wrong conclusion.
    Why did property taxes go up this year? Our property tax bill pays for three different government entities — the town, the county and the schools (with over half of the bill being for the schools). This past year, the town’s budget increase was zero. The impact to this year’s tax rate was zero. The county’s budget increase was also zero. All of the increase in our taxes came from the school district. Actual expenses in the schools went up by one tenth of one percent.
    Virtually all of the increases were due to two reasons — first we sent 14 more kids to the high school. This increases the tuition. Secondly, Governor Lepage’s budget caused an increase of school expenses by almost $110,000. In March of every year both the town and the school district hold open meetings to explain and discuss the budget. All are welcome to attend. These facts were amply discussed. Don’t blame the town for the increase in taxes.
    Concerns were raised about town indebtedness. The letter points out that since 2009 town indebtedness has increased by over $3 million. This is true. Actually it’s increased by a little over $3.75 million. What isn’t mentioned is that $3.65 million of this debt is for wastewater collection and treatment system improvements. Regarding this borrowing for the upgrades to the wastewater system, the town received another $4,104,000 in grants for these projects — money that does not need to be repaid.
    Altogether the town has been able to do over $7.5 million worth of work on the wastewater system, including the installation of 3.9 miles of new collection system, a new aeration system, new pump stations, and a sludge dewatering system all for less than 50 cents on the dollar. And, some of that debt has since been refinanced to reduce the long-term interest rate down to 1 percent. It’s important to remember that wastewater debt is paid by sewer rate payers not by property taxes. Only those who use the sewer system pay for it.
    Since 2009, town indebtedness excluding wastewater debt has actually gone down by $496,880.
    The other $100,000 in town indebtedness was incurred in the last few years. It went to pay for the floor in the fire station. If we would have had the $100,000 to pay for the new floor (or any other emergency), we wouldn’t have had to borrow the money — and would have saved about $40,000 in anticipated interest payments.
    This brings up another interesting point. I certainly agree that borrowing money is not the best way to pay for expected expenses. Like any prudent householder, we should be saving money to pay for expenses we know we will incur.
    So surely the writer of the letter would join me in voting to pay for the 34 miles of paved streets that we are sadly neglecting? At approximately $200,000 per mile to rebuild ruined roads, that adds up to almost $7,000,000 that we are asking our children to pay for.

Chris Maas

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