Sturgis Withdraws from MSAD 15 Board Race in Favor of Incumbent Gary Harriman

In a follow-up message to the community, New Gloucester selectman Laura Jane Sturgis has shared her plan to withdraw as a write-in candidate for school board in favor of Gary Harriman, a New Gloucester resident currently serving on the MSAD 15 board. Harriman will run in June as a write-in candidate. Sturgis’s full May 7 message follows. Continue reading

Laura Jane Sturgis to Run for School Board as Write-In Candidate

In a May 4 letter to the community, Laura Jane Sturgis has announced that she will run for MSAD 51 School Board as a write-in candidate.  Sturgis will complete a term on the New Gloucester board of selectmen in June.  Her letter announcing her run for school board follows:

“At our annual Town Meeting I was shocked to learn that no one had taken out nomination papers for School Board. It is not good for New Gloucester to have an understaffed representation from our town. There are a great many issues facing public education today that will impact many families in our two towns. Continue reading

Community Service Club helps at the New Gloucester Fairgrounds

Students worked from 10am until 3 pm cutting and removing a massive amount of invasive honeysuckle bushes and other brush, taking the brush to the transfer station, weeding and mulching in the pollinators’ garden and planting more plants.The Environmental Resource Committee of New Gloucester is so very grateful for all their help.IMG_0123

Annual Town Meeting Wrap Up in Sun Journal

New Gloucester voters ban retail marijuana

Ellie Fellers, Special to the Sun Journal

NEW GLOUCESTER — Voters at town meeting Monday banned retail marijuana establishments and retail marijuana social clubs in town.

Two members of a committee tasked with coming up with a townwide ordinance on the issue agreed that the ban could be lifted once state rules governing such establishments were approved to guide the town.

“This issue is extremely important to our quality of life and public safety,” said committee member Richard Maguire, a retired state trooper. “I ask you to keep New Gloucester clean of drugs. Keep our children free. It’s a very serious issue and it affects you. It’s about the children, our children and children’s children.”

Member Peter Bragdon agreed with the ban.

“There will be an ordinance after the state comes up with rules,” he said. “Let the state establish standards.”

For now, retail marijuana establishments, including stores, cultivation facilities, product manufacturing facilities and testing facilities, and social clubs are banned.

In another issue, residents voted 66-44 to approve an ordinance limiting selectmen to three consecutive terms. After an absence of three years, they may run for and hold the office again.

Read more http://www.sunjournal.com/news/lewiston-auburn/2017/05/01/new-gloucester-passes-retail-marijuana-ordinance/2122353

Municipal Budget and More at May 1 NG Town Meeting

A 30,000 gallon cistern for fire protection near Route 100 and Morse Road, firefighter breathing apparatus, and plenty of paving are among the budget items New Gloucester residents will be asked to consider at Town Meeting on Monday May 1 at 7 pm at Memorial School. Traditionally an opportunity for neighbors to reconnect after a long winter, this year’s gathering will offer the chance to impose a ban on retail marijuana establishments, to establish term limits for selectmen, and to enact zoning ordinance changes, as well as set the municipal budget. The warrant for the meeting, detailing the budget articles and other initiatives, can be viewed here.

For the municipal budget, some $4.32 million in expenditures is proposed, about a 6 percent increase over current spending. Departmental operating expenses are up across the board; employee merit pay and new per diem stipends for emergency rescue staff on call overnight, seen as a first step in closing the pay gap with neighboring towns’ EMTs, are included as well. Continue reading

Patti’s April 28 “Inside New Gloucester” Column

Historic sign to be unveiled

A special monthly History Barn Open House will take place on Saturday, May 6, from 9 a.m.-noon. At 10 a.m., the original 1776 Bell Tavern Sign, which is a gift from the Chandler Family, will be unveiled. It will hang in the barn as part of the New Gloucester Historical Society’s permanent exhibit.

The public is welcome to attend the open house and learn about the historic tavern. Refreshments, featuring goat cheese, or chèvre, from New Gloucester’s Lazy Dog Farm Creamery, and other tasty treats, will be served next door in the Community Building located at 381 Intervale Road, behind Town Hall.

For Patti Mikkelsen’s complete column in the Lakes Region Weekly, go to http://news.keepmecurrent.com/inside-new-gloucester-101/

Charlotte E. (Aldrich) Hammond, 95

Charlotte E. (Aldrich) Hammond, a longtime resident of New Gloucester, passed away in her sleep on Thursday, April 13, 2017, at Ledgewood Manor in Windham, one day after her 95th birthday. – See more at: http://obituaries.pressherald.com/obituaries/mainetoday-pressherald/obituary.aspx?n=charlotte-e-hammond-aldrich&pid=185207078&eid=sp_ommatch&eid=sp_ommatch#sthash.f0IszuE3.dpuf

Why Should NG Adopt Term Limits for Selectmen?

New Gloucester voters will have a chance to weigh in on whether or not to adopt an ordinance establishing term limits for selectmen at our Town Meeting on Monday, May 1.

How does it work?

If enacted, a member of the Board of Selectmen would serve no more than three consecutive three-year terms. After an interval of at least three years, the former selectman may run for and hold the office of selectmen again. Keep in mind that during this absence, he or she is free to apply to serve on other Town boards and committees, if they so choose.

How many years have the longest-serving board members been in office?

One board member has served since 2001. When his term is up in 2019, he would have been on the board for 18 continuous years. Another has served since 2006. When her term is up in 2018, she would have been on the board for 12 continuous years.

Would they be permitted to run again when their terms expire, if they so choose?

No, there is a retroactivity clause in the ordinance.

Why not just vote out a selectman when his or her term expires?

Voting on selectmen occurs at the June election when turnout is historically low. Many times the turnout is at the 15-20% level, and the election is decided by just a handful of voters. The possible reason that a candidate may win is because they are adept at ‘get-out-the-vote’ efforts, rather than being a reflection of job approval ratings by the citizenship at large.

Why would term limits benefit the Town?

Term limits would likely cultivate a healthy balance of fresh perspective and institutional knowledge among board members.

If term limits were enacted, would it produce a shortage of candidates in ensuing elections?

During the last six years (and perhaps in prior years), there has been ample interest shown in running for this office, as evidenced by the fact that the number of candidates has outnumbered the number of open seats. In both 2011 and 2014, two candidates ran for 1 open seat; and in each of the years 2012, 2013, 2015 and 2016, four candidates ran for two open seats.

Is the ordinance legal?

The citizen’s petition, which contained the ordinance, passed legal muster by Town Attorney Philip Saucier of Bernstein Shur in January 2017.

Town meeting May 1st

New Gloucester’s annual town meeting will take place on Monday, May 1st at 7 PM in the gym at Memorial School. In addition to the usual roster of budget articles, there are several that deal with new or revised ordinances. Article  21 would ban retail marijuana businesses, (apparently a placeholder until the state gets its act together); article 22 would apply term limits to the Board of Selectmen; and several articles (23-27) that seek to modify zoning ordinances.

You can download the warrant on the town’s website: www.newgloucester.com

MSAD 15 Board Meetings Add Detail to School Budget Picture

The MSAD 15 Board and district staff continued to refine the proposed 2017-18 school budget at a series of April workshops. Tasked by the Board with further reducing a draft budget that reflected a 5 percent increase, district administrators sharpened their pencils. On April 12, they returned with a revised $25.5 million budget that limits the overall increase to 3.94 percent, down from an initial 8.8 percent increase at the outset of the budget development process.

The latest budget draft will be discussed at a board meeting on Wednesday, April 26, at 6:30 pm at the high school. After that, information will be mailed to residents in early May and a school budget town meeting held on May 25. The budget goes to the voters on June 13. Continue reading