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Presque Isle Voters Pass Water and Sewer Districts Merge, Caribou Voters Approve Two Charter Amendments

| November 6, 2013

LOCALELECTION from WAGM-TV on Vimeo.

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The people of Presque Isle and Caribou made decisions at the polls on Tuesday. Presque Isle voters had two questions to answer – the first being if they favor a merging of the city’s water and sewer districts — that passed by a landslide.

“I don’t think there will be any big savings,” says city manager Jim Bennett. “But there will be the potential to prevent any increases or try to slow down increases in the water and sewer rates with in the community.”

Bennett doesn’t expect anyone to lose their job as a result of the merge, it’s more about not having two sets of boards of directors, two sets of books, etc. Voters in the Star City also approved an amendment reducing the number of public hearings before an ordinance change to one. Bennett says this will make zoning changes faster and on a more timely basis — before this change, the city needed to hold two public hearings and it could take 4 to 6 months to make changes to the ordinance.

“What this does is its probably going to take about 30-60 days off that process,” Bennett says. “So we don’t have someone who wants to do business in the area say oh boy its going to take too long in Presque Isle so I’m going to go to another community to get it done.”

Now we head over to Caribou – where voters approved two charter amendments and rejected one. The first amendment approved changed the beginning of the terms of municipal officials to the first business day of January rather than the first Monday..and the second allows a councilor to receive all of, a portion of, or not to receive their pay for a calendar year. Before that they could either take all or nothing.

Jayne Farrin, Caribou City Clerk says, “An individual can choose to only take a portion of their salary…and maybe see maybe some of it is giving back to the taxpayers of Caribou.”

And the final amendment would have allowed qualified voters of Caribou to run for city council even if they weren’t current with all of their personal and real property taxes — but the people said NO.

“The councilors set the mill rate, the councilors set the budget, and it’s being an example probably to the public,” Farrin says.

State statute says the amendments for both of the cities charters will go into effect on a date determined by the municipal officers but no later than the first day of the next municipal year.

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