Boothbay Harbor and Damariscotta are exploring sharing a part-time planner, Boothbay Harbor Town Manager Julia Latter told selectmen Nov. 22. Latter said she has discussed the idea with her Damariscotta counterpart Matt Lutkus several times and he has reported his board’s blessing to keep exploring it.
Boothbay Harbor Selectmen’s Chair Mike Tomko said the idea came from former Lincoln County Planner Bob Faunce, who has been working closely with Damariscotta. With Faunce’s work there coming to an end, he suggested the towns find a way to share a part-time planner. Tomko said he and Latter attended a meeting last week at the Damariscotta town hall.
“(Lutkus) said Damariscotta was interested in phasing in a person to work part time and would be more than interested in sharing a part-time position with Boothbay Harbor,” said Tomko. “When you peel back some of the numbers and statistics, you find in many ways (Damariscotta) is quite similar to Boothbay Harbor: median price for homes, year-round-type of downtown economy mixed with travel, tourism, year-round residents, school systems, things like that.”
A planner would help rework the town’s comprehensive plan, work on the master plan, and serve as backup for selectmen and the planning board on important decisions, said Tomko. Latter has gathered information on job descriptions and salaries and it appears Boothbay Harbor and Damariscotta have much in common in their needs, as well, he said. “To have a professional be there to help advise and learn and look at the codes in their application would be a tremendous benefit.”
Boothbay resident Trevor Morin brought the town’s first citizen’s initiative in recent memory to selectmen: to get a 2022 ballot question on removing fluoride from the region’s water treatment process. Morin, who has worked at Boothbay Region Water District for 13 years, said his agenda is neither endorsed nor opposed by BRWD.
“Over the past few years I’ve been hearing people say they want to get fluoride out of the drinking water. The risks and dangers of having fluoride in our drinking water greatly outweigh the small benefit … in children’s (dental) health … With all the topical use nowadays, it’s really not necessary.”
Morin described the fluoride water districts use as an untreated industrial waste product known to have negative health effects especially on older people. However, Morin said talking about the effects of the chemical are not his priority – getting a question on the ballot is.
“The reason I’m here tonight is to say there’s a real movement and a lot of people really don’t want this in our public water supply. The only way to get rid of it is to vote it out in all three towns … I think it’s a real issue that a lot of people feel strongly about and I don’t think you would be wasting your time, nor would the other two towns, by putting it on the ballot to see which way it goes.”
The board asked Morin to send more information while he is also contacting Boothbay and Southport selectmen.
Latter said she has heard several concerns about the new Route 27 sidewalk’s compliance with the Americans With Disabilities Act; a piece of the sidewalk across from Hammond Lumber has a telephone pole set in the middle of the pathway. Latter said that was not in the original plans, so it will most likely be discussed at the post-construction meeting Dec. 3.
“The Maine Department of Transportation will be here … they will be the ones to sign off on the project and they’ll be determining whether things are in compliance or not. We’ll go from there when that report comes out.”