By Joseph Cyr
ORIENT — A changing of the guard is taking place in Orient following the annual town meeting Aug. 24 as incumbent selectmen Marybeth Foley was unsuccessful in her bid for re-election.
Donald L. Ellis was voted onto the Board of Selectmen with 51 votes. Foley finished second with 18 votes and Harry Butler received three votes.
Julie Bartlett was re-elected to the Orient School Committee with 57 votes. She was opposed by Louise Beaulieu, 16 votes; and Barbara Sharpe, one vote.
Orient residents will also see a slight decrease in their tax bills this year. According to Town Clerk Alicia Silkey, the town is using money from several different sources to help ease the financial burden on residents. Silkey said Tuesday she did not have the exact budget figure available, but it was down from last year.
“Now is not the time to be increasing people’s taxes,” she said.
Ellis is no stranger to town government. He served as town manager of Danforth for one year. Most recently, Ellis served on the town’s planning board. He is also a retired principal at Hodgdon High School.
“I worked at Customs for a while and started getting involved in town politics down here,” he said. “I feel that I owe the lake something because it’s been awfully good to me. All towns have problems, but we don’t have too many.”
William Walton served as moderator for the town meeting, with 40 residents present.
“A lot of it had to do with the selectmen race,” Ellis said. “The other issue was the transfer station.”
Ellis said the town’s contract for garbage calls for a certain amount of tonnage. If the town goes over that amount, additional fees are assessed.
“Normally in the summer, with the increased tourist activity, we go over that amount,” Ellis said. “There was some discussion of having Pine Tree Waste run our transfer station similar to how it’s done in Weston. But the public didn’t want to go that route.”
Ellis did not have the exact vote on the transfer station, but said it was shot down “quite easily.”
Residents also approved expanding its board of selectmen from three members to five members.
“If you only have a three member board, two people can make all the decisions,” Ellis said. “The procedure is, it had to be on the warrant 90 days before the regular town meeting. We didn’t make that deadline, so we will go with just three selectmen this year, until next August, when it will go to five. There are two or three people who have already expressed interest in joining next year.”
Ellis added all of the other warrant articles passed.
By Joseph Cyr