Town councilors elected Michael Perkins chairman and Dana Wrigley vice chairman at Wednesday night’s 60-minute meeting.

Mark Fisher, a nine-year council veteran who bested challenger and former 30-plus-year Councilor Ralph Farnham Jr. in November’s election, took his oath of office, as did Regional School Unit 18 Director Laura Tracy and Budget & Advisory Committee member Dennis McClellan.

The meeting was abbreviated as Town Manager Peter Nielsen, who was slated to deliver a report that included updates on tax-acquired property and the sewer project, was absent due to illness.

And, Peter Garrett, who was scheduled to address the council about Kennebec Messalonskee Trails, also couldn’t make the group’s first meeting of 2012.

Police Chief Michael Tracy attended the meeting to answer councilors’ questions.

He said officers are well aware of recent area robberies of banks and pharmacies and “keep as good eye out as they can.”

Tracy also reported that domestic violence incidents seemed to be on the increase as of late and that some recent situations had involved weapons.

In 2011, Oakland police responded to 13,780 calls for service, compared to about 10,800 a year ago, he said.
Fire Chief Dave Coughlin said the condition of the fire station facility is a concern going forward in 2012, as is the aging fire-fighting force.

Coughlin said the approximate average age of firefighters in Oakland is 50. He said going forward that recruiting and retaining new members will be important.

In other business, the council approved the first reading of proposed amendments to the Control of Public Areas Ordinance. The amendments entailed adding that feeding of water fowl is not allowed at the boat launch and public swim areas at Snow Pond and at the public swim area at Pleasant Point on McGrath Pond.

Perkins said that feces from water fowl congregating at those areas in the summer contaminate the water and grassy areas.
“Step one is to control the feeding,” Perkins said.

The council also approved abating the 2009 and 2010 property tax bills totaling $71.93 on a barn on High Street that was torn down prior to April 2009.

Fisher introduced Eltsov Anton, 16, of Kotlas, Russia, who is staying with him during a visit to the United States. Anton, who said he is interested in improving his English during the trip, said he had met Gov. Paul LePage.

The council’s next meeting is Jan. 25 at 6 p.m.

Beth Staples — 861-9252
[email protected]