A longtime selectman in the town of Washington will be challenged by a former board member and business owner in Friday’s election ahead of Saturday’s Town Meeting.

Donald Grinnell, who has been a selectman since 2002, faces challenger Berkley Linscott in the only contested race on Washington’s ballot. At the Town Meeting, selectmen will propose a $775,000 municipal budget for the 2015 fiscal year, which is up more than 13 percent over the 2014 budget, according to a town summary.

Elections to decide the selectman’s race and an uncontested race for a spot on Regional School Unit 40’s board will take place from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday at Gibbs Library on Old Union Road. Saturday’s Town Meeting begins at 10 a.m. at Prescott Memorial School on Waldoboro Road.

For years, Grinnell and Linscott have been on different sides of a conflict over Linscott’s gravel pit at the intersection of McDowell and Mitchell Hill roads.

In October 2013, the town issued a stop-work order at the property after it said permit requirements weren’t met. Linscott said that at first he was under the impression that the pit didn’t have to be permitted. While he’s still working to get a permit for the pit after going through mediation with the town, he said, the ordeal has cost him $30,000 in legal and other fees.

Linscott, 72, who lives on Route 17 and runs Linscott’s, Inc., a feed store, said the gravel pit issue played into his decision to run after serving one year on the board in 1974. After past uncontested elections for selectman, he said, Washington residents “ought to have a choice.”

“If they like what they’ve got, they can keep them, and if not, we can do what we want,” Linscott said.

But Grinnell, 65, a retired military officer who lives on Liberty Road, acknowledged that Linscott is working to get a permit for the pit.

When asked about it, he said he’d “rather not base the campaign on that,” citing his experience and the board’s effort to “bring the town into the 21st century” by streamlining office functions and overseeing road projects.

“Those are the positives that’s moving the town forward,” Grinnell said.

This year’s proposed budget is $92,000 greater than last year’s, largely because of requests for $43,000 more to maintain roads and another $20,000 to repair a 20-year-old firetruck that needs body work.

Selectmen also say Washington needs $18,000 for increases in insurance, salary and payroll expenses and $10,000 more in legal fees, as land-use violation cases that demanded the town attorney’s time in 2014 have continued. It also has received less state aid.

Michael Shepherd — 370-7652

[email protected]

Twitter: @mikeshepherdme


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