STARKS — Residents have passed a moratorium that will prevent marijuana facilities from setting up shop in Starks for 180 days.

The moratorium was the subject of a ballot referendum put before voters Friday during the town election. With 90 votes cast, 62 people favored passing the moratorium and 28 opposed it. Results were announced Saturday morning at Town Meeting.

In another ballot referendum, voters approved a wireless communication ordinance that will regulate where and how wireless communication facilities can be built in Starks. 68 residents votes in favor of the ordinance, 21 opposed it and 1 ballot was blank.

Residents also cast votes for three open municipal positions. Incumbent Paul Frederic won another term on the Board of Selectmen, getting 78 votes. Shane Sours received 11. In uncontested elections, Kerry Hebert was re-elected as assessor with 78 votes. Town Clerk Jennifer Zweig Hebert was re-elected with 80 votes.

About 40 people turned out Saturday morning at the community center for Town Meeting, which lasted five hours, wrapping up around 2 p.m.

Residents passed the 66-article town warrant they were presented; however, they amended two articles.

In Article 39, residents voted to increase the fire chief’s salary from the $3,600 recommended by selectmen and the Budget Committee to $4,000 to reflect better the duties the position entails. The Fire Department does not have a permanent chief. Its former chief, Steve Rackliff, resigned effective March 1. Deputy Chief Bill Pressey is the interim chief while a replacement is being found.

In Article 55, residents approved increasing the amount of money that the town donates to several social organizations to a total of $5,145. Selectmen and the Budget Committee had recommended appropriating a total of $4,388 to be donated to 13 organizations. Residents approved increasing the town’s donation to the Family Violence Project from $100 to $400, the donation to the Maine Public Broadcasting Network from $100 to $200 and the donation to Crisis and Counseling Centers from $308 to $665.

With the amendments, residents approved a budget of $521,106 for 2016. Residents also voted to appropriate $83,549 from the town’s surplus to help fund the budget to lower the tax commitment.

Also at the meeting, residents voted to authorize selectmen to look at options for dealing with the old Town Hall on Locke Hill Road and take action as they deem appropriate, other than selling the property.

“I feel very comfortable allowing that,” Starks resident Erin Norton said. “We elected this board to do our bidding.”

Lauren Abbate — 861-9252

[email protected]

Twitter: @Lauren_M_Abbate


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