Jefferson residents passed all warrant articles, including a 1,002.74% increase to fund emergency medical services and a new medical marijuana ordinance, at the polls on March 29 during the town’s annual town meeting by referendum.
A total of 239 ballots were cast, either in person or by absentee ballot, according to results provided by the town.
Voters approved Article 19, which asked if the town should raise and appropriate the sum of $115,788 for ambulance service, 185-52. The amount represents an increase of $105,288 or 1,002.74%.
Both Waldoboro Emergency Services and Central Lincoln County Ambulance Service provide coverage to Jefferson. Waldoboro EMS serves the northern two-thirds of the town, while Central CLC Ambulance provides coverage to the southern third.
The cost of coverage from Waldoboro EMS is $55,060 from Jan. 1 to June 30, and it is expected to rise for the second half of the year due to changes in Waldoboro’s pension plan for EMS staff, according to previous reporting in The Lincoln County News. In 2021, the cost of Waldoboro’s EMS service was $7,000 to the town of Jefferson.
After a public hearing about the warrant articles on March 7, Jefferson Town Administrator Lynne Barnikow said the figure is a placeholder amount until the town has real numbers from Waldoboro. Waldoboro’s fiscal year runs from July 1 to June 30.
There may be other ways to cover the difference, Barnikow said, should Waldoboro EMS require more for its services.
In 2021, Jefferson paid CLC Ambulance Service approximately $3,500. That number will increase in 2022 to $60,726.
Voters passed Article 13, which asked for approval of a new medical marijuana ordinance, with a vote of 157-73. A previous ordinance, enacted in 2017, prohibited retail marijuana establishments, but as reported previously by The Lincoln County News, Barnikow said the ordinance is not in effect due to subsequent changes in state law.
The new ordinance also goes into more detail regarding site requirements, permit application process and requirements, and other regulations. Jefferson currently has two retail medical marijuana dispensaries, Cloud 9, at 50 Rockland Road, and Elevation Station at 132 Waldoboro Road.
The roads and highways budget, which totals $390,816, an increase of $30,802 or 8.56%, was approved by a vote of 206-22. The increase stems entirely from the snow plowing contracts budget item.
The $386,400 administration budget, an increase of $5,865 or 1.54%, was approved by a vote of 194-32. Small increases to the budget lines for office expenses, insurance/bonding, and elections/town meeting contributed to the increase.
Residents approved the warrant article regarding the protection and health services, which includes funds for the Nobleboro-Jefferson Transfer Station, Jefferson Fire Department, emergency management, animal control, and forest fire suppression, with a vote of 192-36. The budget totals $177,171, an increase of $6,101 or 3.57%.
A separate article asking residents to raise and appropriate $65,000 for Jefferson Fire and Rescue’s reserve fund was approved 187-47.
The unclassified expenses budget, which consists of funding for unorganized cemeteries, public library, Memorial Day, and scholarships, was approved with a vote of 183-45. The budget totals $11,933, an increase of $515 or 4.51%.
Claudia Orff-Reed received 213 votes to be elected to the Jefferson Board of Selectmen for a three-year term. Selectman Greg Johnston did not seek reelection.
Wayne E. Johnston received 197 votes to retain his position as road commissioner for a three-year term in an uncontested bid.
Glenn Gervais, Joan Jackson, and Catherine Walker were reelected to the Jefferson Budget Committee. James Lindsey was elected to the committee. Chuck Olson, who previously held the seat, did not seek reelection. The terms are all three years.
Walter Greene-Morse and John Bernier received 183 votes each to be reelected to the Jefferson School Committee for three-year terms.