January 4, 2013

Stokes, other Augusta officials, sworn in

By Keith Edwards kedwards@centralmaine.com
Staff Writer

AUGUSTA — Officials elected in November and taking the oath of office Thursday said they’ll work to help the city and schools grow and remain vital through the ongoing tough financial times.

Mayor William Stokes said as he recently watched “what our representatives in Washington were doing, or weren’t doing,” as they argued over how to avoid the fiscal cliff, it occurred to him how well-represented the residents of Augusta have been by the City Council and Augusta Board of Education, and how proud he was of the city.

Joining Stokes in taking the oath of office Thursday were David Rollins and Darek Grant, city councilors re-elected in November.

Rollins defeated challenger Harold Elliott Jr. to return to an at-large seat on the council. Rollins praised

Elliott and his family and supporters for waging a strong campaign.

“After this hard-fought campaign, it’s time for us to come together as a community,” Rollins said.

“You’ve entrusted us to manage (the city and schools) through tough budgetary times and keep

Augusta on a path to remain a growing and vital city.”

Stokes and Grant, who represents Ward 2, were unopposed in the election.

Rollins thanked his friends and family, and his campaign manager Don Roberts, whom he said has worked for 13 candidates for local office in Augusta, all of whom won their races.

Board of Education members taking the oath of office, all for the first time, were Amanda Bartlett, Laura Hamilton and Nicole Desjardins.

“I’m really excited about this new adventure,” Bartlett said. “I think this is a wonderful time for us.

Although challenging, it comes with some opportunities, as well. I look forward to serving the community and children of Augusta.”

Bartlett and Hamilton were unopposed in the November elections, while Desjardins was elected, also unopposed, as a write-in candidate.

The inauguration was followed by a council business meeting, at which councilors approved a proposal to better define commercial firewood processing, which is allowed only in a few zones in the city, as opposed to cutting firewood for personal use, which is allowed throughout the city.

The ordinance change was proposed in response to complaints of residents about a neighbor who they think is cutting firewood commercially at his home in a residential neighborhood.

Lucien Berube said a neighbor in his Outlet Road neighborhood has tractor-trailer loads of trees brought onto his property, where he cuts them up by chainsaw, for long hours at a time, for resale.

Berube said since Nov. 11 there have been 14 wood deliveries to the neighbor, and, from October to December there were four big logging truck deliveries, and asked councilors to adopt the changes as an emergency measure, so the neighborhood wouldn’t have to deal with commercial wood-cutting for the 30 days it would take for the changes to take effect.

“As of today he was still cutting and delivering,” Berube said. “He made a delivery today.”

Councilors agreed, unanimously adopting the changes as an emergency measure.

City Manager William Bridgeo said a city code enforcement officer will be in the neighborhood Friday “to explain what has happened, to the individual, courteously and with no ambiguity.”

Keith Edwards — 621-5647
kedwards@centralmaine.com

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