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Fort Kent voters approve 2021 budget, elect two councilors

FORT KENT, Maine — Approximately two dozen Fort Kent voters attended the annual town meeting Monday, March 22, and approved a budget for 2021. 

The new  $5,608,655.45 budget represents a slight decrease over last year’s $5,626,093.41 budget, with a projected reduction in the mill rate from 22.87 mills in 2020, to 22.80 mills for 2021.

“The estimated mill rate is 22.80 but that is not final as we have not had school budgets and state valuations decided yet,” Town manager Suzie Paradis said. 

Earlier on Monday, 226 voters selected incumbent Corey Pelletier and Andrew Caron to fill two town council seats for three-year terms. 

Dr. John Bouchard, council chairperson, chose not to run for reelection, leaving his expiring seat open. 

Pelletier garnered 155 votes to successfully defend his seat, which was also set to expire this month.

Caron received 126 votes.  

Brandon Lee Dayton also sought election to the council, but fell short with 106 votes. 

“I’m ready to continue working for the incredible people of our amazing town,” Pelletier said. 

Pelletier and Caron join councilors Jake Robichaud, Carroll Theriault, and Joey Ouellette.

“We have a good mix of seasoned councilors and new blood,” Pelletier said. “I think the addition of Andrew Caron, with his recycling expertise and contacts within the industry, will be extremely valuable moving forward.”

Caron is owner of Caron’s Redemption Center. 

Following the annual town meeting, the new council met and selected Robichaud as board chairperson for the coming year. 

Also on the March 22 ballot, Fort Kent voters were offered a choice between incumbent Sarah Ashley and challenger Beurmond Banville for Ashley’s expiring Subdistrict 4 seat on the seven-member SAD 27 school board. Subdistrict 4 only includes residents of Fort Kent. 

The results of that election will be revealed at a later date as three other uncontested SAD 27 seats are up for grabs this year, with voting to take place in surrounding SAD 27 member towns. 

Subdistrict 1 representative Keith Jandreau Jr. is running unopposed for his three-year seat, which is expiring. Subdistrict 1 includes all residents of St. Francis, all residents of St. John Plantation and some residents of Fort Kent.

Isabelle Lozier is running unopposed for the Subdistrict 2 seat she has temporarily filled following the resignation of Clarence “Cur” Soucy in November 2020. This seat will expire in one year. Subdistrict 2 includes all residents of Wallagrass and some residents of Fort Kent. 

Abigail Pooler is also running unopposed for the Subdistrict 3 seat she has held for several months following the relocation of board member Jacob Theriault. This seat will expire in two years. Subdistrict 3 includes all residents of New Canada and some residents of Fort Kent.

Monday’s Fort Kent election and annual town meeting were held at Knights of Columbus Hall to allow space for social distancing to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

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