St. John Valley

Fort Kent voters pass town budget, endorse council incumbents and switch up school board in record turnout

FORT KENT, Maine — Fort Kent voters passed all 63 articles of a proposed town budget with an estimated net tax commitment of $4.9 million during the annual town meeting on Monday, March 28.

A record turnout at the polls demonstrated satisfaction with the current town council when they voted for incumbents Jacob Robichaud and Carroll Theriault to retain their council seats.

Voters also filled two SAD 27 Ward 4 school board seats held by Toby Jandreau and Leroy McKenzie with David Soucy and Tanya Voisine

Town manager Suzie Paradis said that 15 percent of the town budget factors into municipal costs, with the rest expended on the SAD 27 school system, County tax and outside organizations. 

The estimated mill rate is 20.89 per $1,000 valuation, down from 21.08 last year, but that number is subject to change as the SAD 27 budget has not yet been established. 

“We’re hoping to keep the mill rate as is with no increases,” Paradis said. 

The budget also reflects uncontrollable increases including costs of electricity, fuel and a 2 percent increase in health insurance contributions.  

Paradis also thanked all town employees for their dedication throughout the pandemic. 

“It would have been easy for a lot of our employees to just go find work elsewhere or decide not to work but they stuck with us,” Paradis said. 

A record 511 voters turned out for the municipal election and overwhelmingly approved council chair Robichaud with 335 votes, followed by Theriault, who raked in 329 votes. Both will serve 3 year terms.

Council candidate Andrew Birden received 154 votes. Candidates Brandon Dayton and Rick Douglas received 108 and 35 votes, respectively.

In a very close SAD 27 school board race for two seats in Ward 4, Fort Kent voters replaced incumbents Toby Jandreau (192 votes) and Leroy McKenzie (182 votes) with David Soucy (211 votes) and Tanya Voisine (219 votes).

Shannon Lugdon is running unopposed for SAD 27 Ward 2, which encompasses Wallagrass and part of Fort Kent. Wallagrass voters will go to the polls on Thursday so the results of that race are not yet available. 

A video recording of the 2022 annual Fort Kent town meeting is available on the WFKTV Channel 4 Facebook and YouTube pages.

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