First Selectman Earl “Lee” Ireland speaks at the Industry Town Meeting Saturday afternoon, March 12. Pam Harnden/Livermore Falls Advertiser

INDUSTRY — Voters Saturday, March 12, handily approved an additional $50,000 for design and construction of a new town garage, passed all budget articles and elected town officials.

In the morning, elections incumbent Stewart Durrell received 43 votes for another three-year term on the Select Board. He was unopposed.

Richard Ruhlin received 39 write-in votes for a two-year term on the Regional School Unit 9 Board of Directors. A post March 9 on the Industry Facebook page indicated he was seeking the position. No one had taken out papers for it.

Later, in just about an hour, 22 voters quickly moved their way through the 34 remaining articles in the town warrant.

Before a written vote on increasing the property tax limit of $309,422 – the vote must be by written ballot according to state law – 1st Selectman Earl “Lee” Ireland said the state uses a formula to determine the acceptable economic growth factor. If the approved budget is larger than that, the town needs to vote on it, he noted.

“We write the articles so amounts can’t be increased, only decreased,” Ireland said. “We’re still under the property growth tax.” There is a possibility the limit may be exceeded due to the proposed new garage for which a special town meeting is expected in June, he added, and encouraged voting to exceed the limit to make that easier.


Voters approved $30,000 for the fire department, $5,000 less than the usual amount. Last year voters approved purchasing a truck, the department agreed to put $5,000 towards the payment, Ireland said. “They will try to do more with less,” he added.

The same amount, $3,200 was raised for the animal control officer as in 2021.

“Last year the animal control officer didn’t do what the board thought he should,” Ireland said. “The new one is Michael Ryan.” Ryan and his wife are doing it together, are residents, Ireland said.

Article 22 sought to increase the salary of the Select Board by $1,000 for each position.

Industry resident and current member of the Regional School Unit 9 Board of Directors speaks at the Industry Town Meeting Saturday afternoon, March 12. Prentiss will remain on that board until July 1 when the new fiscal year begins. Pam Harnden/Livermore Falls Advertiser

“Why?” resident Mark Prentiss asked. “You can’t get through this this easy.” It had taken voters 15 minutes to make their way through 19 articles, he noted.

The board went back through town reports, discovered the Selectmen are “on kind of the low end for Selectmen in Maine,” Ireland said. The last adjustment in salary was in 2006, increasing it could help attract good people to serve, he noted.


“Selectmen can increase the salaries of other town employees, we can’t do that for ourselves,” Ireland said.

“Industry Selectmen are some of the lowest paid in the area,” resident Betty Clark said.

One resident asked what ‘Summer Roads’ meant. Road commissioner Joseph Paradis Jr said it was for road repairs in the summer.

“Years ago we talked about having just a ‘Roads’ account due to the uncertainty of when plowing would need to start each year,” Ireland said. Selectmen came up with an annual program that puts $75,000 towards summer roads, $80,000 for winter, and anything not spent goes back to those accounts, thus the odd amounts, he noted.

“The winter one is variable, some years we had to use a lot of salt and sand, other winters are mild,” Ireland added.

Industry is having new street signs installed, Selectman Stewart Durrell said. “Green ones for town roads, blue ones for private roads,” he noted.


For summer roads $61,741 was approved and $59,735 for winter roads.

Resident Richard Plouff asked if a crosswalk could be installed near the beach area at Clearwater Lake.

“The state won’t let us do that,” Paradis said.

“We could do it, but the state isn’t going to sign off on it,” Ireland said. “It’s a liability the Town of Industry just can’t handle.” Clearwater Lake Association is going to erect plastic Jersey barriers filled with water in a half circle around the monument to channel kids, hopefully slow traffic down as it’s coming down Route 43, he noted.

Voters also approved $50,000 for continued work on the design, construction of the new town garage. Last year $22,000 was raised towards it.

Multiple meetings were held to determine if it could be built and where, Ireland said.  “The goal is to bring it back to voters in June, before taxes are committed,” he noted. “If it comes in at $1.5 million, we’re not going to do it, will leave the money in the account, hope costs go down.”

“Industry pays $1.6 million per year to keep the town running,” Ireland said. Of that $124,000 went to county taxes and $935,000 to Regional School Unit 9 last year, he noted. In 1986 those amounts were $14,000 and $134,000 (respectively), he added.

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