29 May WCME Midcoast News Friday May 29 2015
The War Is Over
Brunswick’s high-pitched battle over a new town budget has finally ended, with councilors approving a spending plan for the new fiscal year that calls for a tax rate increase of three and a half percent–higher than many like but considerably lower than an earlier projection of nearly five percent. Also approved as a part of the budget package is a controversial ten thousand dollar gift to Midcoast Hunger Prevention Program. Councilor Steve Walker was one of six councilors supporting the move—saying he can’t think of a greater moral responsibility that he has as a public official than to help those in need. But councilor Dan Harris who opposed the move, says the council doesn’t have a policy for doling out money to non-profits and also notes the town’s financial challenges.
Topsham Parents Go To Court
In federal court in Portland, an appearance by a Topsham couple accused of taking more than 93,000 dollars from social security payments intended for their twin disabled daughters. 62-year-old Thomas Gerkin and his 61-year-old wife Jill have never been arrested and remain free on a personal recognizance bond in the aftermath of the hearing. The Social Security administration began investigating the couple in the summer of 2013 after a complaint from an agency housing their 28-year-old twin daughters, who suffer from mental disabilities and cerebral palsy.
Expanding Gun Rights
By a vote of 24-14, the state senate has approved a measure that would allow Mainers to carry a concealed weapon without a permit. Three Democrats joined majority Republicans in support of the bill. All Midcoast senators voted against the move with the exception of Republican Linda Baker of Topsham. The bill now moves on to the Maine House.