walkitout (walkitout) wrote,


I grew up in unincorporated King County, now the City of Shoreline (it incorporated after I had moved somewhat south into the actual City of Seattle, as opposed to the Seattle postal address I had grown up with). I am quite familiar with how services can be provided -- and often were provided in the era of white flight suburban growth on the west coast -- by the county and various "districts" (water district, school district, etc.), rather than by a town or city. But boy, here in New England, the county is vestigial. Everything is handled by the town.

Except sometimes it isn't.


Instead of unincorporated county with county supplied services, it is the Unorganized Territory, with services supplied by the state (and apparently some even by the county).

R. points out that unlike the rest of New England, some of Maine never was part of an actual township.

"Other states have unorganized or unincorporated areas, but in Maine about half of the land is Unorganized Territory. The area predates the state itself — it was laid out when Maine was still part of Massachusetts and new settlers were expected to flock there. But the harsh climes of Maine’s wild lands, as they used to be known, never filled out with enough people to self-govern."

"“Maine has this oddity of having all of this space in an area of the country that cherishes town meetings and town governments,” said Kenneth Palmer, a professor emeritus at the University of Maine. “These tiny towns don’t have enough people to generate the municipal staff to really run the town. It’s this abandonment of a town structure.”"

Other things to note: previous rounds of deorganization in Maine occurred in the Great Depression; the transition away from paper to electronic equivalents has damaged the logging industry perhaps permanently (I mean, you never know -- homebuilding could restore it).

Cary's deorganization did not succeed at least yet:


It's for roughly the reason you would expect, at least in a place like Maine:

"“Basically, their [the state’s] argument was if they allowed us to deorganize, it would encourage other towns to do the same,” Kai Libby, first assessor for the town, told the roughly 35 residents gathered Monday in the lobby of Hodgdon High School."

What do you expect from a place that has cut everything else it can possibly cut?

Apparently, a population of 200 is too big a town to just throw in the towel on being a town.
Tags: politics
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