Ten Chosen for 2016 Voluntary Road Tolls


By Jayna Smith

Voluntary road tolls are common occurrences in Calais, especially during the warmer months.  Rarely hindered by weather, members of local charitable and non-profit groups are often found with their collection containers out in the hot sun, in the cold rain, or in high winds--or in the case of the local snowmobile club, on a cold November "Black Friday" day--anxiously waiting for passers to stop.

Typically, motorists are quite generous, leaving a few bills or embarrassingly digging through change in their consoles.  Of course there are those who only stop to ask for directions, while some drive straight through, appearing not to notice the pylons, the signs, the neon safety vests.

At the end of a typical road toll day, the non-profit organization has had a good day with its money-making efforts. For many, the road toll is the largest fundraiser of the year and can often bring in between $1,000 to $1,500, along with the occasional nail, foreign coin, safety pin, and candy wrapper.

Many who frequent Calais seem to think there's a road toll every single weekend during the summer, when really, only ten spots are allowed per the city's ordinance.  As the City's ordinance explains, those groups wishing to hold such a fundraiser must first apply, submitting an application with proof of insurance, prior to the December 31st deadline of each year.

When more than ten groups apply for a road toll date, as has been the case the last three years with eleven applying, a lottery takes place.  This year's lottery was held Friday, January 15th.  Last year, the Friends of Scouts group lost the lottery and were prevented from taking part in a road toll. The year prior, it was St. Croix Firehouse No. 1 Project that missed out.  For 2016, CDRC is the group unable to host a road toll fundraising event.  

Fortunately, as City Clerk Theresa Porter confirmed, when a group is not approved for a permit, that group is guaranteed one of the ten road toll spots for the next ten years if they choose to and can still meet the criteria listed in the ordinance.  


In addition to the Friends of Scouts group and St. Croix No. 1, the following have a day reserved for a voluntary road toll in 2016:  Calais Fire-EMS Association, Calais Little League, Calais Lions Club, International Homecoming Festival Committee, Calais Lioness Club, Calais Rotary Club, PAWS Bravehearts, and Sunrise Snowmobilers.