MILLINOCKET, Maine — Millinocket is once again blowing its horn.

The Town Council agreed Thursday to allow the town’s fire horn to resume sounding twice a day, but not before Councilor Richard Theriault resigned in protest of the controversy.

With Chairman Richard Angotti Jr. dissenting, councilors twice voted 5-1 to have the town’s fire horn sound daily at 8 a.m. and 9 p.m., respectively. Councilors said Town Manager John Davis erred in ordering the horn stopped on Aug. 12 but they supported his right to make the decision.

About 135 people attended the meeting, which was held at Stearns High School to accommodate the crowd. Resident Tricia Cyr, a co-organizer of nightly downtown protests of the horn shutoff, said she believed the protest would lead to residents taking a greater interest in town politics.

“I think the town itself all came together and spoke for what they wanted,” Cyr said after Thursday’s meeting.

Councilors and protesters agreed the horn is a source of community pride and, according to an amendment to the order restarting its use, will sound as “a tribute to the town’s heritage.”

The votes came after Angotti read Theriault’s resignation letter. Theriault, who did not attend the meeting, wrote that he refused “to waste another 17 months on such trivial issues, when there are real problems to be solved.”

“When I ran for the council, I had the idea that maybe I could help lead the Town of Millinocket out of its quagmire,” wrote Theriault, whose three-year term expires in November 2016. “It is apparent, though, that since the two most important issues to the community of Millinocket are the use of firecrackers, and blowing a horn at the fire station, that there is no leaving the quagmire for Millinocket.”

Since the town’s paper mill closed in 2008, the town has lost about half its population, had an unemployment rate at least double the state average, and suffered declines in state aid. Last month the town reported issuing 252 tax liens filed as part of efforts to collect more than $300,000 in overdue property taxes. That’s a significant number considering that Millinocket had 4,466 residents and 2,155 homes in 2014, according to, which uses Census data to track residential and population trends in the U.S.

Councilors said they were surprised at the vehemence with which protesters insisted on the horn’s return. About 40 cars honked their horns as they drove through downtown nightly since Aug. 17. The group also held barbecues at a downtown business lot.

Angotti said in casting his opposing votes that he regarded the protesters as a minority in the town. He said that to him, the horn’s daily soundings were nothing more than a truancy and curfew alarm.

“I am representing all of the people,” he said.

Others said the horn was a reminder of better days, and while they could not individually reverse the town’s bad fortune, they could get the horn back.

“Enough has been done to this town and this horn was the straw that broke the camel’s back,” resident Nathalie “Money” McGibbon said. “This is part of our heritage. Please don’t take anything more away from us.”

The horn was to resume sounding at 9 p.m. Thursday, Angotti said.

Davis and Councilor Bryant Davis, who are not related, said town officials had been taught a lesson.

“If we want to get people to meetings, maybe we will just shut [the horn] off in the future,” Bryant Davis said.

“I always used to say, If you messed with the bull, you get the horn. Now I found out that if you mess with the horn, you get the bull,” John Davis said.

Councilors on Thursday also amended the town budget to show an expected $75,000 increase in state aid in order to keep the town’s mill rate at 29.66, one of the state’s highest property taxes.

A council subcommittee also continues to work on the town’s proposed fireworks ordinance.