NEWS
(from the
July 2005 Maine Townsman)

St. Agatha: The town will be receiving nearly $47,000 in reimbursement funds from the state for its sand and salt storage building. The structure was built in two phases, in 2001 and in 2004. After almost four years of lobbying, state funding became available. Town Manager Ryan Pelletier hopes to put the grant to use in March of 2006.

Kennebunk: The board of selectmen voted 3-1 to reject a recommendation to raise the limit on purchasing without board approval. The limit of $5,000 in purchases will remain in place, rather than the proposed $10,000 limit. The reason cited for the rejection was maintenance of public trust.

Rockport: A 75-acre tract of oceanfront property worth nearly $2.9 million will likely be sold in 2007. Oakland Park, currently occupied by summer cabins, yields a tax bill of $29,557. The town’s current zoning ordinance will permit a future developer to build houses, businesses, a resort, etc. on the property.

Old Town: Residents near the West Old Town landfill have been complaining of odors coming from the facility for several weeks. Landfill test results showed that the odors were not harmful to people’s health; however, steps are being taken to ameliorate the smell.

Machias: The town is hoping to revitalize its downtown. Area leaders plan to submit an application for a $10,000 planning grant. Most of 2006 would be spent developing a plan, then the town would request a $400,000 Community Development Block Grant to fund some projects.

Woodstock: A large group of residents attended a public hearing in an effort to preserve a 640-acre parcel of land in town from development. A committee has been established to consider alternatives to plans for the parcel, including outright purchase and perhaps limited development.

Belfast: The city has been notified that it needs to find a new snow dump location for the snow it hauls from downtown. Its current dump site is in close proximity to a stream, which is in violation of a Maine statute. The city is considering options for new dump areas, including a former ski area.

Kennebunk: A group of citizens has presented the board of selectmen with a petition to change the annual budget adoption process from the open town meeting to a secret ballot referendum.

Brunswick: The town is undertaking a redevelopment project at the 21-acre Maine Street Station property. The town received a $150,000 federal grant, and is developing plans to assess the extent of coal ash contamination and to clean up the site.

Patten: In a June 1 special town meeting, voters rejected a proposal to allocate an additional $100,000 for construction of a new municipal building. $300,000 is already set aside for the construction. Residents indicated they do not want to pay more property taxes.

Lyman: Residents voted in favor of adopting a pay-per-bag policy, effective as soon as July. Town officials hope to see a 25 percent to 50 percent reduction in waste brought to the transfer station.

Detroit: Residents voted on June 8, by referendum, to take away the power of volunteer firefighters to appoint the fire chief. That power now rests with the selectmen.

Hampden: Waste being trucked into the Sawyer landfill here has tripled in volume over the past three years. The landfill owners wants to increase its capacity by nearly 50 percent. Meanwhile, groundwater contamination issues need to be resolved.

Sebago: At town meeting on June 4, voters advised, 36-13, that the town not reduce the board of selectmen from five members to three. A petition with 110 voter signatures had recently been circulated, advocating a reduction in number.

Saco: A siren has been installed at the city’s fire station for the purpose of warning residents of disasters such as impending floods and storms. The siren was previously in place at the former Maine Yankee nuclear power plant in Wiscasset.

Waterville: The charter commission voted June 13 to reduce the mayor’s salary from $10,000 to $5,000, granting a change that Mayor Paul LePage had lobbied for.

Bowdoinham: On June 15, voters approved the construction of a skate park along the waterfront. Bicyclists and in-line skaters will both be able to use the park. A date for construction has not yet been set.

West Gardiner: The transfer station staff recently caught nearly 70 people bringing in trash (within a two-week span) from other communities. A town ordinance says that trash taken to the transfer station must be generated in-town only. The town is attempting to reduce trash-processing expenses, and to increase recycling.

Newcastle: The board of selectmen has contracted with MMA to begin the search for the town’s first administrator. Ads have been placed in two large-circulation newspapers, and on MMA’s website.

Augusta: In a referendum election June 14, voters supported the development of two projects, the Augusta Crossing shopping center, and the Hannaford project. Voter turnout of 36 percent was unexpectedly high, considering no candidates were on the ballot.

Wilton: A boat ordinance regulating overnight use of houseboats on a Wilton lake may be the first such ordinance in the state. It was approved the week of June 13. The ordinance is designed to protect water quality on the lake.

Freeport: The town has approved plans for a community center where residents can meet downtown. Construction is scheduled to begin in September. This $2.8 million project is being funded by state grants, a town bond, and a $1.6 million capital campaign that has already raised nearly $500,000.

Richmond: The chairman of the planning board has been cited by the town for illegally dividing a former church into apartments. Conversion of the building into a multi-family dwelling is a violation of the town’s land use ordinance. During the initial stages of the construction, the chairman was not a member of the planning board.