(from the
May 2005 Maine Townsman)

Bucksport: Plans to convert the former Gardner Middle School to apartments for the elderly are moving forward, despite damage recently caused by a fire in the shop area addition at the former school. The town is applying for federal funding. Future plans depend on the results of an insurance inspector’s assessment of the structure.

Biddeford: The city has asked school department officials to cut the proposed school budget by $800,000. Such a cut, said school officials, would likely require reductions in school programs and possibly staff.

Frenchville: The town has received a $400,000 grant and a $134,000 loan to make repairs to the town’s sewer system. Sewer problems have been an issue for municipal officials for the last three years.

Winthrop/SAD 36: Administrators and school board members from the town of Winthrop and SAD 36 (Livermore and Livermore Falls) have decided to share a school superintendent and restructure other administrative tasks. The impetus for the collaboration was the upcoming retirement of Winthrop’s school superintendent. The two school systems anticipate savings of $130,000 annually.

SAD 77: At a public hearing in Machiasport in mid-April, residents expressed strong support for dissolving SAD 77. Meanwhile on the same day in Whiting, residents voted 61-8 to dissolve the district. Machiasport residents were to take an official position on the dissolution with a referendum vote at the end of April.

Lyman/Dayton: In upcoming town meetings, Lyman and Dayton residents will have an opportunity to decide whether to provide stipends for the volunteer firefighters of the Goodwins Mills Fire Department which serves the two towns. The stipend program is budgeted at $17,100 this year, and compensation would be based on a volunteer’s level of training. The cost of the program would be shared equally by the towns.

Augusta: A local developer whose company purchased a 311,000 sq. ft. building and 199 acres of land off outer Civic Center Drive in December 2003 for $4.5 million, now plans a $100 million expansion on the undeveloped land. Kevin Mattson of Harpers Development Co. plans to sell numerous lots for office, retail and light-manufacturing uses. Michael Dugay, the city’s economic development director, says that this commerce center is zoned appropriately for such uses.

Wilton: The town’s police department has been recognized by a national police services organization for its participation in community outreach to elderly/shut-in persons, an end-of-school safety program, and a domestic violence program.

Warren: Town officials will soon meet with Maine EMS regarding the town’s obligation to respond to emergency calls involving inmates at the Maine State Prison. Town officials question their obligation to respond to ambulance calls at the prison. Legislation effective September of 2004 reduced the percentage of ambulance call costs to be reimbursed by the state. The prison has on-site medical services in place.

Houlton: The town council voted in April to buy a $26,500 hot-top recycler for its Public Works Department. The machine is able to melt discarded chunks of asphalt, and reuse it to patch holes in the town’s roadways.

Old Orchard Beach: The town council has approved a new policy at the transfer station whereby residents will utilize a punch card for disposing of certain types of waste. A $25 permit will allow residents to deposit three yards each of acceptable demolition material, brush, leaves and grass. The deposit of materials exceeding three yards will incur additional cost.

Rome: Voters at a special town meeting on April 12 reversed a March decision on the school budget. Residents voted 116-28 in support of the school budget request for $773,232 to continue tuitioning students to SAD 47.

SAD 70: Given a dramatic drop in student population in SAD 70 (comprised of seven small towns in southern Aroostook County) over the past nine years, the school superintendent says that consolidation is likely. Under the new Essential Programs & Services (EPS) funding model, the district has too many teachers for its enrollment numbers.

Denmark: The town is considering moving from a selectmen-town meeting form of government to a town manager-selectmen-town meeting form of government. Voters have approved the raising of funds for a town manager position.

St. Agatha/Northern Aroostook: A coalition of 34 communities (led by St. Agatha) is working to repair/replace failing septic systems and wells in the region. The project received $374,513 in grant funds allocated from the DECD’s 2005 Innovative Housing Grant Program. Additionally, the coalition has received two earlier rounds of funding.

Minot: The school committee has approved a plan to provide the Consolidated School with water from the town’s highway garage well, which means the water will have to be piped about a half mile. About a year ago, concerns were raised about the levels of radon and arsenic in the school’s well water.

Waterboro: Selectmen have approved the implementation of a pay-per-bag system, in an effort to reduce the cost of trash disposal and to increase participation in recycling.

Wiscasset: Residents will soon decide on the fate of a proposed redevelopment of an old industrialized site. In order for the proposed redevelopment project to go forward, voters would have to approve changing the current zoning from “rural and shoreland business” to a new shoreland and marine overlay district.