China TIF members get prelim preview of causeway project

by Mary Grow

At their Nov. 4 meeting, China TIF (Tax Increment Financing) Committee members got a preview of the proposed new design for the second phase of the causeway project, which will extend the bridge replacement work at the head of China Lake’s east basin.

Committee members also endorsed two requests for TIF funds that will be submitted to selectmen and, with their approval, to voters at the spring 2020 town business meeting.

Mark McCluskey, the engineer from A. E. Hodsdon, of Waterville, who works with the town, explained that because the bridge is higher than the culvert it replaced (to make room for kayakers to go under the road), the steeper shore needs erosion protection.

His design calls for stone retaining walls, riprap or both along the shore north and west of the bridge and on the south (lake) side between the bridge and the boat landing. Fishing platforms will still be included.

The north side of the bridge will have an ATV trail, the south side a sidewalk. The sidewalk surface material remains to be determined. There will be marked pedestrian crosswalks east and west of the bridge.

The current – and controversial – metal guardrails will be totally removed, McCluskey said, and wooden ones installed where needed.

In addition to streetlights provided by Central Maine Power Company, McCluskey proposes recessed light fixtures under the guardrail along the sidewalk.

The gravel parking area on the north side of the road opposite the boat landing is not slated for change, Town Manager Dennis Heath said.

McCluskey hopes to have a final plan before the end of the year. At least two state departments, Inland Fisheries and Wildlife and Environmental Protection, need to review and approve, he said. An Inland Fisheries spokesman told him work cannot start before July 1, 2020, to avoid disrupting nesting birds in the wetland north of the project area.

Heath proposed rearranging TIF money to add funds to the Causeway Project. He said that under TIF rules, moving money from one project to another requires a local public hearing and state approval. Later in the week, he reported that state officials recommended seeking voters’ approval for such changes, as China officials did in 2017.

As a related project, the state boat landing is to be rebuilt; it will be longer and have concrete on the lake bottom at the end of the ramp, where boat propellers currently create a hollow and a sandbank. Heath said the state will pay 50 percent of the cost of the boat landing work.

TIF Committee members would like to complete the causeway project in 2020, but are not sure there will be enough time. They expect the causeway will be closed part of the summer; perhaps, they said, one-lane traffic would sometimes be possible.

The two TIF funding requests endorsed at the Nov. 4 meeting, both by unanimous votes, were:

  • For the Broadband Committee, $15,000 in the current fiscal year for a consultant to do a town-wide survey of broadband access. Heath said the Federal Communications Commission incorrectly believes 98 percent of China residents have broadband, a figure so high it makes the town ineligible for grants to expand access.
  • For the China Lake Association, $57,500 for three projects: continuing LakeSmart shoreline run-off controls, contracting with a LakeSmart director to relieve volunteer Marie Michaud and continuing the Gravel Road Rehabilitation Project (GRRP) started this year.

The next TIF Committee meeting is scheduled for Monday evening, Dec. 2.

Electronic tags to replace stickers at China transfer station

by Larry Sikora and Bob Kurek,
China Transfer Station Committee

The State of Maine Department of Environmental Protection Agency recently awarded a grant to the China Transfer Station for a Radio Frequency Identification System (RFID). The data from the RFID will help the Transfer Station monitor usage and traffic flows and will assist the state in moving towards its goal of recycling 50 percent of household waste.

The RFID tag will hang from your vehicle’s mirror and replace the current annually-renewed window sticker. A sensor will detect when and by whom the Transfer Station is being used. The technology is similar to the EZ-pass and can easily be moved between vehicles. Effective January 1, 2020, transfer station users will be required to use the new tag.

RFID tags will be issued by China or Palermo town offices. One free tag will be provided to each residence and there will be a charge of $10 to replace a lost or stolen tag. If residents want more than the one free tag, additional tags may be purchased for $10 which is refundable when the purchased tag is returned.

There are three differences between the RFID tag and the sticker currently used. The RFID tag does not have to be renewed annually. Secondly, the tag is not associated with a vehicle license number and therefore can be moved between vehicles. Lastly, the tag must be returned to the town when the property is sold. A $10 refund is given for those tags purchased. Non-return of the initial free tag will result in an assessed fee.

There will be two informational public meetings discussing the introduction of the RFID tag. They are November 13, at 7 p.m., at the China Town Office and November 21, at 6 p.m., at the Palermo Town Office. The November 13 meeting can be watched using the live-stream located at the town of China’s website.

CHINA: Chadwick, Belanger win selectboard seats

by Mary Grow

In Nov. 5 voting, China voters elected Irene Belanger and Wayne Chadwick to the selectboard and approved medical marijuana facilities in town as long as they are at least 1,000 feet from the property line of any pre-existing school.

In a three-person contest for two seats on the selectboard, Chadwick got 494 votes, incumbent Belanger 329 votes and Todd Tolhurst 307 votes.

There were no names on the ballot for three planning board positions. Town Clerk Becky Hapgood said there were write-in votes for all three positions. She will ask the people whose names were added if they are willing to serve.

There were three unopposed incumbents; Budget Committee Chairman Robert Batteese got 564 votes, Budget Committee District 1 representative Kevin Maroon got 533 votes and Regional School Unit #18 Director Dawn Castner got 535 votes.

Vote tallies on the four questions about allowing different medical marijuana operations were as follows:

  • Caregiver retail stores, yes 415, no 272.
  • Registered dispensaries, yes 419, no 268.
  • Testing facilities, yes 390, no 295.
  • Manufacturing facilities, yes 380, no 308.

Each question added “provided they operate in compliance with all state and local requirements.”

Furthermore, on the next question voters required a 1,000-foot setback between the property lines of any of the above facilities and any pre-existing public or private school, by a vote of 580 yes to 101 no.

The final local question, identified as advisory only, asked if voters preferred extended town office hours Saturdays from 8 to 11 a.m. (the current schedule) or Thursdays from 4 to 7 p.m. Hapgood said 490 votes were cast for Saturday morning and 180 for Thursday afternoon/evening.

A total of 699 votes were cast, Hapgood said. China had 2,947 registered voters when the polls opened and gained a few more during the day.

Those coming to the town office during polling hours were not allowed to enter the driveway off Lakeview Drive, but were rerouted via Alder Park Road to the back entrance. The change was explained as a way to prevent traffic accidents as drivers made left turns off the highway. Hapgood said there were no accidents this year.

Excise tax fees to increase; selectmen postpone decision on compactor replacement

by Mary Grow

Vassalboro selectmen dealt with a variety of issues and made several decisions at their Oct. 29 meeting, although they postponed the most expensive topic for further discussion.

By unanimous votes, the three board members:

  • Approved the state-allowed increase in motor vehicle registration fees, from $3 to $5 for a re-registration and $4 to $6 for a new registration. Town Manager Mary Sabins pointed out that the alternative method for renewing registrations is the on-line Rapid Renewal service.
  • Approved closing the north entrance onto Route 32 (Main Street) in East Vassalboro from the yard in front of the Historical Society building (formerly the East Vassalboro schoolhouse), in the interest of safety and to provide more parking.
  • Waived the purchasing policy’s bidding requirement and bought paving stones from Gagne and Son Concrete of Belgrade to create a new sidewalk around the Civil War statue in the park beside the Historical Society building. Selectman John Melrose, who first proposed park improvements, said staff from Fieldstone Gardens in Vassalboro will lay the stones and provide plantings.
  • Appointed Rebecca Lomey a member of the Board of Appeals through June 2020, finishing Gary Coull’s unexpired term. There is still a vacancy on the board, Sabins said; applications are welcome.
  • Approved annual renewals of junkyard and auto hobbyist permits presented by Codes Officer Paul Mitnik.

The item postponed was replacing the compactor at the transfer station. Sabins had quotes from two companies for different size compactors, with prices starting at over $25,000 She said the present compactor keeps getting repaired and continues to work, though she thinks it might be less efficient than in its younger days.

Sabins added that the tall building that protects trash from rain and snow needs repair.

There is a transfer station reserve fund, board Chairman Lauchlin Titus said, but its money keeps getting diverted for other purposes.

Selectmen postponed action to their next meeting to give themselves time to analyze the quotes. Melrose proposed adding possible building repairs to the discussion.

Melrose, a member of Vassalboro’s newly formed solar committee, said he is invited to the School Board’s Nov. 12 meeting to discuss the possibility of a solar project shared by the town and the school.

The next regular Vassalboro selectmen’s meeting is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 14. (The Oct. 29 meeting was moved from the usual Thursday evening because at least one board member had a conflicting Halloween obligation.)

Town manager explains town’s position on stipends in e-mail to fire chiefs

by Dennis Heath
China Town Manager

I watched the LiveStream video of the select board meeting yesterday and have since spoken with the select board chairman. It was apparent that my initial request of Mr. Evans was well-founded to provide what was going to be discussed in writing, since the lack of that information was detrimental to a healthy discussion of the concerns. However, I am writing this to help answer the questions I took from the video. Rather than quote chapter and verse, I have attached the two documents that were mentioned at the meeting.

1. The attached FLSA manual, which I am grateful to Bill Van Wickler for emailing to us, provides a comprehensive discussion of the requirements (including the various statutory references) the town will follow and require before stipend funds are disbursed. While it may have been thought that standby time can be used to calculate stipends, and that may be part of the disagreement here, being on standby is nothing more than the indication of a volunteer’s willingness to be available around the clock. Stipends are expected to acknowledge actual participation in firefighting activity. What I take from the FLSA manual is that if you have a volunteer assigned to a shift at the fire station, that would be an appropriate determination for stipend calculation. To date, your respective practices have been to record responses to calls. It is my understanding that all personal equipment is provided by the fire department, so the only things left for calculation are total hours, total miles and total calls and trainings. Those are what are included in the spreadsheet attached to help determine the total department stipend request. I put in the provision for the individual expense items in the event you have such occurrences, but the receipts must be provided to support that.

2. It was mentioned that the town meeting approved the budgeted amounts, and it is now the responsibility of the town to give those moneys to the departments. A budgeted amount is just that; an amount authorized for disbursement. However, the treasurer is responsible to see that sufficient detail underlies the expense request to recommend it to the select board on the warrant. While the departments may feel this is “not trusting us,” it should be understood that there has not been sufficient evidence to show that the amount requested is valid. One of Mr. Evans’ questions had to do with interpretation of the statutes/regulations. With respect to my duties as treasurer for the town, I am operating under the following: “The treasurer of any municipality shall not pay out any funds for an account or claim against the municipality unless the account or claim is itemized and declared to be a public record. Notwithstanding Title 17-A, section 4-A, violation of this section is a Class E crime, punishable by a fine of not more than $300 or by imprisonment for not more than 30 days, or both.” (30-A MRSA 5604) The requests of the departments for funds are viewed by me as a claim against the municipality, and therefore must be itemized to my satisfaction. The operational funds requested are sufficiently itemized, but the stipend requests are not. As you all know, at our last collective meeting I showed how the stipend amounts would be calculated using data you supplied to me, and that total for the past year and a half was short of $10,000 for the three fire departments and the rescue department combined. That informs me that the taxpayers of the town have now provided more than $63,000 for stipends in two fiscal years, but only about $10,000 can be validated under the provisions of the regulations when using the data supplied by the departments.

3. For now the second time, it has been suggested that we ignore the requirements for proper calculation of these stipends since it would be unlikely enforcement action would occur. This suggestion is irresponsible and rejected outright, because it indicates a lack of professional ethics and disrespect for the law. As town manager and treasurer, I took the following oath: “I, Dennis L. Heath do swear, that I will support the Constitution of the United States and of this State, so long as I shall continue a citizen thereof, and will faithfully discharge, to the best of my abilities, the duties incumbent on me as [Town Manager and Treasurer] according to the constitution and laws of the state so help me God.” Failure to properly discharge my duties exposes me to administrative and civil punishment that I am unwilling to face for the convenience of this suggestion. (30-A MRSA 2607) Each of the fire chiefs took the same oath when appointed as chief of your respective volunteer fire department, so I am confident you are equally determined to uphold that oath.

4. The recurring argument that the fire/rescue departments are independent corporations not subject to the authority of the town was mentioned. It is well understood that the fire/rescue departments are independently incorporated volunteer organizations. However, the moneys requested are public funds subject to public accounting and audit. As mentioned in paragraph 2 above, it is the responsibility to the public that drives me to require the stipend calculation be provided prior to disbursing those funds. If the fire/rescue departments are unwilling to provide the substantiating calculations for the stipend request, then the funds disbursement will not be recommended to the select board on a warrant.

5. Finally, it was the question of Mr. Evans as to whether the select board “intends to unlawfully withhold funds from the volunteer departments.” The select board fully intends to approve disbursement of funds to the volunteer fire and rescue departments, but within the constraints discussed above. Any delay in disbursement will not be the responsibility of the select board or the town. The departments have been equipped with the ability to provide the required substantiation for the stipend funds, so it is in their control as to whether the disbursement of those funds is delayed or not.

I am hopeful this will answer some of the questions from Monday evening and make clear what is required for disbursing the stipend funds. I welcome productive discussion for implementing this in advance of the new fiscal year to avoid any delay in disbursing these funds.

China planners suggest ordinance amendment on board selections

by Mary Grow

China Planning Board members met Oct. 22 with two possible ordinance changes on their agenda, amending the planning board ordinance to have members appointed rather than elected and trying to make one of the criteria for commercial development in the Land Use Ordinance easier to enforce.

Additionally, Codes Officer Bill Butler said the state Department of Environmental Protection notified him that sections of the town ordinance need to be revised to conform to state standards.

Butler suggested discussion of an appointed planning board. Appointment would reduce the work the elective process creates for town office staff, he said.

This year, for instance, there are three openings on the board and no candidates on the ballot for any of the positions. Two of the openings require the board member to live in one of China’s four planning board districts; the person who serves as the alternate can be from any part of town.

Voters are likely to write in names, some serious and appropriate, some who might serve competently but don’t live in the right district and some neither serious nor appropriate, like Donald Duck.

Town office staff record each name, tally the number of votes for each, make sure the votes are valid and get in touch with those with the most votes to find out whether they will serve.

Board member Jim Wilkens expressed several concerns about an appointed board. It might become a popularity contest, people without qualifications might be appointed and townspeople would have no direct say in the choice, he said.

Butler said would-be appointees would need to apply and selectmen (assumed to be the appointing group) would evaluate their qualifications.

Toni Wall also had doubts about appointments. Appointees might feel answerable to the selectboard, and they could be dismissed by selectmen, not voters, she said.

She suggested improvements to the election process, like posting signs asking voters not to write in anyone unless they had the candidate’s permission and an assurance she or he was willing to serve.

Based on her experience, Wall also recommended changing planning board terms from two years to five years, to give board members more time to learn their jobs.

Board members generally agreed that keeping the four planning board districts to ensure members came from different parts of town was valuable. Wilkens and Wall would like to see selectmen also elected from districts.

In August board members discussed at length ways to enforce the requirement that a commercial development not create undue noise (see The Town Line, Aug. 15, 2019). After a short discussion on Oct. 22, they decided by consensus not to recommend any change in the current ordinance.

Butler said state officials want a revised definition of “impervious surface” in China’s shoreland ordinance. He predicted the change would seriously limit enlarging small non-conforming buildings close to a water body and would not be popular.

China’s timber harvesting regulations are also out of line with state standards, he said.

Board members talked of having draft revisions ready for state review in the spring of 2020 in preparation for a November 2020 local vote.

The next regular planning board meeting has been rescheduled from the usual second Tuesday of the month to Tuesday, Nov. 19, to avoid conflicting with the Nov. 12 meetings of the selectboard (moved from the usual Monday due to the Nov. 11 Veterans Day holiday) and the Thurston Park Committee.

Breton rebutts candidates’ statements

by Mary Grow

After completion of the agenda at the Oct. 23 China selectmen’s meeting, Selectman Ronald Breton rebutted comments made by board candidates Todd Tolhurst and Wayne Chadwick at the Oct. 20 candidates’ forum (see The Town Line, Oct. 24, 2019). Speaking for himself only, Breton said:

  • Executive-session discussions are allowed and justified to protect people’s privacy, and any resulting votes are taken in public.
  • He is “insulted” by the incorrect statement that the selectmen rubber-stamp the town manager’s actions.
  • Selectmen asked voters to buy beachfront property because acquiring public lake access is a goal in China’s comprehensive plan.
  • Selectmen have not mistreated the volunteer fire departments; the town manager explained why voter-approved stipends have not yet been paid.
  • Before buying the new excavator, selectmen got estimates of future savings – $94,000 in the first 10 years.
  • The new portable building will let local police do their paperwork in privacy. It will not need a water supply, because the older portable nearby will have a bathroom.
  • Allegations of political posturing and backroom maneuvers are unsubstantiated.

Given China’s lack of debt and adequate surplus funds, “We must be doing something right,” Breton concluded.

Chadwick rebutted briefly, saying he had a right to express his opinions in reply to audience questions at the forum, and Breton should not take them personally. Chadwick, Tolhurst and incumbent Belanger are candidates for two openings on the selectboard.

Breton promised to work with whoever is elected.

China Selectboard accepts LaVerdiere’s resignation: MacFarland opposes decision

by Mary Grow

Three of the four China selectmen at the Oct. 28 board meeting accepted with regret Jeff LaVerdiere’s written resignation from the board, confirming his oral resignation at the Oct. 15 meeting (see The Town Line, Oct. 24, 2019).

Retiring board chairman Robert MacFarland voted against the motion to accept the resignation. “I didn’t want him to resign, so I’m not gonna accept his resignation,” MacFarland said.

LaVerdiere wrote on Oct. 28 that he was resigning because “I have not had any impact on reducing spending and I am not needed to make ill informed decisions.”

The current issue that “I cannot be part of is the wording of the F/D [fire department] MOU [memorandum of understanding] which the town manager wrote and S/B [selectboard] members support. It is written in a negative tone in my opinion.”

He continued by saying that to promote residents’ best interest, town officials should “be working in good faith toward a positive outcome for our town. All I see is a power struggle!”

Since state law lets municipalities that fund nonprofit organizations review related financial records, he considers the MOU redundant.

LaVerdiere’s letter ends, “I pray for you all to have a good year and work through the ongoing strife.”

The MOU sets out the duties of the fire chiefs and town officials in keeping records of the departments’ use of town funds. Town Manager Dennis Heath said the fire chiefs agreed to the MOU in July, but have not yet signed it. When they do, their checks are at the town office ready to be handed over, he said.

The motion to accept LaVerdiere’s resignation included direction to Heath to schedule a special election for a new board member as soon as possible.

[See also: Breton rebutts candidates’ statements]

In preparation for the regular state and local elections Nov. 5, selectmen signed an ordinance prohibiting vehicles parking or standing on either side of Lakeview Drive within 500 feet of the town office driveway on Election Day. The Nov. 5 temporary parking ban, like the temporary closure of the driveway (see the map in The Town Line, Oct. 24, p. 10) is intended to reduce the chances of traffic accidents.

China’s polls will be open Nov. 5 from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. in the portable building behind the town office.

Selectmen were presented with two questions from residents during the Oct. 23 meeting. They could answer only one on the spot.

Resident Tom Michaud said someone asked him why several Oakland policemen were parked in front of China Middle School one day. MacFarland replied that Regional School Unit (RSU) #18 sent officers to present the DARE (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) program.

Michaud reported that work is complete on one of the fire roads being improved partly with China’s TIF (Tax Increment Finance) fund, created by taxes paid by Central Maine Power Co. Selectman Ronald Breton asked whether spending local tax money entitled all taxpayers to use the private fire road. Heath said he will ask the Maine Municipal Association legal staff for an answer.

The manager said the new RFID (radio-frequency identification) placards for entrance to the transfer station are being tested by Transfer Station Committee members and a few other people. Two public meetings to explain the new system are scheduled: Wednesday, Nov. 13, at 7 p.m., at the China town office and Thursday, Nov. 21, at 6 p.m., at the Palermo town office.

Selectman Irene Belanger said the China for a Lifetime Committee is looking for volunteers to shovel sidewalks for elderly residents this winter. Teenagers as well as adults are welcome to get in touch with her or with Eric Austin for more information or to volunteer.

MacFarland announced four Halloween trunk ‘r treat programs Oct. 31, at the China Village fire station, the town office, the China Church of the Nazarene on Route 3 and Erskine Academy.

(According to the website of Central Church, also on Route 3, that church holds its first Great Pumpkin Bash Halloween evening, providing “a safe place for kids and families to celebrate” with activities and refreshments.)

The next regular China selectmen’s meeting is scheduled for Tuesday evening, Nov. 12, instead of the usual Monday, because Monday, Nov. 11, is the Veterans Day holiday. The town office will be closed Nov. 11.

China’s comprehensive planning committee wrapping up duties

by Mary Grow

On Oct. 23, China Comprehensive Plan Committee members held what might be their final meeting until they review a draft revised comprehensive plan early in 2020.

The Oct. 23 topics were natural resources, farmland and forestry. Two chapters in the 2008 plan remain to be reviewed, those dealing with public facilities and recreation.

Committee members agreed that Kennebec Valley Council of Governments consultant Joel Greenwood should review the final chapters and if he recommends major changes, bring them to a Dec. 4 meeting. If events in the last 11 years don’t justify significant rewording, committee members asked Greenwood to add the chapters to the previously-reviewed sections to complete a draft plan.

The draft would be re-reviewed by the committee and shared with residents. Next, Greenwood said, several state agencies look at the plan before it comes back to the committee to approve a final version to be submitted to town voters.

Topics discussed Oct. 23 included China Lake and other water bodies, deer yards, critical natural areas, farmland, forestry, invasive species (on land and in the water) and regional cooperation to protect natural resources. The China Region Lakes Alliance was cited as an example of regional cooperation.

Committee members Carlaine Bovio and Jeannette Smith said regulations protecting China Lake should be better explained and better enforced. “Some things have been a little bit lenient, and we need to look at that leniency,” Bovio said.

Several topics came back to a point made in earlier meetings: the easiest way to treat different areas differently, when appropriate, would be zoning, but China voters have a reputation for opposing anything involving “the z word.” Other Maine towns have created zones to protect natural resources, residential centers, farmland, forests and other areas where voters think proposed changes need to meet specific standards.

CHINA: Firefighters’ stipend argument continues; LaVerdiere walks out, resigns

by Mary Grow

The argument over volunteer firefighters’ stipends that China selectmen have conducted intermittently for a year and a half continued at their Oct. 15 meeting, culminating with Selectman Jeffrey LaVerdiere announcing he was tired of arguing, resigning from the board and walking out.

As of Oct. 22, Town Clerk Becky Hapgood, who attended the meeting in the temporary absence of Town Manager Dennis Heath, was unable to reach LaVerdiere to find out whether he intends to confirm his resignation in writing.

At the March 2018 town meeting, voters approved $40,000 to be distributed equally among China Rescue and the three volunteer fire departments and used as stipends to help encourage new members to join emergency services groups. Selectmen and firefighters were to sign a memorandum of agreement setting forth rules for sharing the money among volunteers.

A draft memorandum has been repeatedly discussed. Heath sought reactions from the state labor department, and after approval there from the federal labor department. Hapgood said despite weekly telephone calls the manager has been unable to get a federal opinion.

At the Oct. 15 meeting, selectmen had a warrant – a request to pay – for the $40,000. Selectman Ronald Breton said fire department representatives have not signed the memorandum and the $40,000 should not be handed over until they do.

LaVerdiere said other towns’ officials told him they did not think any memorandum was needed. He argued the selectmen should show their trust in the firefighters by signing the check without further delay.

Board Chairman Robert MacFarland said the issue is not trust, but bookkeeping: municipal officials should have a signed contract with any private entity, including a fire department or rescue service, that performs services for the town.

Breton said he was not ready to vote on expending the funds until federal labor officials approved. At that point LaVerdiere left and the remaining board members tabled the question.

The next evening they held a brief special meeting where, Hapgood reported, they signed the warrant approving payment of the $40,000 when fire department representatives sign the memorandum.

The Oct. 15 meeting was preceded by two public hearings, one on the Nov. 5 local ballot questions and one on proposed amendments to appendices to the General Assistance Ordinance. Three residents attended. Neil Farrington asked general questions about the ballot questions and no one commented on the General Assistance Ordinance.

Selectmen told Farrington the five questions asking if residents want to allow medical marijuana operations in town will have no effect on Nathan White’s Route 3 business, which opened before the Dec. 2018 deadline for “grandfathering.”

The final ballot question asks voters to choose between two extra-hours proposals for the town office (the current Saturday morning, or Thursday evening until 7:00). A note says the question is advisory only, but MacFarland assured the audience the Selectboard will abide by the popular will.

During the meeting, selectmen approved the General Assistance Ordinance changes, which adjust maximum amounts allowed for assistance categories.

TIF (Tax Increment Financing) Committee member Tom Michaud reported on work to improve three fire roads that is partly funded by TIF money. He invited other China residents who believe their fire roads need work to reduce run-off to contact him, Peter Caldwell or Bill Powell.

Michaud established that when he (or any other resident) is out of town and wants to comment at a selectmen’s meeting, he should look at the agenda, posted on the website a few days before the meeting, and email or otherwise send comments to which board members can respond.

Selectmen unanimously appointed Edward Brownell a member of the recreation committee.

They unanimously set fees for after-the-act permits issued by the codes officer or planning board at twice the amount the fee would have been if the application had been filed before the work started.

The next regular China selectmen’s meeting is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Monday, Oct. 28.