China Selectmen make three decisions by vote

by Mary Grow

China selectmen made three decisions by vote, one by consensus and one by lack of objection at their Oct. 16 meeting.

They voted unanimously to appropriate up to $7,500 from their contingency fund to finish work on a new entrance to the basement of the old town house beside the town office. The final steps to make the entrance meet Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) standards include paving and a roof over the entrance.

Selectmen agreed earlier this year to rent the basement to The Town Line newspaper. Another decision was a 4-1 vote to appropriate up to $750 for China’s share of a shredding on-site program to be run Saturday, Oct. 28, from 8 a.m. to noon at the public works garage on Alder Park Road. Neighboring towns are contributing to the cost so their residents can also bring confidential documents to be safely destroyed. Jeffrey LaVerdiere voted against the appropriation, after asking why the town was paying for it and being told it was a service to residents.

The third vote, also unanimous, was to schedule the 2018 town business meeting for 9 a.m. Saturday, March 24, 2018. Board Chairman and Bicentennial Coordinator Neil Farrington asked for the decision so he can list the meeting in the planned bicentennial calendar.

The informal decision, in which retiring Selectman Joann Austin did not participate, was to accept Farrington’s suggestion to schedule a ceremony to recognize Austin’s many years of service on the board. Details will be forthcoming.

The even more informal decision was to ask Maine Municipal Association attorney Rebecca Seel to review town ordinances, looking for internal contradictions and other issues making enforcement difficult. Selectman Irene Belanger made the suggestion, after learning at an MMA meeting that some Maine judges find local ordinances hard to work with.

Selectman Ronald Breton said he accepted the idea as long as there was no charge. No selectman objected.

Belanger called attention to the Oct. 21 household hazardous waste collection day in Winslow. China residents should pre-register at the transfer station. Lists of eligible and ineligible materials are available at the transfer station and town office, on the town website and as an insert in The Town Line issue of Oct. 12, 2017.

She also reminded those present of the Monday, Oct. 23, presentation on the Regional School Unit (RSU) #18 bond issue that is on China’s Nov. 7 ballot. The presentation is at 6 p.m. at China Middle School. The annual Halloween trunk-or-treat celebration is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 31, at the town office, Belanger and former Selectman Robert MacFarland said.

Almost half the selectmen’s two-hour meeting was spent in another unsatisfactory discussion of the neighborhood dispute on Neck Road, where Parris and Catherine Varney continue to host parties in their barn despite neighbors’ contention that the Varneys need a permit. Selectmen told residents they do not intend to act until a Superior Court judge rules on an earlier aspect of the issue. The residents said the ruling is expected in November.

The next regular China selectmen’s meeting will be Monday evening, Oct. 30. It is tentatively scheduled to begin at 6 p.m., an hour earlier than usual, if an insurance agent with whom LaVerdiere talked is available. LaVerdiere believes the town can save substantially on its health insurance without major impact on benefits by changing from the Maine Municipal Association plan in which employees are currently enrolled.

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