CHINA: Committee recommends new forklift, pre-crusher compactor for transfer station

by Mary Grow

China selectmen spent their Dec. 11 meeting looking ahead, including considering a Transfer Station Committee recommendation to buy equipment.

Committee members recommended replacing the forklift and adding a new pre-crusher compactor in the 2018-19 fiscal year. Selectmen later discussed buying a new forklift immediately; the old one is rickety enough to create safety concerns, several board members said.

Town Manager Daniel L’Heureux said he authorized immediate repairs to make sure the machine is safe to use.

Bob Kurek, Palermo’s representative on the Transfer Station Committee, said the pre-crusher would compact demolition and debris to make hauling it away more efficient. Currently, he said, transfer station staff spend a lot of time tamping down debris with the front-end loader, and still get an average of only 6.6 tons per load. The pre-compactor should increase the average load to at least 10 tons, saving almost $3,300 a year in hauling fees.

At that rate, Kurek said, the $53,000 machine (plus an estimate $3,000 installation cost) would pay for itself in about 17 years. The model he suggests has a 25-year life span.

The pre-crusher could also serve as a back-up disposal box when the transfer station is unusually busy.

A new forklift would cost a little more than $24,000 or around $26,000, depending on the chosen machine, with trade-in, Kurek said. A good used one would be only about $6,000 cheaper.

If selectmen were to buy a new one in the current fiscal year, part of the payment could come from the transfer station reserve fund into which Palermo’s annual fee for sharing the facility is deposited.

Selectmen intend to revisit the issue in January 2018.

In other business Dec. 11, Regional School Unit (RSU) #18 Superintendent Carl Gartley attended to repeat in person his prior written invitations to selectmen and other interested town officials to tour China’s two schools. No date was set.

Gartley said the RSU is applying again for state funds to enlarge China Primary School so that China Middle School could be closed. There are 84 applications for major construction being submitted, he said; the state typically funds about a dozen in a 10-year period.

Meanwhile, more than $2 million of the $14 million bond issue RSU voters approved in November will be spend on China schools, Gartley said.

Selectmen accepted board member Neil Farrington’s offer to serve as coordinator for China’s 2018 bicentennial celebration, a post Farrington has been filling informally for more than a year in the absence of any other interested person.

Farrington proposed selectmen enter into discussions with trustees of the Branch Mills Union Church about the town taking responsibility for maintenance of the 1857 building.

The town, unlike a religious unit, can apply for historic preservation grants, he said. In addition to preserving a historic building, his proposal would even out support for China’s four villages, now that South China has gotten sidewalks and help with the library relocation, Weeks Mills has had its schoolhouse repaired and China Village has the causeway project funded with Tax Increment Financing (TIF) money.

By consensus, the rest of the board approved a professional inspection of the church.

In the other end of town, board member Donna Mills-Stevens said the planned fire pond on Neck Road needs approval from the state Department of Environmental Protection before work to enlarge the existing pond starts. Mills-Stevens had also found a report of waste dumped on one of the properties involved, with no evidence the state had closed out the issue.

According to the holiday schedule on the town web site, on Friday, Dec. 22, the transfer station will be open as usual and the town office will close at 2 p.m. On Saturday, Dec. 23, the town office will be closed and the transfer station will close at noon. Both will be closed Sunday, Dec. 24 and Monday, Dec. 25, as well as Monday, Jan. 1, 2018.

Selectmen agreed to close the town office Tuesday, Dec. 26, to conform to the state schedule. L’Heureux said the transfer station will be open half a day, 7 a.m. to noon, on Dec. 26, to avoid a big rush at the end of the holiday week.

Because the next regular China selectmen’s meeting would have been Christmas Day, board members rescheduled it to 8 a.m. Wednesday, Dec, 27.

CHINA: Planners revert to old method for reviewing conditional use applications

by Mary Grow

China Planning Board members agreed at their Nov. 28 meeting to return to their previous procedure for reviewing conditional use applications and went on to apply it. Until about a year ago, board members would usually review such applications, which are for new or expanded commercial or other non-residential uses, at one meeting and make a decision at the following meeting. That procedure gave neighbors a chance to comment and board members time to consider the comments and develop reasons for their decisions.

China’s ordinance lists 15 criteria an application must meet, dealing with effects on the environment and nearby properties. The ordinance and several court rulings require planning boards to prepare written findings of fact to substantiate their decisions on each criterion.

Recently the board has made numerous decisions in a single meeting, in the interest of avoiding delay for applicants. It has not been clear who should prepare the written findings of fact or how detailed they should be.

Members present at the Nov. 28 meeting agreed to return to the two-meeting process, with the codes officer to prepare the findings of fact after board members make decisions on the 15 criteria at the first meeting. The application before the board was from Kennebec Community Church, in Augusta, to use the former Fairpoint building on Route 3 as a satellite church. Joann Austin, who owns land on three sides of the church lot, was present and offered comments.

Pastor Dan Coleman and church member Rick Bergeron, who will be supervising renovations, said they plan few changes outside the building. Access from Route 3, parking, lighting, the well and septic system and most of the parking will not be affected. Additional handicapped parking spaces are to be designated.

The two major issues board members discussed were the septic system or systems and the plan to clear trees and vegetation between the building and Route 3 to increase visibility.

Codes Officer Paul Mitnik said the property has two septic systems; he added the capacities together to make sure the systems will accommodate the maximum number of people who could be in the building. Plans submitted showed only one system, and Bergeron was not aware of another. The issue is to be investigated.

The vegetated area toward Route 3 is at least partly a designated buffer required by China’s Phosphorus Control Ordinance, leading to multiple questions about how much clearing could be allowed and how church officials plan to maintain the buffer. Board members asked Mitnik to clarify the size of the buffer and location of retention ponds, and added a condition to the proposed permit saying any clearing would need the codes officer’s approval.

A majority of planning board members found the application met all 15 criteria. If requested information is supplied, final approval could be granted at the next board meeting, scheduled for Tuesday evening, Dec. 12.

Mitnik said there might be two commercial items on the Dec. 12 agenda, if applicants are ready: Parris and Catherine Varney’s re-application to use their barn on Neck Road for parties, and a preliminary discussion or new application for a Dollar General store on a small lot on the southwest corner of the intersection of Route 3 and Windsor Road.

The Planning Board has scheduled a site visit to the Varney property for 1 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 10. Like board meetings, site visits are open to the public, but those present should not expect board members to answer questions individually, and no decisions are to be made.

The Varneys applied initially in 2016. After several planning board meetings attended by neighbors opposed to the project, a board of appeals hearing and a court refusal to consider the merits, Planning board members intend to rehear the application from the beginning, as advised by town attorney Alton Stevens.

Glowa announces run for state Senate seat

John Glow (image credit: ballotpedia)

John M. Glowa, Sr., a 31-year resident of China, has filed to run as a Maine Clean Election candidate for the District #15 Senate seat which includes Augusta, Sidney, Oakland, Vassalboro and China. Glowa retired from the Maine Department of Environmental Protection in 2016 after more than 29 years of state service and ran in 2016 for the District #79 seat in the Maine House of Representatives.

“One of Maine’s biggest problems is our poorly functioning state government. We need to identify what is broken and fix it. Our system of checks and balances between the branches of government is virtually non-existent. Our legislature passes laws and establishes programs with little or no accountability for how those laws and programs are administered. We need an effective system of auditing all government programs and for holding our government accountable. The legislature and the governor overturn citizen’s initiatives and defy the will of the people by holding public monies hostage. We can no longer afford just window dressing when it comes to writing and passing legislation. Unless we identify and fix what is broken with the system, we will never have a government that is truly representative of the people and it will continue to be run largely by and for the special interests.

“We need a government that promotes opportunities for our young people and is capable of solving a myriad of problems including, but not limited to education, mental health, substance abuse, the environment, the economy, the needs of our growing elderly population, gun safety and taxes. We cannot afford a government that is inefficient, ineffective and wasteful. Maine doesn’t need career politicians.

“We need qualified, capable people in government who know what is wrong, how to fix it and who have the political courage to do so.

“Having served the people of Maine for some three decades, like thousands of State employees, I have been subject to the political whims of numerous legislatures and governors. We must recognize our employees’ hard work and dedication to public service. We must stop treating them as second-class citizens. We must encourage them to speak up for what is right, not punish them or prevent them from doing so. We must attract and retain the best and brightest because our government is only as good as the people in it.”

Glowa is a lifelong sportsman, environmentalist, and animal and wildlife advocate. He has attempted for more than a two decades to reform Maine’s broken system of fish and wildlife management. He is a strong advocate for Maine’s environment and ecosystem and for educating the public about the ecological and economic importance of restoring Maine’s natural predator/prey relationships including wolves. He is also a strong advocate for Maine’s economy and, in particular, its wildlife watching industry which generates $1.3 billion in annual economic activity, supports nearly 18,000 jobs, pays nearly $500 million in annual salaries and wages, and generates nearly $200 million in annual tax revenue.

https://digitalmedia.fws.gov/cdm/ref/collection/document/id/1906.

COMMUNITY COMMENTARY: Endangered – Clean Water Act

Image Credit: chinalakeassociation.org

COMMUNITY COMMENTARY

by Lynne O’Connor
China resident

As a local China Lake Smart volunteer, I have seen the improvements citizens, volunteers, and organizations are bringing to our lakes, streams, and waterways.

However, on the federal level, two impending federal actions threaten Maine lakes and all streams, rivers, estuaries and marine environments to which they drain. The issues are radical cuts to Clean Water Act funding and repeal of the Clean Water Rule protecting wetlands and the headwater streams which provide the last remaining habitat for Eastern brook trout and feed all downstream waters. I urge you to ensure these vital protections for the integrity, health and benefits of Maine waters remain secure in 2018 and beyond.

The natural waters of Maine are our (as citizens of Maine) high value assets which generate over $3.5B in economic activity, are a joy to fishermen and all who enjoy the beauty and activities they provide, fuel 52,000 jobs, power local and property tax bases, and provide drinking water to 1/3 of our citizens each year. Currently, 53 of our 2,314 great ponds are impaired and bloom annually, more than 490 are ‘at risk from development,’ and 172 are High Priority Lake Watersheds (MEDEP). The only public funds available in Maine to prevent decline of Maine waters (lakes, streams, wells, all natural waters), and which restore impaired lakes, come from EPA’s Clean Water Act “Nonpoint Source (319)” Funds. Since 2008, seven lakes and one stream have been brought back from impairment by the 319 Program. Last year alone, fifteen 319 projects kept 500 tons of sediment, 550 pounds of phosphorus and 1,000 pounds of nitrogen out of Maine lakes and streams. Federal grants require in-state match, doubling their impact: $1,830,000 in 2015. Please see more info on this and the Clean Water Rule at http://mainelakessociety.org/advocacy/

What can you and I do? Call, Maine Senate: 1-800-423-6900, write, email, post, your concerns, and request our senators, Susan Collins and Angus King, vote against these changes in the Clean Water Act funding, and the repeal of the Clean Water Rule.

China selectmen hold annual vision session: take no action

by Mary Grow

On Nov. 27, China selectmen began their annual visioning session, at which board members informally discuss goals and priorities, with a list of two dozen items reviewed a year earlier.

They added one short-term and three long-term items and found four items that have been or are being taken care of.

The short-term addition, suggested by Jeffrey LaVerdiere, is finding a successor to Town Manager Daniel L’Heureux, who plans to leave his position at the end of June after more than 23 years.

Longer-term, Board Chairman Robert MacFarland and new board member Donna Mills-Stevens recommended hiring a full-time policeman, if voters approve the expenditure. LaVerdiere questioned the need; Mills-Stevens said people want protection against vandalism and theft, and part-time officers are not enough.

Selectman Neil Farrington suggested reviewing the town’s personal property tax policy and perhaps setting a minimum valuation below which taxes would not be assessed. Mills-Stevens agreed, saying China’s personal property taxes deter new businesses from coming to town. L’Heureux was less enthusiastic, reminding board members of the state programs that ease the burden and pointing out that less personal property tax money from business means higher property taxes for everyone. Selectman Irene Belanger said updating China’s comprehensive plan should be on the selectmen’s list, though she and former Selectmen Ronald Breton agree the planning board needs to start the process. In the past a special committee has revised the plan. Belanger said China’s revised plan is due to be submitted to the state next year. Items from the 2016 list that are irrelevant or under way include:

  • Dealing with recreational marijuana, now that town voters have agreed to ban it;
  • Elderly housing, being considered by the China for a Lifetime Committee;
  • Better internet service, the province of the Broadband Committee and, selectmen decided informally, eligible to apply for Tax Increment Financing (TIF) funding if needed, since good internet service is necessary for the economic development TIF dollars are supposed to promote; and
  • Making the emergency shelter in the former portable classroom behind the town office usable.

The ongoing causeway project at the head of China Lake’s east basin, funded by TIF money, though neither new nor on the 2016 list, was discussed repeatedly. MacFarland proposed bonding part of the cost; LaVerdiere agreed the project is likely to cost more than the $750,000 voters allocated.

Farrington wants to continue discussion of acquiring all of the Bailey property on both sides of Lakeview Drive as part of the project. Board members would like to own the small lot now used for boat-launch parking, but it is financially connected to Bailey’s larger lot. That land, they suggest, could provide parking for the recreational trail that crosses it and perhaps a site for a new China Village fire station.

Additional public access to China Lake is another ongoing issue. Belanger is trying to revive the committee that recommended the town buy the Candlewood property on Lakeview Drive and develop a town beach, only to be rejected by voters. Farrington is interested in trying to acquire the lot north of the Four Seasons lot on Lakeview Drive, which he said has 800 feet of frontage on China Lake.

Discussion of selling town property covered a small piece on the east side of China Lake designated a boat launch for canoes and other hand-carried craft, but, L’Heureux said, too small for parking; the 39 acres opposite the former Candlewood Camps given to the town, for which various uses have been discussed but none pushed; and Bradley Island in China Lake’s west basin. Sidewalks or other pedestrian and cyclist safety measures, on the 2016 list, merited brief discussion, with Belanger proposing sidewalks in China Village and L’Heureux suggesting the relocation of the South China Library might warrant extension of South China’s sidewalks up Jones Road.

The manager mentioned state and federal grants in connection with the sidewalks and other items discussed, saying he is always looking for relevant grant money. Much of China’s regular budget comes from the state, he said. With state funding declining, for example school allocations and revenue-sharing, he advised selectmen to look into enhancing local sources.

Because the visioning session was not a formal meeting, selectmen took no action on any of the items discussed.

Fire departments dominate China selectmen’s meeting

by Mary Grow

China selectmen spent another 40 minutes at their Nov. 27 meeting talking with representatives of the three town fire departments about new ways of distributing the annual stipends from town voters.

For many years the town has kept the departments’ money and paid bills as they’re submitted. This year, two changes overlap:

  • On the state level, the legislature created a new law proposed by China Village Fire Chief and state Representative Timothy Theriault that allows towns to hand over annual appropriations in a lump sum and let each department pay its own bills. Departments are required to submit an itemized budget with their fund requests.
  • Locally, in November, voters approved a referendum question requiring all non-profits receiving town funds to submit a current financial statement as a condition for being considered for funding. Selectmen, some of the firefighters who have attended recent discussions and other residents did not realize that “all nonprofits” includes China’s fire departments and China Rescue. As a result, selectmen and emergency services personnel have had two meetings to try to clarify what information the emergency services need to provide and when. They are still not clear whether the itemized budget the state requires is the same as the financial statement the town requires.

The goal, as phrased by board member Jeffrey LaVerdiere, is to provide the accountability required by auditors and by selectmen representing taxpayers. Discussion of asking voters to clarify requirements at the March town meeting led to no conclusion.

One issue has been resolved: firefighters have devised acceptable forms for applying twice a year for the annual stipends voters funded at the March 2017 town meeting. Application dates are around Dec. 1 and June 30; officers receive fixed amounts, other personnel a per-call or per-training-session stipend.

In other business Nov. 27, China Region Lakes Alliance President Jim Hart made a short presentation on CRLA’s work around China Lake, including physical labor to provide buffers, improve gravel roads and otherwise control run-off into the lake; support for the Alewife Restoration Program (ARI), intended to let alewives migrate into China Lake instead of being trucked in; and the courtesy boat inspection program aimed at preventing milfoil and other invasive plants from getting into the lake.

This year, Hart said, China Lake’s water quality was the best since 1981. There is no milfoil in the lake yet, although he fears its appearance is only a matter of time.

Challenged by former Selectman Ronald Breton about the bass tourneys on the lake, Hart said out-of-town bass fishermen do an outstanding job of checking their boats for unwanted plants.

Selectmen made four appointments: Breton as a member of the town Tax Increment Financing (TIF) Committee and as one of China’s representatives on the Kennebec Regional Development Authority; Wayne Chadwick as budget committee member from District 3; and Selectman Neil Farrington as a member of the Kennebec County Budget Committee.

They approved a renewal of China’s emergency services dispatching contract with the City of Waterville. Town Manager Daniel L’Heureux said the price has gone up three percent, to $11,701.83 per year, and will hold at that level for the three years of the new contract.

South China Fire Chief Richard Morse and Weeks Mills department representative William Van Wickler said the Somerset County/Waterville arrangement provides good service. Neither recommended switching to the alternate dispatching service available from Augusta.

The agenda for the Dec. 11 selectmen’s meeting includes a discussion with the Transfer Station Committee. Selectmen are likely to meet with committee members at 6 or 6:30 p.m., rather than the usual 7 p.m. New board member Donna Mills-Stevens tried to start the discussion Nov. 27, saying she has been “flooded” and “bombarded” with calls about the fee charged to commercial haulers. The fee, originally intended to cover the cost of the scales installed primarily to weigh commercial loads, was not eliminated after the scales were paid for.

Linda O’Connor, a Transfer Station Committee member, repeatedly asked that the discussion be postponed to Dec. 11, saying the committee has looked into the issue. After 15 minutes, the issue was tabled on the ground that everything being said would be repeated in two weeks.

China Village VFD chosen as Hannaford Case Bag program beneficiary

image credit: China VFD

China Village Volunteer Fire Department has been selected as a beneficiary of the Hannaford Cause Bag program for the month of December.

The Hannaford Cause Bag program launched in October 2015 and is designed to support local nonprofits through the sale of the reusable Hannaford Helps bag.

The China Village Volunteer Fire Department was selected by Hannaford store leadership as the December beneficiary of the program at the China Hannaford store. For every Hannaford Helps reusable bag with the good karma message purchased at the China Hannaford during December, the China Village Volunteer Fire Department will receive a $1 donation.

The fire department is excited to have this donation opportunity. The funds will go towards the kitchen renovations in the department building.

China Village Volunteer Fire Department is based in China Village. Founded in 1947, the mission of this organization is to protect the lives and property of the citizens of our community, the China Village Volunteers Fire Department Operations Area, the Town of China and the mutual aid response areas with high quality of consistently professional fire protection, rescue services emergency management, and public safety programs. The department will accomplish this through a systematic delivery of education through fire prevention awareness, and proactive initiatives that focus on eliminating acts and/or practices that can cause fire. It will provide trained personnel and working equipment to suppress fire, perform basic extrication functions, rescue operations, and provide emergency public safety services.

Learn more about the China Village Volunteer Fire Department by visiting the website facebook.com/ChinaVillageVFD.

For more information on the Hannaford Cause Bag program, visit hannaford.bags4mycause.com or facebook.com/hhbagprogram.

China baseball player working to crack lineup at Newbury College

Dylan Presby taking a swing during a fall game at Newbury College.

Roland D. Halleeby Roland D. Hallee

Dylan Presby, of China, tried other sports in high school, but he settled on baseball when he realized he needed more time in the off season to work on improving his skills in baseball rather than play other sports that would not be beneficial to him.

China resident Dylan Presby

At Erskine Academy, in China, Dylan became an integral part of a baseball team that was laden with talent. There was Winkin Award finalist in pitcher Nate Howard, co-ace Noah Bonsant, and a formidable presence in hitter Cody Taylor, one of the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference premier hitters.

According to Erskine coach Lars Jonassen, Presby took on the role to be content to give the spotlight to the other players by simply doing whatever the Eagles needed to win. Jonassen called Presby “our best player.”

Jonassen continued by saying, “He was an unsung hero, and didn’t care that he never got any recognition.”

Presby wanted his senior year to be something special. “I needed to work on my hitting, and not settle for being a decent fielder.”

The team was expected to do well during the season, with forecasts they would go deep into the playoffs.

Dylan began the year by hitting a home run in the season opener against Gardiner. That was followed by multiple multi-hit games. At that point, he knew that season would be special. They captured the regional championship when Presby responded with a bases-loaded triple in a 7-6 win over Hermon. Previously, he had gone 3-for-4 with a double, triple, and three runs batted in en route to a key victory over Waterville.

During his senior season, Presby batted .490, and went 4-2 as a pitcher with two saves. His regular position is second base, although he did fill in playing center field.

Prior to that season, Dylan played for the Maine Lightning in the Elite Baseball League and prepared himself to play at a higher level. “ That really helped me get my swing down, get my mechanics ready for my senior year, and I felt like that really helped me out to start the season.”

For his accomplishment at Erskine, Presby was named the Kennebec Journal’s Baseball Player of the Year, an accolade that, it is believed, has never been given to a China resident before.

Dylan Presby, center, with parents, Dave, left, and Michelle, of China.

But, that was high school. He has now moved on to a higher level of competition. He has taken his baseball skills to Newbury College, in Brookline, Massachusetts, a Division III school that plays in the New England Collegiate Conference (NECC).

The 18-year-old freshman reflected on his high school experience and his coach, explaining that Jonassen kept drilling into Presby the importance of staying focused with the task at hand. And Presby attributes the way he plays with the persistence of his coach.

But, in college, he found more of the same, and then some. “The major changes between high school and college is how in-depth the college coaches critique your every move. I felt I was learning something new every day even though I have been playing ball ever since I can remember.”

His goal was to go to college and enjoy the experience. “Being on the baseball team only makes the experience better,” he said. He chose Newbury College because of the small school environment and the location of the campus.

According to Newbury College head coach Kraig Kupiec, “Dylan is doing great here at Newbury and, as a freshman, is fighting for playing time in a very congested and competitive outfield.” When the regular season begins in the spring, Dylan will be wearing #7 on the varsity roster for the Nighthawks.

Last season, Newbury College finished fifth in the conference with a 7-11 record, and 18-18-1 overall.

Dylan credits his parents for playing a huge role in his development as a baseball player. “My dad was able to drill commitment in my head ever since I was younger. There was no excuse to miss practice. No excuse on why I can’t put extra swings off the tee. My dad was able to contribute to my maturing as a man, as I grew to understand my priorities.”

What about mom? “Mom helped me better myself every practice and every game because she is my number one fan and I always wanted to make her smile when I played.”

His love of baseball started at a young age. He played Little League in China since T-ball and was an all-star from ages 9-12 years old.

Outside of baseball, Dylan has realized that life outside of China, Maine, is much different, especially now that he is going to school in Massachusetts. “China is a small town where everyone knows everyone. I always like that because I love running into old friends.”

So what’s next for Dylan?

“I am not expecting to play baseball after college, but you never know what is held in the future.” He is majoring in sports management and communications.

Dylan is the son of David and Michelle Presby, of China.

Erskine Academy announces school calendar changes

Parents and students should be advised of several changes to Erskine Academy’s school calendar due to excessive storm days. First trimester will now end on Wednesday, November 29, and second trimester will begin on Thursday, November 30. Friday, December 22, is now scheduled as an Early Release day with dismissal at 11:30 a.m. Lastly, Thursday, March 15, will now be a full day of school and Friday, March 16, will be an Early Release day with dismissal at 11:30 a.m. Any additional school cancellations will be reviewed to determine if further make up days will be required.

CHINA: TIF members postpone action on six items

by Mary Grow

Members of China’s Tax Increment Financing (TIF) Committee postponed action on all six items on their Nov. 20 agenda. They scheduled another meeting for 6:30 p.m. Monday, Dec. 4, hoping the chairman and three other absent members will be able to attend.

The seven members present Nov. 20 did not act on a subcommittee approval of proposed contracts with two engineering firms. Nor did they act on requests for TIF funds to buy land at the head of China Lake’s east basin and to supplement the LakeSmart program. A preliminary proposal for a building in the China School Forest was reviewed and will be followed up. The final two agenda items, involving internal committee matters, were postponed without discussion. The contract proposals are from Wright-Pierce Engineering, of Topsham, for engineering design and permitting services for the proposed new causeway bridge at the head of China Lake’s east basin and from A. E. Hodsdon of Waterville to provide engineering oversight on behalf of the town. Wright-Pierce’s proposed fee is $23,475; A. E. Hodson’s is $21,172.

After a short discussion of the town’s freedom to use data Wright-Pierce collects, an issue Town Manager Daniel L’Heureux said he will clarify, L’Heureux moved on the proposal to use $120,000 to buy Susan Bailey’s land nearby.

The Bailey land consists of about six acres, mostly wetland, where people using the boat launch now leave their vehicles, and approximately 32 acres across Route 202. L’Heureux said the two lots are a single parcel with a mortgage.

Buying the smaller lot has long been on the TIF Committee’s agenda, to provide more parking at the head of the lake. The larger parcel, L’Heureux said, would provide parking for people using the snowmobile trail that crosses it as well as overflow parking for the boat landing, and might in the future become the site for a new China Village fire station.

Most of the committee members present were ready to recommend that selectmen present the proposed expenditure to voters. H. David Cotta was the most vocal dissenter. He pointed out that the 33-acre lot would need considerable fill along Route 202 to make the area usable, and the fill would probably require permits. He questioned the need for the purchase and suggested if someone else bought the Bailey land, the new owner might be willing to sell the town the six acres close to the lake.

Irene Belanger suggested that L’Heureux ask the mortgage-holder if the two parcels could be separated. Newly-appointed committee member Ronald Breton said the town values the entire property at $88,900 for tax purposes.

By consensus, action was postponed to Dec. 4. Meanwhile, L’Heureux will get in touch with the mortgage-holder.

China Lake Association President Scott Pierz asked committee members for $20,000 in TIF funds to assist China’s Youth Conservation Corps with run-off controls and other measures aimed at protecting China Lake’s water quality.

The state-wide LakeSmart program, coordinated locally by Marie Michaud for the China Lake Association with assistance from the China Region Lakes Alliance and the Kennebec Water District, involves assessing shoreline properties and suggesting and implementing measures to limit run-off, usually by installation of buffer strips. Pierz said the Youth Conservation Corps does the work and the China Lake Association provides plants and other materials. Eight buffers were installed in 2016 and 21 in 2017, he said; more money would mean more buffers.

When Belanger proposed postponing action until additional committee members were present, Pierz offered to return Dec. 4. Former China teachers Elaine Philbrook and Anita Smith presented contractor Blane Casey’s plan for a building in the school forest, to be used as a program space, visitor center and almost-outdoor classroom. They were not yet asking for money, they said, especially since the building came with a price tag of almost $300,000.

The school forest is located behind China Primary School on town-owned land.

Committee members suggested possible sources of financial and technical assistance to reduce the project cost. They agreed the committee would get in touch with Philbrook and Smith again.