Board recommends using TIF money on revolving loan fund

by Mary Grow

China’s Tax Increment Financing (TIF) Committee has voted to recommend using part of TIF funds to set up a revolving loan fund to provide additional money for new or expanding local businesses, to supplement bank loans and other funding sources. The vote at the committee’s Nov. 21 meeting was 7 to 3, with David Cotta opposed and Frank Soares and Jim Wilkinson abstaining.

Committee members then decided to spend about half of their Dec. 5 meeting working out details of their proposal, like how much money will be involved, before forwarding the recommendation to China selectmen.

They plan to recommend that administration be entrusted to the Kennebec Valley Council of Governments (KVCOG). KVCOG Executive Director Rosie Vanadestine has attended meetings to advise committee members. TIF Committee Chairman Amber McAllister proposed inviting her to the Dec. 5 meeting; no decision was made.

The meeting opened with a discussion of access to China Lake with resident Janet Preston, who served on the earlier Lake Access Committee. Voters rejected the committee’s plan to buy the former Candlewood Camps on the east shore of China Lake, near the north end.

In July, Preston sent the TIF Committee a letter about a property for sale on the west side of the lake. Having received no response, she came to the Nov. 21 meeting, where McAllister and other committee members agreed lake access was one possible use of TIF funds.

Soares said the Four Seasons Club, of which he is president, would be open to an arrangement to turn its beach on the east shore of China Lake, almost opposite the town office, into a town beach. Committee members said they ought to inspect both properties, but set no date for an inspection. After another discussion of the proposed improvements to the boat launch and fishing area at the head of the lake, committee members asked engineer Mark McCluskey of A. E. Hodsdon for revised cost estimates for the work. McCluskey and committee representatives met with state Department of Environmental Protection staff to get information on permit requirements.

McCluskey thinks it is possible to improve the boat launch, the parking area boaters use and perhaps the bridge that crosses the inlet from the Muldoon into the lake without the amendments to China’s Land Development Code that voters rejected Nov. 8. He plans to consult with Codes Officer Paul Mitnik.

Acting on another Nov. 8 local referendum question, voters approved spending up to $50,000 to improve the recreational trail along the Central Maine Power Company line that runs north-south through China. Soares said the first part of the work is about to be bid out.

Taxes on the expanded CMP line are the source of TIF money. Building it damaged the trail.

The agenda for the Nov. 21 TIF meeting called for scheduling an open house in the FairPoint building on Route 3, which committee members have talked about recommending the town buy, and scheduling a public information session to let

China residents comment on the various projects the committee is considering. Both ideas were discussed; no action was taken on either.

 

Maine’s largest community solar farm grows in China

By the end of the year, South China will host the largest community solar farm to date in Maine; 3 Level Farm Community Solar Farm, on Rte. 32.

solar farm continues at the 3 Levels Farm, in China

Construction of a solar farm continues at the 3 Levels Farm, in China. By the end of the year, South China will host the largest community solar farm to date in the state of Maine. Photos courtesy of Holly Noyes

Glen Wall, a resident of South China, is one of the eight members of the solar farm and serves as treasurer of the association. All members of the farm will receive credits toward their electricity bill through net metering in proportion to the shares they own. If someone owns 20 percent of the solar farm, then they would get 20 percent back in credits. “Although I own the smallest share in the farm, I still get to offset carbon and lower my electricity costs,” said Wall.

Each kilowatt of solar energy installed in Maine saves each utility ratepayer $4,000 over the lifetime of the panels, according to the Value of Solar study commissioned by Maine Public Utility Commission. Community solar farms allow greater access to solar energy. Renters, homeowners and business owners who don’t have a location or roof suitable for a solar panel array to be installed can receive the financial and environmental benefits of solar energy through a community farm membership. “When the community solar farm in South China became available, I wanted to join. In addition, if I move or sell my house someday, I will still benefit from it,” Wall said.

ReVision Energy, of Liberty, is designing and installing the project, and employs 32 people locally. ReVision Energy also has an office in Portland and two in New Hampshire with 140 employees total. Since 2003, ReVision Energy has installed over 5,000 solar arrays. The members of the 3 Level Farm Community Solar Farm and ReVision Energy will be hosting an open house for the public in early Spring.

Employees at the China solar farm

Employees at the China solar farm, designed and installed by ReVision Energy, of Liberty, are, from left to right, Jarrett Cannan, Holly Noyes, Dryw Hunt and Justin Milliken.

TIF committee meets in light of town vote

by Mary Grow

Four members of China’s TIF (Tax Increment Financing) Committee met Nov. 9 to consider future projects in light of town voters’ Nov. 8 decisions on local issues.

Three questions affecting the committee’s projects were on the Nov. 8 ballot. Voters approved two of the three, appropriating up to $10,000 to buy land at the head of China Lake and $50,000 for the China Four Seasons Club’s trail maintenance work.

They rejected proposed amendments to China’s Land Development Code that included, among other issues, changes that would have allowed building a boardwalk over the water at the head of the lake where fishermen now congregate on the shore.

The trail work will be primarily the responsibility of the Four Seasons Club, overseen by the committee and the board of selectmen, and need not be a major topic at future meetings, committee members agreed.
The project at the head of the lake, often called the causeway project, is a major committee endeavor. The next step is to schedule a pre-application meeting with state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) staff.

Engineer Mark McCluskey, of A. E. Hodson, brought committee members a letter to DEP asking for the meeting, with attached documentation. He expects the meeting between DEP staff and committee members will be during normal Monday through Friday working hours, rather than in the evening.

Committee members agreed he should send the letter, even if they have to wait until the March town meeting to try again to get voters to approve changes in shoreland requirements to make the project possible.

Joann Austin, who is both a TIF Committee member and a selectman, urged going ahead with the land purchase even without assurance of the rest of the proposed work. Buying the land will let the town own and improve the area across Causeway Street from the board landing where boaters already park. Tentative plans include paving the area and adding stormwater runoff controls.

Also discussed was the broader possibility of relocating the China Village fire station to the piece of land on Lakeview Drive that voters on Nov. 8 accepted as a gift; removing the current fire station and making a parking lot west of China Baptist Church; and acquiring the present church parking area east of the church as part of the causeway project.

Other projects committee members are considering include:

  • Deciding whether to set aside a small amount of TIF money for a revolving loan fund to help local businesses start or expand, and if the fund is to be established, adopting policies and procedures for it.
  • Considering extending the TIF program to add the new Central Maine Power Co. substation off Route 3. The current program gets its income from taxes on the expanded CMP power line through town; selectmen as well as committee members are talking about adding the new CMP property. Were the TIF application to the state to be amended, the program might also be extended from its current 20 years to the maximum 30 years.
  • Discussing whether to recommend the town acquire the former Fairpoint building on Route 3, which committee members and some of the selectmen have suggested could serve a variety of purposes.
    Committee members tentatively agreed to meet again Monday evening, Nov. 21, to continue discussion of some or all of those ideas.

Local church group fills gift boxes

China Baptist Church shares in sending gift filled shoe boxes to children around the world.

Operation Christmas Child is a part of the ministry of Samaritans Purse that delivers shoeboxes filled with school supplies, toys and other gifts to children all over the world. The goal this year is to share with 12 million children these gifts boxes filled and collected in churches and other organizations. Families at China Baptist Church have been filling and donating these shoeboxes for over 15 years. This year they collected and will be donating 33 boxes through the drop off center at Penny Memorial Baptist Church, in Augusta, which is a regional collection point. Every year Operation Christmas Child’s National Collection Week takes place the third week in November when nearly 5,000 drop-off locations are open across the country.

Some of the children from families who have contributed shoeboxes when the boxes were collected on November 13, in the morning worship service.                                                                Contributed photo

Some of the children from families who have contributed shoeboxes when the boxes were collected on November 13, in the morning worship service. Contributed photo

China: Selectmen deal with local issues; Farrington chosen chairman

by Mary Grow

At their Nov. 14 meeting, China selectmen dealt with results of the Nov. 8 local election and with a petition organized by Neck Road resident Marie Michaud and others.

Neil Farrington was elected the new chairman of the Board of Selectmen; Irene Belanger was re-elected secretary. To applause from the audience, Farrington presented a certificate of appreciation to previous chairman Robert MacFarland, who was not re-elected Nov. 8.

Voters on Nov. 8 approved five local referendum questions that require action by selectmen, to wit:

  • Appropriating $12,000 from the town surplus account to buy a parcel of land adjoining the town office lot.
  • Authorizing acceptance of a piece of land on the east side of Lakeview Drive opposite the former Candlewood Camps as a gift from Wachusetts Properties, Inc.
  • Appropriating up to $3,800 from surplus for a community needs assessment focused on older residents’ needs.
  • Authorizing selectmen to give the recently acquired former portable classroom to the South China Library for $1 plus moving costs, with library officials to have 60 days to decide whether to take the building.
  • Appropriating up to $10,000 from the Development Program Fund to buy land at the head of China Lake’s east basin for improved parking for the boat landing. The Development Program Fund gets its money through the Tax Increment Financing (TIF) Program funded by taxes paid on the expanded Central Maine Power Company line through China.

Selectmen voted unanimously to direct Town Manager Daniel L’Heureux to start implementing the decisions.
They made a decision of their own: beginning Monday, Dec. 12, the China transfer station will be open Mondays, Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays (except on holidays), instead of Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays. One of the two ordinances whose amendments voters rejected Nov. 8 would have made the same change; selectmen decided they have authority to do it.

Resident Sandra Kostron complimented transfer station staff for being helpful and for keeping the facility neat.

The petition, which Michaud said had 364 signatures, asked selectmen to declare a six-month moratorium on new commercial development to give time to reconstitute the Comprehensive Plan Implementation Committee “in order to establish Land Use Districts in accordance with the goals and provisions set forth and prescribed by the China Comprehensive Plan,” adopted in 2008.

The petition is a result of Parris and Catherine Varney’s still-unresolved application to use their barn on Neck Road for weddings and similar functions. Neighbors argue noise, traffic, lights and other features are inappropriate in a residential neighborhood; planning board members hearing the application said the town ordinance lacks the specificity – for example, decibel limits for noise – they need to make decisions.

Selectmen, L’Heureux and audience members talked about legal requirements for a moratorium, the history of the Comprehensive Plan Implementation Committee that has been inactive for several years and the difficulty of creating districts in a town where uses intermingle and where voters have traditionally opposed zoning.

Selectmen voted 4-1, with new board member Jeff LaVerdiere opposed, to revive the Implementation Committee for the specific purpose stated in the petition. Board members asked L’Heureux to see how many former members still want to serve; Michaud had a list of potential committee members. The manager proposed limiting the committee to 15 members.

Selectmen did not impose a development moratorium.

In other business Nov. 14:

  • Selectmen unanimously appointed Fred Montgomery alternate member of the planning board. The alternate member, chosen from anywhere in town, may participate in board discussions but votes only when one of the five regular members in absent.
  • James Wilkens volunteered to join the Tax Increment Financing (TIF) Committee and was immediately appointed. The next committee meeting is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Monday, Nov. 21.
  • Selectmen disagreed over whether they should appoint a committee to work on senior citizens’ issues this month or after they see results of the survey voters authorized. They tentatively decided to appoint committee members at their Nov. 28 meeting. Interested residents should contact the town office.

Selectmen scheduled their annual visioning session, when they discuss broad objectives and general plans for the coming year, for 6 p.m., Tuesday, Nov. 29, in the town office meeting room. The session is open to the public.

China: Newcomer, two incumbents elected to select board

by Mary Grow

Jeffrey LaVerdiere was the top vote-getter in a seven-way race for three seats on the China Board of Selectmen, with incumbents Joann Austin and Neil Farrington being re-elected to their seats. LaVerdiere received 1,119 votes, Austin 1,001 and Farrington 985.

Incumbent board Chairman Robert MacFarland was not re-elected, coming in fourth with 895 votes. Wayne Chadwick had 700 votes, Raymond Robert 460 and Albert Althenn 355.

All unopposed candidates on the ballot were elected or re-elected.

Eight of 12 local referendum questions were approved, as follows:

  • Expenditure of up to $12,000 to buy a piece of land adjoining the town office lot, yes 1,195, no 1,085.
  • Acceptance of the Wachusetts property off Lakeview Drive as a gift, yes 1,457, no 782.
  • Establishment of a Transfer Station Capital and Equipment Account to be funded by Palermo’s annual contribution beginning in 2017, yes 1,549, no 733.
  • Appropriation of $3,800 for a community needs assessment, yes 1,521, no 773.
  • Appropriation of an additional $5,000 for police services, yes 1,414, no 859.
  • Authorization to sell a recently acquired former portable classroom to the South China Library, yes 1,591, no 666.
  • Appropriation of $50,000 in Tax Increment Financing (TIF) funds to the China Four Seasons Club for trail work, yes 1,404, no 879.
  • Appropriation of up to $10,000 from TIF funds to buy a piece of land across Causeway Street from the boat landing at the head of China Lake’s east basin, yes 1,249, no 1,031.

Of the other local questions:

  • Amendments to the Solid Waste Flow Control Ordinance were rejected with 930 in favor and 1,223 opposed.
  • Amendments to the Solid Waste Disposal Ordinance were rejected, 928 in favor and 1,214 opposed.
  • Amendments to the Land Development Code were rejected, 817 in favor to 1,248 opposed.
  • Town Manager Daniel L’Heureux’s request to create a $100,000 capital and equipment reserve account was rejected, 911 in favor to 1,354 opposed.

The three local ordinances will remain as they were. Neither transfer station hours nor land use regulations will change.

Town Clerk Rebecca Hapgood reported a total of 2,511 ballots cast. With an unusually high election-day registration of 187 new voters, she estimated China must have more than 3,000 registered voters.

China: Role of China forest committee discussed

by Mary Grow

China selectmen discussed two broad procedural questions at their Nov. 2 meeting (moved to Wednesday morning instead of the usual Monday evening because of Oct. 31 Halloween activities), leaving both to be rediscussed in the future.

The first was the role of the China Forestry Committee in relation to other committees and groups that deal with forests in town.

Forester Tim Basham, who asked for the meeting and serves on the forestry committee, sees it as having overarching responsibility for the school forest, Thurston Park, the forested area behind the transfer station and even, he said, cemeteries, since many of them have trees.

China school responsibilities are mostly separate from the town’s. The town has a Thurston Park Committee and a Cemetery Committee.

Selectman Joann Austin thinks the forestry committee is to “fill gaps” between the other committees and to educate and advise them if necessary.

One of Basham’s goals is to harvest in town forests to benefit the forests and to train aspiring harvesters. Whether the town or the trainee woodsmen would benefit financially was left unclear.

Retired teachers Anita Smith and Elaine Philbrook, who are also forestry committee members, focus on the school forest as a site for educational activities for students.

Austin sees educating students and training foresters as different goals, not necessarily compatible (or incompatible).

The school forest was cut heavily after the 1998 ice storm, Smith told selectmen. Forester Morton Moesswilde toured the property a couple years ago and recommended thinning some areas, a project she and Philbrook plan to pursue as an educational venture.

Next year, they said, is the 20th anniversary of the Maine Tree Farm award to the China school forest, which is used as an example for other school units.

Philbrook said she and Smith plan a more comprehensive presentation on school forest activities at a later date. Selectman Neil Farrington recommended continuing the discussion of committee roles at that meeting.

Selectman Ronald Breton raised the second procedural issue, when and why the town of China should seek bids for work done by outside contractors. The immediate issue is the new paving at the transfer station; Breton wants to go out for bid and was dissatisfied with Town Manager Daniel L’Heureux’s getting a cost estimate from the company that had China’s 2016 road paving bid.

The new paving is related to the relocated free-for-the-taking building, also known as the swap shop. Farrington pointed out another area that should be repaved to eliminate a puddle that freezes in the winter and, he said, creates a safety issue.

During the discussion that followed, selectmen established that China currently has no policy stating that work valued at over a certain amount must be bid out. Selectman Irene Belanger questioned the need for a policy, calling L’Heureux “a good, frugal manager.”

Board Chairman Robert MacFarland said since asphalt plants will be closing in two weeks, seeking paving bids this late in the season might not be practical. L’Heureux pointed out that selectmen put him in a difficult position when they tell him to fix things but not to increase the tax rate to do it.

The manager said he was aware of the icy place, but had applied only temporary remedies because there was no consensus on a permanent solution. Normally, he said, he takes care of minor problems as needed, even if they are not specifically listed in the year’s budget.

Selectmen voted unanimously to direct L’Heureux to address the safety issue. Their motion did not include the paving by the swap shop; it does allow the manager to have the same company’s representative do a cost estimate.

Selectmen agreed on a future discussion of whether there should be a town policy requiring bidding out work over a certain amount. The discussion might be at a regular meeting or at the selectmen’s annual post-election visioning meeting, which is also open to the public.

As the transfer station discussion began, Selectman Belanger alleged that the swap shop could have been a two-story building, providing additional storage space, at a lower cost; but, she said, “someone” told the town crew not to build it that way without board approval, and now it is too late.

L’Heureux said the new building is under budget.

The next regular China selectmen’s meeting will be Monday evening, Nov. 14.

COMMUNITY COMMENTARY: Too many cooks spoil the soup

by Al Althenn
China resident

When I was just a kid living in China 60 odd years ago I remember my grandmother saying, “Too many cooks spoil the soup.” My grandmother and those words keep coming to mind when I think of what has happened and is still happening with China Lake.

China Lake has become a mismanaged and polluted algae soup.

The Maine Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) began peddling its influence as protector of our environment in the late ‘60s. China Lake was not spared this new Crime against Nature.

The issues with China Lake began about 45 years ago due to federal legislation regarding clean water. Vassalboro was being required to treat its raw sewage that had been dumped into the lakes outlet stream at many locations along the winding streams banks.

Vassalboro didn’t want to spend the federal dollars it got to send that sewage to the Waterville Treatment Plant, there appears to be a profit motive there somewhere. The DEP allow raising China Lake five vertical feet insuring a reliable source of flushing water for The Outlet Stream where they (the DEP) located and licensed three crude sewage disposal plants dumping 72,000 gallons of wastewater per day into that stream. Using its influence, the DEP granted the licenses for the plants Vassalboro is currently forced to close due to the plants chronic and abysmal failure.

As the predictable wetlands problems associated with keeping the China Lake water level artificially high and stable through the critical spring and fall growing season became evident, the DEP started making increasingly complicated excuses for its actions. Seeing the writing on the wall the local special interests got involved protecting their very special interests in deeper water at their unique individual properties by pushing the formation of the China Lake Association to walk in a cozy lock-step with a crooked DEP and to act as propaganda artists confusing and misleading the local politicians and voters.

Now along comes interest #3 Inland Fisheries & Wildlife (IFW) tinkering with the very special environment of the uniquely slow water exchange rate (every 2.5 years) of China Lake. Inland Fisheries and Wildlife allowed increased involvement of Coastal interests from the Lobster Bait Industry to take virtually all the natural lake suckers (catostomus commersoni) from China Lake in recent years. I personally observed the way IFW and the bait industry conveniently got around the regulations in place for years to accomplish another crime against nature by IFW manipulating both trapping methods and inspections.

Lake suckers, although edible and vital to the health of this slow exchange rate, are not considered a game fish and therefore not protected by a self-interest motivated IFW (IFW is not funded from the general fund and therefore is in business for itself) hence the big spending IFW did to keep the bear hunt licensed the way it is and keeping a fat cash cow for the bosses at IFW.

I now have reason to believe IFW, in cooperating with the total removal of all the lake suckers, was working with DMR (Department of Marine Resources) prepping China Lake for this next state special interest that was to follow, re-introducing alewives to our lake, not seen here for almost 200 years due to the building of the high dam in North Vassalboro, built there for the mills around the time of the American Civil War.

DMR’s interest and duty is to the Gulf of Maine where, through DMR’s mismanagement, the fisheries, including the herring fishery, collapsed. (Alewives are a sea run anadromous herring). An anadromous fish means a fish born in fresh water and spending most of its life in the sea returning to the same fresh water where it hatched, to spawn.

Getting the herring re-established is critical to the entire fishing industry in the Gulf of Maine. Due to the many disruptive dam removals and, to maximize the quickest return of the alewives, removal of any and all competition to alewives like lake suckers was needed. To do this DMR used lakes and streams that were not coveted for their great fishing otherwise, with the history for the past 45 years of China Lake and the laissez-fair hands off attitude of the residents of China, our lake was a prime target, they could tell us anything and we are ready to believe it.

DMR tried a few alewives (less than six alewives per acre of lake) to snow us. The lake never suffered so many free ranging alewives in the past as the lake had a robust natural predator system alive and well to keep the numbers of sea run alewives in check.

Alewives will out compete and eat everything left in the China Lake basin if this new one-sided self interest of DMR is allowed to go forth in China Lake. Come on selectmen, suck up your courage, research this so you understand what the issues are, and don’t allow the rest of the natural lake to be driven to the same sad extinction the game fish in China Lake have been driven during the past 45 years of DEP and other state agencies’ crimes against nature influence peddling to special interests.

China questions 11 & 12 comment by TIF chairman

by Amber McAllister, Chairman
Tax Increment Financing Committee

The November 8, 2016 local ballot contains two questions requesting appropriations based on recommendations from China’s Tax Increment Financing (TIF) Committee. As Chairperson of the TIF Committee, I wanted to provide you with information about the Committee two proposed ballot questions.

In 2015 the Town of China was successful in a TIF application to the Maine Department of Economic and Community Development, resulting in the creation of Municipal TIF District and Development Program; the District term being 20 years with a town revenue allocation projected at $5.2 million. Projects associated with this Development Program are obligated to be connected directly to economic development.

The Select Board appointed a TIF Committee to develop prospective economic development projects and to provide guidance on those projects; to progress from original concepts through an ultimate town vote for final approval of projects. The TIF Committee is obligated to be mindful of the areas within the district and within the China municipality that are eligible for approval and funding. The TIF Committee has met over several months and has initially proposed the two following local ballot questions that the China Select Board has approved to be put on the November 8, 2016 ballot with recommendations for approval. A short reasoning statement is below each question and respective Select Board and Budget Committee recommendation.

Question 11. To see if the Town will vote to appropriate the sum of $50,000 from the Development Program Fund (established through revenues received from the Central Maine Power/China Lake Tax Increment Financing District and Development Program) for the purpose of Trails Maintenance and Bridge Capital Projects/Repairs associated with the China Four Seasons Club Trails Program; said maintenance and capital projects of the Four Seasons Club to be done on the CMP Powerline in the current fiscal year.

Select Board Recommends: Yes
Budget Committee Recommends: Yes

A major focus of China’s TIF Program application included trails maintenance. The current request is directly connected with economic development and will be used to fund much needed repairs and maintenance of trails. Our trails system attracts many visitors to the area and provides outdoor recreational options to residents.

Question 12. To see if the Town will vote to authorize the Municipal Officers/Select Board to acquire land, more specifically described as Map 63 Lot 059-A, and further to appropriate an amount up to $10,000 from the Development Program Fund, (established through revenues received from the Central Maine Power/China Lake Tax Increment Financing District and Development Program) for the purpose of acquiring the property, and further to authorize the Select Board to execute said transaction as they deem in the best interest of the Town of China.

Select Board Recommends: Yes
Budget Committee Recommends: Yes

The Causeway Road was also a specific focus of the TIF Program application and the TIF Committee chose the improvement of the area as its highest priority. The proposed purchase of this land would provide options for the town as it proposes to improve Causeway Road pedestrian and vehicular safety, to implement measures to improve and sustain water quality in China Lake along the Causeway Road such as erosion control and sedimentation processing, to improve recreational activities on the Causeway Road, and to enhance the aesthetics of the general area. There would not be any fill-in of the wetland on the property. This property would be significant in the plan for improvements on the Causeway Road. The proposed property purchase is integral to the TIF Committee plan. Please help us move forward on these initiatives.

China: Select board information relating to respective local ballot questions

Question 1. Shall amendments to the “Town of China Solid Waste Flow Control Ordinance” be enacted?

Question 2. Shall amendments to the “Town of China Solid Waste Disposal Ordinance” be enacted?
The Select Board asked the Transfer Station Committee to review and update the town’s dated ordinances, to reflect current day realities in solid waste processing.

Question 3. Shall amendments to the “Town of China LAND DEVELOPMENT CODE,” Chapter 2, LAND USE ORDINANCE and Chapter 11, DEFINITIONS be enacted?

The Planning Board reviewed the town’s respective sections of the China Land Development Code and proposed specific changes to reflect current State Law.

Question 4. To see if the Town will vote to authorize the municipal officers/Select Board to acquire land, more specifically described as Map 38, Lot 010-C, and further to appropriate $12,000 from the town’s

Unassigned/Unrestricted Fund Balance for the acquisition of the land and further to authorize the Select Board to execute said transaction as they deem in the best interest of the Town of China.

The town has an opportunity to purchase a parcel of land adjacent to the town office property at a reduced price, assessed value of $21,000. The property would allow the town to determine use of adjacent property. It could be incorporated in the town’s long term plan for a community center or any other centralized concept plan.

Question 5. To see if the Town will vote to accept an unconditional gift of land from Wachusett Properties, Inc., more specifically described as Map 63, Lot 008 in the town’s tax map records and located off Lakeview Drive, and further to authorize the Select Board to accept a Warranty or Quit Claim Deed on behalf of the town for said described and gifted property.

Wachusett Properties, Inc. intends to unconditionally gift a 38 acre parcel (13 lot subdivision) to the town. Conversations about use of the land focused on a potential future relocation of an emergency services building from the Causeway Road to this site. The remaining unused land could be sold if not useful for long term planning; the town’s cost basis would be $0.00.

Question 6. To see if the Town will vote to create a Transfer Station Capital and Equipment Account in the Town of China Reserve Fund and to appropriate the Town of Palermo’s $18,000 Annual Town Contribution for the use of the China Transfer Station for the Account; the Account established for the purpose of major capital purchases or repairs of transfer station buildings and equipment, the funds in which may be used upon a majority vote of a quorum of the Select Board; and further, said appropriation of the Town of Palermo Annual Town Contribution to the Account to continue through the length of the multiple-year agreement (initial 17 year agreement with three 5-year options) between the towns of China and Palermo for Palermo residents’ use of the China transfer station.

The Town of Palermo will contribute $18,000 annually toward the capital maintenance and capital replacement needs at the China Transfer Station. The Select Board felt it important to dedicate those annual contributions to a China Transfer Station Capital and Equipment Account that would ultimately fund capital equipment and maintenance over the long term, helping to stabilize the town’s mil rate. Palermo residents are also charged and additional per bag cost that offsets operations costs and would adjust if China’s cost of operations increases.

Question 7. To see if the Town will vote to appropriate an amount up to $3,800 from the Unassigned/Unrestricted Fund Balance to conduct a community needs assessment relating to the understanding of the challenges facing older residents as they age in China.

A recent demographic study of China indicates the general average population age to be increasing significantly. The funds requested would take a deeper dive into the needs of the China community that might allow residents to “age in place”, that is, to remain in their own homes as long as possible, or move to nearby housing in China if made available to them.

Question 8. To see if the Town will vote to authorize the Municipal Officers/Select Board to appropriate an additional $5,000 from Unrestricted/Undesignated Fund Balance for police services.
The town is experiencing a significant increase in calls regarding speeding and nuisance activities. The current low budget of approximately $11,000 for policing services is not sufficient to respond appropriately. The additional funds will provide for additional policing details to augment our community policing program.

Question 9. To see if the Town will vote to appropriate $100,000 from the Unassigned/Unrestricted Fund Balance for the Municipal Capital and Equipment Account of the Reserve Fund (established for the purpose of major capital repairs and purchasing and/or repairing vehicles to be used for snow plowing, grading, transfer station operations, and other public purposes), the funds in which may be used upon a majority vote of a quorum of the Select Board.

The town has significant investments in capital buildings and equipment; over $1,300,000 in emergency services equipment, winter maintenance equipment and transfer station equipment. The Municipal Capital and Equipment Account, used to do major repairs to and replace that equipment, has a low balance and would be able to accommodate most circumstances (emergencies) with this added amount to the account. It is seen as a smart long term planning step in financing. The current balance in the account would not be enough to replace one of the town’s plowing vehicles.

Question 10. To see if the Town will vote to authorize the Select Board to sell to the South China Public Library a Portable Classroom owned by the town for $1.00 and costs incurred by the town associated with the moving of the portable, said portable to be used for library purposes; offer by the town to the South China Public Library to be valid for 60 days after town vote, if passed; and further to authorize the Select Board to execute the sale and transfer of the portable to the South China Public Library under such terms and conditions as the Select Board deems in the best interest of the Town of China.

The town recently acquired this Portable Classroom from RSU#18 for $1 and moving/relocation costs. The Board feels that repurposing this unit for use by the South China Library would be appropriate.

Question 11. To see if the Town will vote to appropriate the sum of $50,000 from the Development Program Fund (established through revenues received from the Central Maine Power/China Lake Tax Increment Financing District and Development Program) for the purpose of Trails Maintenance and Bridge Capital Projects/Repairs associated with the China Four Seasons Club Trails Program; said maintenance and capital projects of the Four Seasons Club to be done on the CMP Powerline in the current fiscal year.

A main purpose of a Tax Increment Financing Program is economic development. A focus of China’s TIF Program application included trails maintenance. This request is directly related to economic development and will be used to repair trails.

Question 12. To see if the Town will vote to authorize the Municipal Officers/Select Board to acquire land, more specifically described as Map 63 Lot 059-A, and further to appropriate an amount up to $10,000 from the Development Program Fund, (established through revenues received from the Central Maine Power/China Lake Tax Increment Financing District and Development Program) for the purpose of acquiring the property, and further to authorize the Select Board to execute said transaction as they deem in the best interest of the Town of China.

The town is considering economic development opportunities on the Causeway Road and this property would provide better options for the town. The improvements would positively affect pedestrian safety, lake water quality, and recreational activities and also improve the aesthetics in the local area. The property to be purchased would be integral to a comprehensive Causeway Road improvement and is a high priority of the TIF Committee.