Erskine announces virtual food drive

As part of the recently announced School Spirit Challenge, Erskine Academy has announced access to a virtual food drive.  Interested parties are encouraged to visit to “shop” online for food products or to make a financial donation to Good Shepherd on behalf of Erskine Academy.  Virtual contributions made by October 28, 2016, will be applied towards Erskine Academy’s competition with seven other Maine high schools vying to become School Spirit Champion.

For competition purposes, every dollar sent – virtually, by mail, or brought to the school – is “weighed” as five pounds of food.  More importantly, Good Shepherd’s ability to purchase food wholesale assures that every dollar raised buys five pounds of food.  Therefore, every gift received is leveraged for maximum benefit.  Those residing in the vicinity of Erskine Academy are encouraged to participate in the school’s “Fill the Bus!” campaign by donating redeemable cans and bottles through October 14. Bottles and cans can be dropped off by the bus on the school’s front lawn and will be added to the food and fund campaign.

China slate of officers released for Nov. 8

by Mary Grow

China voters will choose among seven candidates for three positions on the Board of Selectmen at Nov. 8 local elections.

For other town boards, there are no contests and one empty line on the ballot, for Budget Committee secretary.

Candidates for selectmen, in alphabetical order as listed on the draft ballot, are Albert Althenn, Joann Austin (incumbent), Wayne Chadwick, Neil Farrington (incumbent), Jeffrey LaVerdiere, Robert MacFarland (incumbent) and Raymond Robert.

Running without opposition are incumbent planning board members Toni Wall (District 2), Thomas Miragliuolo (District 4) and Frank Soares (member at large); incumbent budget committee members Thomas Rumpf (District 2) and Timothy Basham (District 4) and potential new member Valerie Baker (member at large); and Dawn Castner for representative on the Regional School Unit #18 board of directors.   If elected, Baker and Castner will succeed Jonathan Vogel and Robert Bennett, respectively.

China polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 8, in the former portable classroom beside the town office on Lakeview Drive.

China: Public hearing set on events center application

by Mary Grow

China Planning Board members have scheduled an Oct. 11 public hearing on Parris and Catherine Varney’s application to use the barn on their property at 701 Neck Road for weddings and other events.

The board’s initial discussion of the application at their Sept. 27 meeting drew an audience of a dozen neighbors.  Board member James Wilkens, who lives across the road from the Varney property, asked questions but abstained from voting.

Planning Board Chairman Frank Soares said two neighbors had written to the board expressing concerns about traffic and other issues.

The Varneys said they intend to rent out the barn, with hired caterers, music (either a disc jockey or a band) and a bar.  Most events would be entirely inside the barn, unless a couple wanted to exchange vows outside under a tent.  There would not be outdoor music or speakers, they said.

They intend to rent portable toilets that will be behind the barn, not visible from Neck Road. Parking will be off the road in a field behind the barn.  They seek permission to host events seven days a week and to run them until 11 p.m.

Parris Varney said the barn had been used in June for his daughter’s wedding, which he estimated brought almost 150 guests. He said he had not yet talked with the state fire marshal or local fire and rescue personnel.  Board member Toni Wall asked him to ask someone from the China Village fire department to check the property for adequate access for emergency vehicles before the Oct. 11 hearing.

Of the two other applications on the planning board’s Sept. 27 agenda, one was quickly approved and one was postponed because it was incomplete.

Edwin and Tammy Bailey received approval to replace the 50-year-old building that houses their Route 3 redemption center with a new single-story building – “just a box,” Edwin Bailey said – on the same foundation.  They do not intend any changes in the business or business hours, plumbing, landscaping or anything else planning board members saw as impacting neighbors or the environment.

Dylan Fortin’s after-the-fact application for an auto repair and towing business at his house at 427 Pleasant View Ridge Road lacked required information, so Soares returned it to him to complete before Oct. 11. Codes Officer Paul Mitnik got in touch with Fortin after receiving a complaint about an unlicensed business.  Fortin immediately came to his office and began the application process, Mitnik said.

Fortin said he had been doing auto repairs part-time for about two months and intended to apply for a permit, but “Paul got to me before I got to him.”

TIF committee continues recreational plan for head of lake (China)

by Mary Grow

Five members of China TIF (Tax Increment Financing) Committee continued discussion of plans to improve recreational access at the head of China Lake’s east basin at their Sept. 26 meeting.

Engineer Mark McCluskey of A. E. Hodsdon presented updated cost estimates that include:

•  $387,500 to build a bulkhead and fishing platforms along the lake side of the causeway, expand parking and add erosion control measures, making the area safer for boaters and fishermen;
• $350,000 to replace the deteriorating bridge across the inlet with a new bridge including a sidewalk;
•  $585,600 to build a new fire station for the China Village Volunteer Fire Department, which has no room to expand its present building just west of the head of the lake; and
•  $210,000 for miscellaneous costs, including engineering, legal and permit fees.

Committee members unanimously endorsed the idea of a new bridge.  McCluskey said the traffic lanes could not be widened much without significant environmental impacts.  As planned, he said, the work will require an application to the state Department of Environmental Protection; he offered to schedule a pre-submission meeting with DEP staff as soon as possible.

Residents near the causeway are to be invited to a meeting to hear about project plans, either the meeting with DEP staff or a separate TIF Committee meeting.  No definite dates were fixed until McCluskey reports back.

The first step in the committee plan for the causeway project is acquisition of a six-acre lot across Causeway Street from the boat landing.  A Nov. 8 local ballot question asks voters to appropriate $10,000 from the TIF account for the purchase.

Landowner Susan Bailey has been reluctant to sell at that price, but at the TIF meeting Town Manager Daniel L’Heureux said she might have changed her position.

Committee members talked briefly about two other issues, but with two members absent made no decisions.

First was the possible acquisition of the former Fairpoint building on Route 3. L’Heureux had an email from South China resident Rick Fischer asking if the idea had been abandoned.  Committee Chairman Amber McAlister said no, just postponed.

Selectman Neil Farrington, in the audience Sept. 26, urged the committee to recommend buying it.  His vision is a daycare that would serve both children and senior citizens; others suggested other uses for the large story-and-a-half building.

The issue of lake access has been on the committee’s agenda for several meetings.  It was agreed that Irene Belanger, who is a selectman and a TIF Committee member, will ask the Board of Selectmen to create a new lake access committee.

A prior lake access committee recommended acquiring the former Candlewood property on the east shore of China Lake, but voters rejected the plan.   At that time no TIF money was available.

TIF funds are taxes paid by Central Maine Power Company on its expanded power line through China; by state law the money must be used for economic development, including recreational development.   A new China Village fire station is probably not eligible for TIF funds, according to the Sept. 26 discussion.

In addition to the request for $10,000 for the land at the head of the lake, the Nov. 8 ballot includes a request for $50,000 in TIF money for recreational trail maintenance.  A public hearing on local ballot questions is scheduled for 6 p.m. Monday, Oct. 17.

Selectmen add 14th item to November 8 ballot (China)

by Mary Grow

China selectmen have added a 14th article to the warrant for the Nov. 8 local election (for a summary of the first 13, please see The Town Line, Sept. 22 , p. 6 ).

At a special meeting Sept. 22, Town Manager Daniel L’Heureux said the board voted unanimously (with Neil Farrington absent) to ask voters to appropriate from the Development Program Fund $10,000 to purchase land at the head of China Lake’s east basin across Causeway Street from the boat landing.

The Development Program Fund is fed by tax revenue from the expanded Central Maine Power Company line, money set aside in a Tax Increment Financing (TIF) plan and spent by voters on recommendation of a TIF Committee and the selectmen.      The proposed purchase is a preliminary step in the committee’s plan to expand water access at the head of the lake to make it safer for fishing and boat launching.  The committee has had an engineer study the area; future additional steps include providing fishing platforms over the water connected by a trail, additional parking and runoff control measures.

The land the committee is asking voters to buy is owned by Susan Bailey, with whom L’Heureux has been negotiating a sale price.  He said Bailey continues to ask for more than $10,000.  The parcel, which is mostly wetland, is assessed at $1,700, according to discussion at selectmen’s and TIF Committee meetings.

The special selectmen’s meeting was followed by a budget committee meeting at which L’Heureux said the committee recommended voters approve all but one of the seven monetary articles on the Nov. 8 ballot.      The manager said the committee unanimously recommended approval of three items: spending $12,000 from surplus to buy land behind the town office off Alder Park Road; appropriating $50,000 from TIF funds for recreational-trail maintenance; and buying the Bailey property.  Six members supported putting Palermo’s annual transfer station payment in a new transfer station capital fund; taking $3,800 from surplus to assess senior citizens needs; and adding $5,000 to the police budget.

Only three members supported the manager’s request to move $100,000 from surplus to the capital equipment and repair reserve fund, with three opposed and one abstaining, L’Heureux said.  The main objection was concern about reducing the undesignated surplus below the committee’s target level.

Selectmen voiced a similar concern at their regular meeting Sept. 19.  L’Heureux told them that in the eyes of bond rating agencies, moving the $100,000 from one account to another would not affect the town’s credit rating.

Selectmen have scheduled a public hearing on the Nov. 8 questions for 6 p.m. Monday, Oct. 17, at China Middle School if the all-purpose room is available.  The next regular selectmen’s meeting is set for 7 p.m. Monday, Oct. 3.

Selectmen create 13-item local ballot for November election

by Mary Grow

At their Sept. 19 meeting, China selectmen created a 13-item ballot for local voters Nov. 8.

Voting – local, state and national – will be from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Nov. 8 in the portable classroom behind the town office on Lakeview Drive.

After election of a town meeting moderator for the day, the local ballot includes elections; three proposed ordinance amendments; one proposed land acquisition by purchase and another by gift; a proposed sale to the South China Public Library; two minor proposed expenditures; and three proposed rearrangements of town money.

Signed nomination papers for local office must be returned to the town office by 11 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 24.  A list of candidates will be available the following week.

A public hearing on the rest of the ballot questions is scheduled for 6 p.m. Monday, Oct. 17.  It will be held at China Middle School if the multi-purpose room is available.

The China Budget Committee will meet Thursday, Sept. 22, to make recommendations on proposed spending and fund transfers.

The third and fourth articles on the ballot ask voters to approve amendments to China’s Solid Waste Flow Control Ordinance and Solid Waste Disposal Ordinance.  The major Solid Waste Disposal Ordinance change is in the transfer station hours: if voters approve the amended ordinance, the transfer station will be open Mondays, Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays.  The goal is to eliminate the long stretch between Saturday and Wednesday that now occurs when Monday is a holiday.

Selectmen decided the amended ordinance, if approved, would become effective Nov. 25, to give time to inform local residents that Wednesday is no longer a transfer station day.

Changes to the Flow Control Ordinance, according to Transfer Station Committee Chairman Frank Soares, are intended to make the ordinances conform to China’s actual practices.

The Land Use Ordinance changes are extensive; the draft revised ordinance runs 75 pages, plus a separate section on definitions.  Planning board members made two main points as they worked on proposed changes: the new ordinance conforms to revised state standards, and in general it is more lenient, especially with regard to shoreland use, than the current ordinance.

Major areas that would change if voters approve include standards for enlarging non-conforming buildings (those that do not meet current requirements) within 100 feet of a water body; rules for converting from seasonal to year-round use, which would become state rules, current and future; rules governing signs; and timber harvesting regulations.

A summary of the changes, prepared by Codes Officer Paul Mitnik, is on the town web site, under the heading “Election Information.”

The land selectmen recommend buying is a 6.2 acre lot adjoining the town office lot.  Town Manager Daniel L’Heureux said it is valued at $21,000; Article 6 asks voters to appropriate $12,000 for it, an agreed price.      Four selectmen voted to put the question on the ballot, with Ronald Breton opposed.  Board Chairman Robert MacFarland saw no need to buy the lot, but thought voters should decide.  Joann Austin sees the additional land as providing flexibility for future town needs.

The vote to recommend voters accept almost 40 acres off Lakeview Drive offered by Wachusetts Properties was unanimous.  The area is currently an undeveloped subdivision, on the east side of the road; resident Wayne Chadwick said most of it is wetland.  Selectmen see it as a potential site for a new China Village fire station, or as land they can sell in the future.

Art. 8 asks voters to put the $18,000 a year the Town of Palermo will contribute for use of China’s transfer station into a reserve fund for transfer station equipment replacement and similar purposes.

The first of two fund requests is for $3,800 “to conduct a community needs assessment relating to the understanding of the challenges facing older residents as they age in China.”   The project is a follow-up to the demographic survey done this summer for $500.

The second, in Art. 10, asks voters to appropriate an additional $5,000 for police services.  L’Heureux said the request is a response to what seems to be an increase in vandalism and other minor but annoying offenses in town.

Article 11 proposes transferring $100,000 from the town’s unassigned fund balance, once known as surplus, to the capital and equipment reserve account where it can be used for major purchases in an emergency, like a truck breaking down or, L’Heureux suggested, a roof collapsing.  The manager said the change would not affect China’s credit rating.

The proposed gift to the South China Library is the portable classroom the town bought from the school department this summer.  The recipients would be expected to reimburse the town for the $1 the building cost and moving expenses.

There was disagreement over whether the idea originated with library trustees or selectmen, but agreement that library officials might want to relocate the building to their newly-acquired South China property.

The draft article was amended to give library officials 60 days after the vote to accept the building, assuming the article passes.  Austin voted against putting the item on the ballot, having expressed opposition to the time limit and suggested other potential uses for the building.

The final article, recommended by the Tax Increment Financing Committee, asks voters to appropriate $50,000 from the TIF account for repair and maintenance of Four Seasons Club trails along the Central Maine Power Company line in China.  During TIF Committee discussions, club president Soares said the trails are all-season and all-purpose.

The China Budget Committee will meet at 6:30 p.m., Thursday Sept. 22, to make recommendations on proposed spending and fund transfers

Letters to the editor, Week of September 22, 2016

Responds to letters

To the editor:

To the folks of China, I am from away – all the way from Winthrop. Living there until I graduated from Winthrop High and then I was off to the Marines.   I’ve lived in other areas of Maine and also, for five years, in Nevada, North Carolina and California.  Call that ‘from away’ if you want.

I do want change in China.  I was one of the more adamant supporters of purchasing the Cabins property, as I know from experience (Winthrop) what it means to a kid and a family to have access to a beach and lake, year-round.  I had the best childhood, greatly, because of time on the beach/lake.

I moved to China six years ago because of the lake.  I wanted my grandkids to have the same wonderful experiences I had in Winthrop and we’ve been well-blessed they are here frequently.  The town ultimately decided not to purchase The Cabins for about $550,000, which I believe was from bad/false information passed around town.  I was told the property just appraised for $1.3 million.  I know our town could have made great use of the property and it was shame to see it slip away.  Just one cabin recently sold for $145,000.

Also, I started my own nonprofit to try and acquire The Cabins property, privately.  I wanted Hannaford, FairPoint, TimeWarner, etc…  to sponsor weeks for autistic children, survivors of domestic abuse, Wounded Warriors, etc… and more important to me – to give free weeks to less-fortunate families from the Harold Alfond Cancer Center or Center for Grieving Children , providing a week of ‘Life on China Lake’ so they could enjoy a week with those they loved, before they were too sick.   I couldn’t make it go, but I’m pleased that at least I did try to do something for my community.

As a member of the China Volunteer Fire Department, I secured a $46,000 grant for new air packs (instead of it coming out of your taxes). Trust me when I say there are some really fine people, with whom I’m proud to be associated, on China Fire/Rescue.  They give their time to protect and serve the people in this town, without reward.

I often go to selectmen’s meetings because I’m interested in what’s happening in town, and I think more folks should attend and offer their support of the board member’s endeavors.   I’m on several committees because I want to do my part in making China a better place to live.  Having lived and experienced other places, I hope to help bring a few good experiences to town.

We have $5 million in TIF money to spend in 20 years and I would like to see the town do something ambitious, that the majority of voters can support.  The TIF committee would love to hear suggestions from the people in town.  Anyone can email, call or visit the town office with your suggestions or better yet, come to a TIF meeting and share your thoughts.

My suggestion of shops and a place for folks to retire is simply a suggestion, but I feel will make China a better, friendlier place to live and also help with our ever-increasing taxes – similar to how Hannaford is a  wonderful addition to our community.  Really, nothing stays the same and we can purposely put something in place that benefits people or – live with what someone else puts in place, which we may not want at all.  Try stopping Irving/Circle K.

Frankly, I like to think I’ve been doing my part for China since I moved here, when many aren’t.  Sadly, while China calls itself, ‘The friendliest town in Maine,’ I can’t say that I’ve always found that to be true – especially in the pages of The Town Line.

Dale Worster

Ben Twitchell Will Get Things Done

To the editor:

I’ve known Ben for many years and I respect him. He’s a great family man and a generous neighbor. He’s been attentive and works hard in our community as a Winslow Town Councilor. Additionally, he’s a person who’s always willing to help neighbors in need.

Ben is a friendly person. As a representative he’ll listen to the concerns, and be active for the citizens he represents. People need to know that their representative is there for them.

A subject that’s very important to me is the terrible drug problem that claims the lives and effects many families within our communities. Ben promises that finding a solution to this growing problem will be a top priority.

We need a representative who will represent all citizens. He wants to make a difference working for us in Augusta. I know he’ll work hard. That’s what Ben does!

Please vote Ben Twitchell,  state representative for Winslow and part of Benton

Linda Lemieux

Think before you speak

To the editor:

I must preface this letter by first saying, in my opinion, Governor Paul LePage is not a racist but an honorable man who has and will continue to serve Maine.

Yes, he is provocative but also says what many Mainers and Americans think, but due to political correctness, are afraid to speak.

An old friend of the Marine Corps and my mentor, who years later signed my teaching certificate, once told me to read certain scriptures. With that in mind, I now relate my friend’s advice.

Dear governor, please read Proverbs 13:3: “Those who control their tongue will have a long life. Opening your mouth can ruin everything.” My friend added, “When we speak, we do well to pause a moment to think, sometimes even pray first.”

Frank Slason

Arts society celebrates 30 years

Former China resident, Marilyn Dwelley, one of the organization’s founders

Submitted by Mary Morrison
Pauline Turner and Pat Binette

Two of the four founders of Waterville Area Art Society, Pauline Turner and Pat Binette, each holding one of their original paintings. The founders not pictured are Marilyn Dwelley, now residing in Florida, and the late Peggy Stowers. Contributed photo

Waterville Area Art Society (WAAS) will celebrate the 30th year of its founding during the month of October, at the Winslow Public Library, October 3 – 28, with a reception to be held October 6. Forty members, both past and present, will display their art. Also on display will be the history of the Art Society as well as artwork from each of the four founders.

The opening reception is Thursday, October 6, at the Winslow Public Library from 4:30 to 7 p.m. At 6 p.m. the founding members, Patricia Binette, Marilyn Dwelley, Pauline Turner, and Peggy Stowers (deceased) will be honored.  Refreshments will be served.

In 1986, WAAS was founded to stimulate awareness of visual arts in the Waterville area, exchange ideas, encourage beginners, and to steer young students to a career in art, the enjoyment of art or art as a second profession. The four founders, Binette, Dwelley, Stowers and Turner have served as inspirations to many aspiring artists through their art, work ethic, teaching and ideals.

The Art Society currently has 51 members from communities such as Emden, the Belgrades, Smithfield and Augusta, and towns in the Greater Waterville area. These artists work in many media, including oil, acrylic, watercolor, printmaking, encaustic, digital art, three dimensional art, wood, graphite, charcoal, pen and ink, photography and mixed media.

Founder Peggy Stowers was the first president of WAAS. She lived in Fairfield and taught and made art in her West Street home for many years. Peggy studied under Muriel Ragsdale and participated in many workshops as a student and as a teacher. Using a variety of media she was inspired by her faith and the natural world and exhibited in many locations.  She is remembered by co-founder, Pat Binette as “a wonderful friend, teacher and artist.”

Pat Binette owns Earth Spirit Studio, in Fairfield, and has been a devoted art teacher to students of all ages for more than 20 years. She studied at various University of Maine campuses. Her art has been shown at Colby and Thomas Colleges, area businesses and juried art shows and galleries throughout the state. She works in a variety of media and enjoys experimenting with new techniques. She states, “I must have an emotional connection to my work; my inspirations come from life experiences and deep reverence for the environment”.

Founder Pauline Turner works in watercolor. As a young child before starting school she reports that she was always drawing with pencils.  When her mother thought she spent too much time drawing, a great aunt encouraged her, saying, “She’s going to be an artist.” At school, a nun who had studied at the Sorbonne, was her art teacher. Pauline says, “If I was naughty I couldn’t take art class but one of the other nuns gave me art activities to do.” Pauline has taught and exhibited in many venues. Her favorite subject is landscapes, especially the ocean, and she takes inspiration from the Impressionists. She says, “I see beauty in everything and everyone and find peace looking at nature.” She can’t imagine a life without art as it has made her life so much fuller.  “My greatest satisfaction has come from former students and other people coming by at an art show and complimenting me,” she says.

Founder Marilyn Dwelley, formerly of China, Maine, now lives in Zephyrhills, Florida. She started painting in seventh grade when a cousin gave her some unwanted oil paints and brushes, and she began using acrylics in 1976. She is self-taught and for more than 40 years has sold art professionally.  A recipient of more than 375 awards in art shows in New England and Florida, she has sold over 1,300 original paintings during her career.  She specializes in Maine scenes and wildflowers and is the author and illustrator of three field guides for identifying wildflowers, trees and shrubs. “I am a naturalist,” she says, “who loves Maine and its beauty. I want my trees and flowers to be botanically correct in color and shape. My goal in creating a painting is to help others see the beauty of God’s creation through my eyes.” Marilyn founded the Maine Open Juried Art Show (MOJAS) that is held each spring and continues to be affiliated with WAAS. She established and funded an acrylic landscape award for both MOJAS and the Intown Artsfest in Waterville.

The art show will be open for the public to enjoy at the Winslow Library (open daily, except for Sunday) during the month of October.  After this exhibit concludes at the library, it will move to The Framemakers in Waterville from mid-November to mid-January.

China candidates announced

by Mary Grow

As of Sept. 12, China Town Clerk Rebecca Hapgood reported there was at least one potential candidate for every position on China’s Nov. 8 local election ballot, with possible contests for at least two positions. For three seats on the board of selectmen, seven people are circulating nomination petitions: Albert Althenn, Wayne Chadwick, James Dow, Raymond Robert and incumbents Joann Austin, Neil Farrington and Robert MacFarland. Chadwick had already returned his signed papers, Hapgood said. There are two people seeking signatures to run for the at-large planning board position, Ralph Howe and incumbent Frank Soares.

Also seeking re-election, without opposition so far, are District 2 planning board member Toni Wall; District 4 planning board member Thomas Miragliuolo; District 2 budget committee member Thomas Rumpf; and District 4 budget committee member Timothy Basham. Linda Howe is circulating papers for the position of budget committee secretary (now held by Althenn) and Valerie Baker for the at-large budget committee seat (now held by Jonathan Vogel).

Dawn Castner seeks nomination to the Regional School Unit #18 board of directors, succeeding Robert Bennett, who has declined to serve again.

For candidates’ names to appear on the Nov. 8 local ballot, signed papers must be returned to the town office by 11 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 24.

Committee-related issues top selectmen’s agenda

by Mary Grow

China selectmen spent most of their Sept. 6 meeting on two committee-related topics, advice on transfer station affairs from the transfer station committee and a broader discussion of overlapping membership between the board of selectmen and town committees.

The latter topic generated heated argument between board Chairman Robert MacFarland and

Selectmen Joann Austin and Irene Belanger. MacFarland took the position that a selectman who serves on a committee should not vote in committee on monetary issues that will be presented to selectmen for their vote. Austin and Belanger saw no problem, as long as no personal benefit was involved.

The Tax Increment Finance (TIF) Committee, on which Austin and Belanger serve, has already recommended that selectmen endorse a $50,000 grant for China Four Seasons Club trail repairs and is likely to recommend future expenditures. Final decisions on TIF spending are made by China voters; the $50,000 request is among a long list that might appear on a November 8 local ballot (see below).

MacFarland said having two selectmen already on record biases the selectboard vote, a situation he considers unethical.

Ronald Breton sided with MacFarland, saying that as a matter of principle he believes selectmen should not serve on committees that report to the selectboard. Breton is a member of no town committee; he does serve on the Regional School Unit #18 subcommittee reviewing the district funding formula, a subcommittee that reports to the RSU #18 board.
Neil Farrington could see both sides of the question. However, he pointed out, the selectmen appoint the town committees, so the time to object to committee nominees was in June when appointments were renewed for the new fiscal year.

In response to a suggestion that the Maine Municipal Association be consulted, Town Manager Daniel L’Heureux said he did seek MMA advice after MacFarland requested the agenda item. MMA Director of Legal Services Susan Pilgrim replied that as long as the committees and the selectboard act in advisory capacities and voters make final decisions, there is no conflict or problem. MacFarland’s motion to prohibit selectmen from voting on monetary issues in town committees subordinate to the selectboard was then defeated with only MacFarland and Breton in favor.

MacFarland presented another, unrelated idea at the Aug. 22 selectmen’s meeting: to exempt local haulers bringing in household waste from the transfer station fee charged other commercial haulers. The suggestion was referred to the transfer station committee, which recommended against it with only Belanger opposed.

Belanger has long argued that since householders who use the haulers already support the transfer station with their taxes, charging the haulers a fee is double taxation. She said the other transfer station committee members had no specific reason for their refusal to support the change; they saw no reason to implement it.

After a discussion of ways to increase recycling among residents who use commercial haulers, MacFarland suggested scheduling a workshop with transfer station committee members and Palermo representatives (because beginning in January Palermo residents will use China’s transfer station). No action is likely until after the Nov. 8 local elections.

Transfer station committee member Linda O’Connor asked selectmen to act on a recommended change in the days the transfer station is open. Currently, the facility is open from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday; so whenever it is closed for a

Monday holiday, residents have to wait from Saturday to Wednesday to dispose of trash.
However, there was disagreement over whether the recommended days were Monday, Tuesday, Friday and Saturday or Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. Selectmen postponed action until they get a definite answer from the committee, which was scheduled to meet Tuesday morning, Sept. 13.

In response to an earlier query from the selectmen, L’Heureux said Codes Officer Paul Mitnik said relocating and enlarging the free-for-the-taking building, aka the swap shop building, at the transfer station would not exceed allowable phosphorus run-off.

The manager announced two other trash-related issues, the annual household hazardous waste disposal day in Winslow Saturday, Oct. 15, and a drug take-back day at the China transfer station Saturday, Oct. 22. Selectmen unanimously authorized participation in the Winslow event, with a cap of $2,000 to cover charges for China waste. Pre-registration is required; more information will be available on the town web site. L’Heureux added potential Nov. 8 ballot questions to the list he presented Aug. 22 (see the Aug. 25 issue of The Town Line, p. 7). Possible issues include:

• A recommendation for – tentatively – up to $3,800 from TIF funds for a townwide needs assessment, focused on senior citizens, as a follow-up to the recently completed demographic survey.
• Conveying the former portable classroom the town just bought from RSU 18 to the South China Library Association, if the association wants it, probably at the town’s cost.
• Appropriating $100,000 from surplus to the capital reserve account.
Again, discussion was postponed.

The Sept. 6 selectmen’s meeting was preceded by an unattended public hearing on amendments to the appendices to the town’s General Assistance Ordinance. During the meeting, selectmen unanimously approved the changes.
The next regular China selectmen’s meeting is scheduled for Monday evening, Sept. 19.