CHINA: Hapgood: with budget time coming, short meetings have come to an end

by Mary Grow

With work on the 2022-23 budget not quite ready to start, China Select Board members had another short meeting with a varied agenda on Jan. 3.

Town Manager Rebecca Hapgood reminded them their brief meetings are about to end. She has tentatively scheduled a joint meeting with the budget committee for Monday evening, Jan. 24, and is likely to recommend weekly select board meetings in February.

At the Jan. 3 meeting, board members expressed their approval of the survey Hapgood is circulating. Available on the town website and Facebook page, and on paper at the town office, it is designed to get residents’ views on town office and transfer station hours and similar service-related issues.

Hapgood is collecting opinions to find out how residents’ use of town services has changed with the pandemic, and to seek their preferences on how to reduce hours at the office and the transfer station, if selectmen decide to do so.

In other business, board members unanimously approved spending $21,590 from the China Rescue Unit (CRU) reserve fund to buy a replacement 12 Lead electrocardiogram machine.

Rescue spokesman Thomas Alfieri explained that the current machine is so old it is unusable; that the equipment is essential, both as a requirement for CRU’s state license and to save lives; and that he and his fellow CRU members want to act now, not in the next budget year, especially because of the pandemic.

The $21,590, lowest of three bids he presented, was from Master Medical Equipment (MME) in Jackson, Tennessee. Alfieri said MME is also equipment supplier for Delta Ambulance; China’s unit will match Delta’s, making for a smooth transfer for a patient.

By other unanimous votes, select board members:

  • Gave owners of four properties on which the town has foreclosed for unpaid taxes another 60 days to pay in full; and
  • Formally dissolved the town police department, which has already been replaced by an agreement with the Kennebec Sheriff’s Office (KSO). The vote was requested by the assistant director of the Maine Criminal Justice Academy, which oversees training of local police forces.

Board member Wayne Chadwick told KSO Deputy Ivano Stefanizzi that he, for one, is entirely satisfied with KSO coverage. When Board Chairman Ronald Breton asked if the 2022-23 budget should provide funding for more than the current 10 hours a week (in addition to China’s share of service as a Kennebec County town), Chadwick and fellow board member Blane Casey said no.

Because Monday, Jan. 17, is the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, the town office will be closed and the next select board meeting is postponed to Tuesday, Jan. 18. Hapgood said one agenda item will be the town personnel policy, which has been reviewed and revised by town attorney Amanda Meader.

 
 

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