CHINA: Rte. 3 local water source closed to public use

by Mary Grow

China selectmen discussed multiple ongoing issues and one new one at their Sept. 14 meeting.

The new issue was a letter asking if the town would provide a public water supply in South China. The spring in a Route 3 front yard from which area residents have taken water for years has new owners who closed it to public use.

The letter-writer said her well, and other wells she knows of, have water that is undrinkable. She used to take multiple jugs from the local spring and would like to avoid paying store prices. She would be willing to make a token payment for use of a town water supply, she said.

Selectmen were not in favor of the proposal. Wayne Chadwick said a public water supply would be highly regulated and expensive. Board Chairman Ronald Breton added that if something went wrong, the town could be liable.

Discussion turned instead to how to help people with unsafe wells. Donna Mills-Stevens, participating in the meeting via Zoom, suggested state or federal agencies might help. Breton said he would forward suggestions to the letter-writer.

In other business, selectmen reviewed Town Manager Becky Hapgood’s proposed 2021 town meeting dates and resulting timelines for starting budget preparations for the 2020-21 fiscal year. They did not want to hold the meeting so early they would be lacking financial information, nor so late that if voters rejected some or all of the budget they would be delayed moving into the new fiscal year.

Breton’s recommendation of Tuesday, May 18, was unanimously approved. Board members have already decided the meeting will be by written ballot, as in 2020, not an open meeting.

Resident Tom Michaud said the test borings added to the causeway project have been done; the contractor, McGee Construction, is waiting for the results. He has asked McGee for an estimated timeline for this fall’s work, which is to install runoff controls and a walkway at the head of China Lake’s east basin.

Scott Pierz, president of the China Lake Association and the China Region Lakes Alliance, emphatically seconded the request. Work along the causeway will be correlated with the annual fall drawdown of China Lake’s water level, mandated by the state Department of Environmental Protection. The original purpose of the drawdown was to remove phosphorus that feeds algae in the lake; outflow down Outlet Stream also affects the Maine Rivers alewife restoration initiative (ARI). Pierz wanted to be sure construction needs did not override environmental goals.

Selectmen unanimously appointed Danny Boivin a member of the Tax Increment Financing (TIF) Committee. Breton said TIF Committee Chairman Frank Soares has resigned for health reasons and thanked Soares for his long service on the committee.

Hapgood reported Kevin Rhoades has resigned from the transfer station staff. The town office staff will be back to full strength when new part-time employee, Tammy Bailey, starts work Sept. 28, she said.

A new sign is to be installed at the transfer station. Grant money is paying for it, Breton said.

On the Nov. 3 local ballot, Hapgood reported there will be five candidates for three seats on the Board of Selectmen: incumbents Breton and Janet Preston, and Blane Casey, Brent Chesley and Jeanne Marquis. There are no contests for planning board or budget committee positions. Absentee ballot applications may be filed any time, she said; ballots will probably be available about Oct. 5.

The manager reported that finances for the current fiscal year are “looking good so far,” except for the elections budget. Because of changes in schedules and procedures caused by Covid-19, money appropriated for elections is more than half spent already, she said.

The next regular China selectmen’s meeting will be Monday evening, Sept. 28.

Sept. 28 meeting to be preceded by public hearings

The Monday, Sept. 28, China selectmen’s meeting will be preceded by two public hearings, at 6 and 6:15 p.m. in the town office meeting room.

The 6 p.m. hearing will be on state amendments to the appendices to the town’s General Assistance Ordinance, an annual requirement. The selectmen will act on the amendments during their meeting after the hearings.

The 6:15 p.m. hearing will be on proposed amendments to the Solid Waste Disposal Ordinance and the Solid Waste Flow Control Ordinance. The amendments, which can be read on the town website under Elections, will be on the Nov. 3 local ballot.


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