China select board seeks residents’ help on two projects

by Mary Grow

China select board members are looking for residents’ help on two very different projects: investigating the proposed LS power line and building the planned vault storage addition at the town office.

For the first, they want people to serve on a committee to get more information, with some sort of town action as a probable outcome.

For the second, they want people willing and able to do the physical work of building the structure – “an old-fashioned barn-raising, if you will,” said town building committee chairman Sheldon Goodine.

The LS power line is planned to bring wind-generated electricity from northern Maine to Coopers Mills. Its route has not yet been established, but preliminary proposed routes run through parts of China.

Resident Fred Wiand said one possible route would take a large part of his property, a prospect that does not please him. He suggested the power line might also go through Thurston Park, the town-owned park in northeastern China.

Albion voters passed a six-months’ moratorium on new power lines at the end of August. China Town Manager Rebecca Hapgood said Palermo is planning a similar vote.

Unlike those towns, China has a quorum requirement: a special town meeting would require at least 100 registered voters to take action. It is too late to add a moratorium question to the Nov. 7 ballot; the next regular voting will be at the June 2024 town business meeting.

Board member Blane Casey asked how much influence a town can have over a project that will be approved by a state agency. Jeanne Marquis said Albion voters seem to think they might be able to modify the power line to benefit residents.

People interested in serving on a committee to study the power line are asked to call the town office.

First half taxes due; openings on Nov. ballot

The first half payment of China local taxes is due at the town office by Friday, Sept. 29. Interest on late payments begins on Sept. 30.

On the Nov. 7 China local election ballot, there will be no contests and two openings for write-in candidates. Town Manager Rebecca Hapgood reported for Town Clerk Angela Nelson at the Sept. 11 select board meeting:

  • Select board incumbents Wayne Chadwick and Jeanne Marquis are running for re-election.
  • Planning board incumbent Natale Tripodi and new member Elaine Mather (District 3) are running for re-election. There is no candidate for District 1 (northwestern China).
  • Budget committee incumbents Thomas Rumpf and Kevin Maroon are running for re-election. There is no candidate for District 3 (southeastern China).

The addition to the town office, discussed for some months, is currently at a standstill because no contractor replied to a request for bids. Goodine said he has heard that contractors lack time and employees, and that the $195,000 allocated for the work is not enough.

After discussing options, select board members postponed action to their Sept. 25 meeting. In the interim, Goodine will seek contractors to do various parts of the work – foundation, framing, electrical, mechanical, painting, whatever else is needed – and select board members Marquis and Janet Preston will look for grants that might help cover the cost.

Board chairman Wayne Chadwick thinks it is essential to have all cost estimates before work begins, to make sure the project stays within budget. People with skills and time for any part of the job are invited to contact Goodine or the town office.

In other business Sept. 11, by a series of unanimous votes:

  • Board members added Licensed Plumbing Inspector to new codes officer Zachary Gosselin’s titles; Hapgood said he has received his certification.
  • They accepted the only proposal for the electrical work needed to connect the town-donated generator at the Community Forest building behind the China schools, from Finley Electric, of Windsor, for $3,515.
  • They refused to help Albion pay for repairs to Libby Hill Road. Even though it is China residents’ access to Thurston Park, they could not justify spending China taxpayers’ money on a road in Albion.
  • After a discussion with contractors Tyler and Peter Bragdon, of Brag’s Sewer and Septic, of Augusta, they reaffirmed the $5,000 fine for violation of town ordinances during work at 42 Pond Road.

One item on the agenda for the Sept. 25 select board meeting will be a Sept. 12 recommendation from the Transfer Station Committee to go back to the system of requiring stickers, instead of Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tags, for admission to the facility.


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