China select board supports broadband committee

by Mary Grow

After a pre-meeting party in appreciation of retiring chairman Ronald Breton, China select board members settled down to deal with a long and varied Nov. 7 agenda.

They unanimously endorsed a letter of support for the China Broadband Committee (CBC) application for a Maine Connectivity Authority (MCA) grant to improve broadband service in China.

CBC chairman Robert O’Connor said under new state standards, all of China, not just part of the town, qualifies as underserved by current internet providers. Therefore, he said, CBC’s partners, UniTel, of Unity, and UniTel’s Idaho-based parent company, Direct Communications, have expanded their original application.

O’Connor said he has numerous letters of support from townspeople. Select board members unanimously authorized Town Manager Rebecca Hapgood to send a supporting letter and to sign any other documents needed as part of the application.

Several Thurston Park Committee members attended the Nov. 7 meeting to argue against Breton’s proposal to leave the park gate open in October and November so that hunters can drive in. Breton explained his goal was to make it easier for older people to hunt in the park.

Sheri Wilkens said that after years of neglect that led to impassable roads and vandalism, committee members had done a lot of hard work to restore the park. They feared leaving the gate open would lead to major setbacks.

No one else on the select board favored Breton’s idea, and no action was taken.

Hunting has always been allowed in the park. Part of the roads are open to four-wheelers, committee members said.

Select board members acted on bids or price estimates on two topics.

They voted to buy a snow pusher to go on the new loader from Scott’s Recreation, a company with dealerships in Hermon, Manchester and Turner that sells a variety of RVs, trailers, tractors, equipment and other outdoor-related items. The price was $5,900, more than $1,000 lower than the next lowest bid.

Hapgood thanked Brent Chesley (who appears certain to be a select board member after the Nov. 8 local election) for picking up the new loader.

To demolish a trailer at 90 Chadwick Way, off Dirigo Road, board members had a $4,500 figure from Pine Tree Waste, including removal of the remains and site clean-up; and a $2,500 figure from board member Wayne Chadwick, owner of W. D. Chadwick Construction, with the town to pay for disposal after he brought debris to the transfer station.

Hapgood had tried to estimate disposal costs, but without knowing how much debris there would be, an accurate figure was impossible. Chadwick said he would not accept a motion to give the job to his company with a $4,500 price ceiling.

A board majority voted to accept Pine Tree Waste’s $4,500 price, with Chadwick and Blane Casey abstaining. Hapgood hopes the work will be done by the end of November.

Returning to an Oct. 24 topic, board members unanimously revised the starting date for the two-cents-a pound fee for brush disposal at the transfer station (see the Oct. 27 issue of The Town Line, p. 3) from Nov. 15 to Feb. 1, 2023. Hapgood said she had been reminded of the requirement that China give Palermo residents three months’ notice of transfer station fee changes.

By contract, Palermo shares use of China’s transfer station. Residents of the two towns pay identical fees for specified items (bulky items, tires, electronics and others); Palermo residents pay for trash bags for mixed household waste; and the Town of Palermo pays China an annual fee.

Board members postponed a decision on repairs to the roof of the recycling building after Casey suggested considering switching to asphalt shingles, instead of repairing the screwed-down metal roof. He volunteered to inspect the roof the next day.

Appointments approved were:

  • Kenneth Reese as a member of the Municipal Building Committee and the Emergency Preparedness Committee; and
  • J. Christopher Baumann as a member of the Transfer Station Committee.

Hapgood reminded those present that town facilities will be closed Friday, Nov. 11, in observance of Veterans’ Day. They will also be closed Thursday and Friday, Nov. 24 and 25, for the Thanksgiving holiday. On Saturday, Nov 26, the town office and transfer station will be open regular hours.

The next regular China select board meeting is scheduled for Monday evening, Nov. 21.


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