China select board unanimously approves 38-article warrant

by Mary Grow

CHINA, ME — China select board members have unanimously approved the 38-article warrant for the June 14 annual town business meeting.

The April 11 select board meeting was preceded by a very short budget committee meeting, at which that board endorsed revised wording of two articles.

A public hearing on the warrant is scheduled for 6 p.m., Monday, May 9, before that evening’s select board meeting. All 38 articles will be voted by written ballot June 14, so the May 9 hearing will be the only official public assembly at which questions can be asked and answered.

Select board members further agreed that a straw poll will be conducted June 14 asking those who vote that day whether they prefer a written ballot or an open town meeting.

June 14 voting will be in the former portable classroom behind the town office, with a moderator elected at 6:55 a.m. and polls open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. As during previous elections, the driveway from Lakeview Drive will be closed; vehicle access will be off Alder Park Road just south of the town office complex.

In other business April 11, select board members unanimously accepted the higher of two bids for the Harley Davidson motorcycle (taken in part repayment of a business loan from the Tax Increment Financing [TIF] Fund’s revolving loan program). Michael MacFarland bid $5,100.

They unanimously approved Anita Smith’s request to use $16,465 from the current year’s budget for groundwork and a building in the China School Forest (which Smith proposed renaming the Community Forest at China School).

Smith, a retired China teacher and for many years a manager and guardian for the forest east of China Primary School, said she got three companies’ prices for a building that will become a winter classroom. She chose a 14-by-32 building made by Backyard Buildings, the Amish company in Unity, for $16,465, including delivery.

Smith told select board members she has volunteers – and welcomes more – to clear the building site. A gravel pad will be installed.

Central Maine Power Company said running electricity to the building site would cost $20,000, she said. Therefore she intends to add propane heaters and a portable battery-powered generator, as well as finishing the interior and adding enough gravel to the access way to accommodate propane trucks.

Town Manager Rebecca Hapgood said there is more than $27,000 left in the 2021-22 budget to pay for the building.

Smith has requested $12,000 for the 2022-23 forest budget. The request is included in Art. 5 of the town meeting warrant, which asks voters to appropriate a total of $82,575 for town boards and committees.

The next regular China select board meeting is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Monday, April 25. Hapgood issued a reminder that town departments will be closed Monday, April 18 for the Patriots’ Day holiday.

CORRECTION: This article has been updated. The size of the building at the China School Forest building was previously stated to be 13-by-42 feet. It should instead be 14-by-32 feet instead. (Correction supplied by Anita Smith.)

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