China selectmen deal with multiple matters

by Mary Grow

China selectmen dealt with miscellaneous matters at their Aug. 3 meeting, including hearing beginning-of-the-month reports from town departments, accepting recommendations from the assessor that will lead to setting the 2020-21 tax rate later in the month and approving agreements with the China Lake Associa­tion and the China Region Lakes Alliance.

Town Manager Becky Hapgood presented most of the reports.

From Police Chief Craig Johnson, she re­ported that Da­vid Sa­vage from the Madison Police Depart­ment has become China’s fifth part-time policeman. With the Waterville Road repaved, there have been speeding complaints, and local officers intend to increase patrols there (and elsewhere in town), Johnson wrote.

Board Chairman Ronald Breton asked Hapgood to ask Johnson to include summaries of the month’s activities in future reports.

Codes Officer Bill Butler and transfer station staff, now headed by Ron Marois (since former manager Tim Gotton has cut back his hours), have been very busy. Butler has had many permit applications; transfer station employees are dealing with residents’ backed-up recycling since they reopened that part of the facility.

The public works department is temporarily down to two people, with a new employee scheduled to start Aug. 19 and a fourth position being advertised.

Speaking for assessor Bill Van Tuinen, Kelly Grotton recommended increases in valuations in certain categories, including land values around China Lake and Three Mile Pond, to bring China’s valuations closer to the state’s. Otherwise, she said, state funds will be reduced in categories like the homestead exemption. Selectmen unanimously approved.

Grotton and Hapgood expect the 2020-21 tax rate will be determined before the end of August. By town meeting vote, the first half payment is due Friday, Sept. 25, by the time the town office closes at 2 p.m.

The agreements with the two lake associations provide that town funds will be used for the purposes for which they are given. The China Lake Association (CLA) focuses its town grant on the Lakesmart program and the Gravel Road Rehabilitation Program (GRRP), both helping waterfront property owners limit run-off. China Region Lakes Alliance (CRLA) activities include the Youth Conservation Corps (YCC), whose members do erosion control work, and the Courtesy Boat Inspection (CBI) program, whose members inspect boats being launched at local boat landings for invasive plant species.

China resident Scott Pierz, president of both organizations, was indignant about people being rude to the boat inspectors, whose work is vital to protect China Lake and Three Mile Pond from milfoil and other invasive plants.

Selectman Breton proposed that he and Hapgood meet with Windsor’s town manager and selectmen to discuss Windsor’s lack of financial contributions to CBI work on Three Mile Pond.

In other business Aug. 3, selectmen:

  • Approved renewal of Craig Taylor’s pawn shop license, for Wildwood Inc. on Gunshop Road.
  • Reappointed members of numerous town committees for the new fiscal year that began July 1.
  • Approved carrying forward cemetery funds from the previous fiscal year to have dead trees removed in two town cemeteries.
  • In their capacity as assessors, approved penalties for four property-owners who took land out of the tree growth or farm protection programs, as provided by state law.

The next regular China selectmen’s meeting is scheduled for Monday evening, Aug. 17.

Nomination papers available in China

Nomination papers for China elective offices are now available at the town office. Signed papers must be returned to the town office by 2 p.m. Friday, Sept. 4, for candidates’ names to appear on the Tuesday, Nov. 3, ballot.

To be elected are:

  • Three selectmen (Ronald Breton’s, Donna Mills-Stevens’ and Janet Preston’s terms end);
  • Four planning board members (District 2, incumbent Toni Wall; District 3, vacant; District 4, incumbent Thomas Miragliuolo; at-large member, incumbent James Wilkens); and
  • Four budget committee members (secretary, incumbent Trishea Story; District 2, incumbent Thomas Rumpf; District 4, incumbent Timothy Basham; and at-large member, incumbent Jeffery Furlong.

At the Aug. 3 selectmen’s meeting, Breton was circulating his nomination papers for another term on the Selectboard. Town Clerk Angela Nelson said Aug. 4 Preston has also taken out papers, as have Brent Chesley and Milton Dudley.

Chesley also has papers for the at-large Planning Board position, and Wall for re-election to her District 2 seat, Nelson said. For the Budget Committee, Basham and Rumpf have papers out for re-election.


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