China selectmen to call special meeting to set 2016-17 tax rate

by Mary Grow

China selectmen have scheduled a special meeting for 6 p.m. Monday, Aug. 29, to set the 2016-17 tax rate – they hope.

At the board’s Aug. 22 regular meeting, Town Manager Daniel L’Heureux said he and assessor William Van Tuinen were “very, very, very close” to having the necessary calculations done to recommend a tax rate.  He expects it to be lower than the 2015-16 rate.

By town meeting vote, the first half payment of local taxes is due Sept. 30.

The TIF (Tax Increment Financing) Committee meets at 6:30 p.m. Aug. 29 to continue discussion of possible projects at both ends of China Lake.  The selectmen’s and TIF meetings will be in the town office meeting room.

Selectmen also rescheduled their next regular meeting, which would have fallen on Labor Day Monday, to 6 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 6.  The meeting will be preceded by a 5:55 p.m. public hearing on the annual amendments to the General Assistance Ordinance (state changes in allowable amounts of aid the town can give).  The agenda is likely to include a report on the survey of China’s population, with a focus on senior citizens, L’Heureux said.

Also likely to be on the Sept. 6 agenda is discussion of whether commercial haulers who bring China household waste to the transfer station should be charged a fee.  Selectman Irene Belanger has argued for months that they should not, because householders are already paying taxes that help support the transfer station.

To Belanger’s surprise, board Chairman Robert MacFarland made a motion to eliminate the fee.  Action was postponed because the item was not on the Aug. 22 agenda.

Selectmen made two unanimous decisions Aug. 22.

They voted to appropriate either $9,450 or $9,475 – no one could remember the exact figure – for Violette Construction to build a new handicapped access ramp at the portable classroom behind the town office.  After a long discussion of whether the money should come from the selectmen’s contingency fund or from the capital improvements reserve fund, they agreed on the latter source, and asked L’Heureux to seek clarification from the Maine Municipal Association on appropriate uses of the contingency fund.

They voted to use left-over funds from the grant for the new police vehicle plus the trade-in for the current vehicle to add a radar kit and a defibrillator to the new car’s equipment.

At a future meeting board members will need to decide on local warrant articles for Nov. 8 voting.  L’Heureux sent them a nine-item list, which was not discussed Aug. 22.  It includes:

• Possible amendments to the Transfer Station Ordinance.
• Possible amendments to the Transfer Station Flow Control Ordinance.
• Land Use Ordinance amendments discussed by the Planning Board Land, including changes dealing with seasonal residences, shoreland zoning and signs and changes needed to accommodate TIF Committee proposals for expanding lake access at the causeway at the head of China Lake.
• Possible uses of TIF money, including establishing a revolving/forgivable loan fund for local businesses, purchasing the Bailey property at the head of the lake as part of the TIF plan and providing a trails grant for the China Four Seasons Club.  (ep)
— Purchase of the Ortega property behind the town office.
• Acceptance of the 13-lot subdivision on the east side of Lakeview Drive offered to the town by Wachusetts Property.
•  Setting up a capital fund for the transfer station, to be funded by Palermo’s annual contribution once Palermo residents begin using China’s facility in January 2017.
• Setting up a fund for Thurston Park.
• Adding the Central Maine Power Company substation expansion off Route 3 to China’s TIF.


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