China selectmen unanimously approve another portable classroom

by Mary Grow

China selectmen unanimously approved buying another second-hand portable classroom, adding a comparatively small sum to the money they’d already spent at their Sept. 16 meeting.

Town Manager Dennis Heath said Regional School Unit (RSU) #18 Superintendent Carl Gartley offered to sell the 50-by-14-foot building to the town for $1, with the town to pay moving costs from Oakland. The manager recommended buying it and siting it on the town office lot to use as a police office; he intends to discuss the exact placement with Codes Enforcement Officer Bill Butler.

The building has a new roof and a heating system, he said. If it were near the portable classroom behind the town office, officers could use the just-installed toilet facilities there.

From the audience, Budget Committee member Wayne Chadwick reminded selectmen they would need to pay for a concrete pad, electricity and probably other costs.

Robert MacFarland, chairman of the Board of Selectmen, said he had seen the building and believes, “with a little bit of cleaning up,” it would be useful for an office and storage. MacFarland estimated the total cost of moving and adapting the building at less than $10,000.

In the past, China bought two extra portable classrooms, the one behind the town office used mainly for voting and committee meetings and one selectmen passed on to the South China Library. That one is now on a slab on Jones Road.

The unusually high expenditure warrant selectmen approved at the beginning of the Sept. 16 meeting totaled more than $1 million. Heath said it included the Kennebec County tax and the monthly school budget.

Also on the warrant was a $52,440.54 payment to Central Maine Power Company to install three-phase power at the transfer station, a long-awaited improvement that will allow installation of the new pre-crusher. Money is to come from the transfer station capital expense fund and the selectmen’s contingency fund. Selectman Ronald Breton congratulated Heath on negotiating CMP’s original price down by more than $16,000.

Selectmen did not accept a revised schedule for town office fees Heath said office staff recommended. After a 15-minute discussion, they voted unanimously to leave fees as they are with two exceptions: changes in fees for notary services and use of the office FAX.

After the meeting, Heath recommended that he delay posting the fee schedule until selectmen review it again at their Sept. 30 meeting.

Neil Farrington, one of China’s representatives on the RSU #18 board of directors, came to the selectmen’s meeting with a proposal to use the South China Legion Hall for community events sponsored by the China for a Lifetime Committee, and stayed to answer school-related questions.

There are two main reasons for school budget increases, he said. One is employee salaries and benefits that go up annually by contract. The other is social, the growing need for special education services. This year RSU #18 has hired an additional social worker and a drug counselor, he said.

In other business:

  • Board members unanimously appointed Nancy Beadling a member of the China for a Lifetime Committee.
  • They again tabled action on Mike Rackcliffe’s application for a Tax Increment Finance (TIF) revolving loan because they had not received requested information from the Kennebec Valley Council of Governments, which assists with China’s loan program (see The Town Line, Sept. 12, p. 3).
  • China Lake Association spokesman Tom Michaud said the association had contracted with Chadwick’s firm, W. D. Chadwick Construction, of South China, for erosion control work on Fire Roads 13, 27 and 35, with Fire Road 35 to be done this fall if possible.
  • Michaud reported that lakefront property owners who had LakeSmart erosion control barriers installed this summer had contributed $2,500 to the program (see The Town Line, Aug. 8, p. 2 and Aug. 29, p. 2, for examples of LakeSmart award recipients).

The next regular China selectmen’s meeting is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Monday, Sept. 30.


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