China selectmen work through miscellaneous agenda

by Mary Grow

China selectmen had a miscellaneous agenda for their Nov. 8 meeting, and dealt with most of it expeditiously.

Board Chairman Ronald Breton introduced newly-elected member Jeanne Marquis to the audience. Marquis invited residents to send her comments; board members’ email addresses are on the town website,

Kennebec County Sheriff’s Deputy Ivano Stefanizzi said deputies have been following school buses in China to make sure children get on and off safely. They have also been watching for speeders on the inviting newly-paved roads. He urged any resident with an issue appropriate for the sheriff’s office to report it to Town Manager Rebecca Hapgood, who will forward it.

Discussion of using ranked choice voting in municipal elections was postponed, probably to the Nov. 22 select board meeting. Board member Janet Preston, who had proposed the topic, said she is still exploring the issue.

Discussion of revising the select board policy on public participation was also postponed, at Chairman Ronald Breton’s recommendation. Breton said he and Hapgood will come up with options for the rest of the board to review.

The liveliest and longest debate was over whether China or Palermo should pay $275 for Chris Diesch’s registration at a Maine Resource Recovery Association conference in October. Diesch is one of Palermo’s two representatives on China’s Transfer Station Committee; she and committee Chairman Larry Sikora attended the conference.

The committee has a $1,000 budget. Hapgood read from Sikora’s letter requesting the money, in which he said the purpose was to pay such things as conference and training session fees for committee members. He did not say anything about China members only, and Hapgood said the solid waste contract between the two towns does not mention how such costs should be allocated.

Hapgood said Palermo’s position is that all committee members should be treated alike; if China pays for one, it should pay for all. She disagreed, saying Palermo should cover its representatives’ costs.

Sikora said it would be unfair to ask Palermo to pay an unexpected bill.

The compromise was Wayne Chadwick’s motion that China pay the bill this time, but notify Palermo that China will not pay in the future. The motion was approved 3-2, with Janet Preston and Marquis joining Chadwick; Breton and Blane Casey were opposed.

The Nov. 8 agenda listed seven selectmen’s policies to be reviewed:

  • Remote Participation Policy, adopted July 2021, required by the state to allow board and committee members to participate remotely in meetings in defined situations that keep them from attending in person.
  • Tobacco-Free Policy, adopted Aug. 24, 2015, and amended Jan. 4, 2021, prohibiting use of any tobacco products by anybody on any town property.
  • Internal Financial Controls Policy, adopted Nov. 23, 2020, describing management of funds passing through the town office.
  • Outstanding Tax Order, saying tax payments will be applied first to the oldest overdue taxes.
  • Alcohol and Controlled Substances Testing Policy, revised November 2020, setting out testing requirements for town-employed drivers who have commercial licenses and are performing safety-sensitive duties.
  • Notice of Dishonor Policy, adopted Nov. 23, 2020, describing procedure if a bank dishonors (refuses to pay) someone’s check or electronic payment to the town.
  • Boston Post Cane Policy, last approved November 2020, describing the procedure for awarding China’s Boston Post Cane to its oldest resident.

Selectmen asked a few questions, and Chadwick recommended applying alcohol and drug testing requirements to other employees, not just to truck drivers. Hapgood said doing so would require a new policy. She promised more of the existing policies for review at the Nov. 22 meeting.

All seven policies were re-approved unanimously with no changes.

Another unanimous vote was to offer for sale, by sealed bid with a $5,000 minimum, a Harley-Davidson motorcycle the town has taken as partial repayment of a business loan made with Tax Increment Financing funds.

The meeting began with a virtual presentation by Michael Carroll, executive director of the Municipal Review Committee (MRC). The MRC represents the towns, including China, that planned to send trash to the Hampden recycling facility that has been closed for a year and a half.

Carroll said the bond-holders and others involved who have been trying to sell the facility to a new operator are considering an offer received last week. A decision is due next week, he said, and he is optimistic that it will lead to re-opening the facility early in 2022.

The next regular China select board meeting is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Monday, Nov. 22.

Election follow-up: Three out of four vacant positions filled

by Mary Grow

After getting in touch with China residents who received write-in votes for local offices in Nov. 2 voting, Town Clerk Angela Nelson reported three of the four positions without candidates on the ballot are filled.

Select board members filled the fourth position at their Nov. 8 meeting.

However, there is still one vacancy: Thomas Rumpf’s election as budget committee chairman left his District Two seat empty.

T. Jamie Bachinski will be China’s new representative on the Regional School Unit #18 board of directors, succeeding Neil Farrington, who did not seek re-election. Dawn Castner is China’s other board member.

Michael Brown accepted the planning board District One seat vacated by Randall Downer.

Michael Sullivan agreed to serve on the budget committee from District Three, succeeding Dana Buswell, who did not run again.

In planning board District Three, Wayne Chadwick had three write-in votes for the seat, but declined because he was also re-elected to the board of selectmen. Walter Bennett, Jr., had two write-in votes; Town Manager Rebecca Hapgood told select board members he is willing to serve, and they unanimously appointed him.

Selectmen intend to advertise for residents interested in the District Two budget committee position. District Two is northeastern China, east of China Lake and north of Alder Park Road.


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