PALERMO: Hager Ent. chosen to pave two town roads

by Jonathan Strieff

Palermo town council members, Bob Kurek, Ilene McKenny, and Pam Swift met July 27 to vote on bids for three 2023 paving projects, gather comments from community members concerned about the proposed LS Power transmission line , and offer updates on several ongoing municipal projects.

Thursday’s meeting began with the reading of bids from four contractors responding to the towns request for paving two sections of Banton Road and one section of Level Hill Road. Hager Enterprises Inc. was chosen unanimously without discussion. The council also voted unanimously without discussion to approve the minutes from the previous meeting and to accept warrant #15 to pay the municipal bills.

The majority of the meeting was spent gathering comments from the nine community members in attendance concerning the high-voltage transmission proposed by Missouri based LS Power to cross several Waldo County towns, connecting King Pine Wind in Aroostook County to the existing substation in Coopers Mills. Many expressed fears about how the electricity would interact with the aging Buckeye Petroleum distilled gas pipeline already present along the proposed route, as well as the risks posed by the blasting and drilling of ledge that would be necessary to complete the project. Others expressed concern about the impact of trucks and heavy machinery to posted and dirt roads along the route. One attendee encouraged those present to voice
their opposition at the Public Utilities Commission public meeting on September 23, while another participant claimed the PUC had already, “released all management authority,” of the project over to LS Power.

The council agreed to consider circulating a petition for a special town meeting to vote on new land use ordinances that could make the proposed route less cost effective to pursue.

The ongoing municipal business discussed included procedural changes to selling tax-acquired property. A new legislative package passed in Augusta stipulates towns must now contact the previous owner and list the property with a realtor for six months before putting it out to bid. Towns must also repay the previous owner any amount over the assessed value when the property sells.
The council also shared updates to the status of Waldo County Broadband Corporation. The 501c3 corporation was formed to act as a public utility to bring high speed internet to the towns of Palermo, Liberty, Montville, Searsmont, and Freedom without affecting the tax base and without going into debt. Unfortunately, promised funding from the state never materialized, leaving the corporation to act in an advisory role, negotiating an Internet Service Provider owned solution
with either Great Works Internet or Unitel.

The council also spoke to the draw down of Branch Mills pond ahead of dam work expected to start on July 31, changes to mooring guidelines in Sheepscot Lake and the creation of a Harbor Master position, delayed reimbursement from FEMA for road damage from rain storms this summer, and the need to obtain an FCC license for the fire and rescue radio operating at the town office.


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