Public hearing set for May 23 on June ballot questions

by Mary Grow

China selectmen dealt with a miscellany of business at their April 29 meeting.

Town Manager Dennis Heath announced a public hearing on Monday, May 13, to discuss two June 11 local ballot questions. The hearing will be at 6:15 p.m. in the town office meeting room, before that evening’s selectmen’s meeting.

The two questions voters will answer June 11 are:

  • Whether to authorize selectmen to spend $150,000 to buy the Hall lot north of the Four Seasons Club on the east shore of China Lake to provide public lake access, using $125,000 from the lake access reserve fund and $25,000 from the TIF (Tax Increment Finance) fund; and
  • Whether to authorize selectmen to spend up to $25,000 from the town’s undesignated fund balance (surplus) for engineering plans for an emergency services building or a community center on town-owned land on Lakeview Drive, opposite the former Candlewood Camps. Voters approved up to $5,000 for preliminary studies in November 2018. Drawings showing what both buildings might look like are on the town website.

Selectmen Jeffrey LaVerdiere and Ronald Breton expressed reservations about the first question. LaVerdiere said the property slopes steeply to the lake, so building a road, a parking lot and other amenities would be expensive. Breton does not want a swimming beach close to a boat landing, citing safety and parking concerns.

Heath said there might be federal and/or state grant money available. He described the lot as “tiered” and said there might be room for three levels of parking lots.

On a different topic, the manager said China’s 2019-2020 school budget might – he emphasized the uncertainty – increase by five percent. If it did, he said, the local tax rate would also have to increase.

Voters in RSU (Regional School Unit) #18 will act on the school budget May 16 in Oakland, with a confirmatory written-ballot vote on June 11.

Selectmen met two new people who will be working on behalf of the town. Shawn Reed introduced Ron Roy, newly hired in the Public Works Department; and Policeman Tracey Frost introduced Jordan Gaudet, who will join Frost and other Oakland officers working part-time in China.

Transfer Station Manager Tim Grotton said Heath had submitted the application for a recycling grant that, if awarded, would distribute recycling bins around town (see The Town Line, April 25). Heath said he is now looking into another grant to help expand broadband service in China, at a cost tentatively estimated at more than a million dollars.

The manager reported that purchase of the Bailey property at the head of China Lake across Causeway Street from the boat landing will be complete when the deed is registered. He invested an additional $1,000 for a survey, he said, and is glad he did: instead of the six or seven acres voters thought they were buying, they acquired more than 11 acres, partly swamp.

Board members informally approved Heath’s draft purchasing policy, which says the manager may make purchases up to $2,500 on his own; for anything between $2,500 and $10,000, he needs several price quotes and selectmen’s approval; and purchases over $10,000 must be by sealed bid. Final action is expected at the May 13 meeting.


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