Town likely to adopt new mailbox policy

by Mary Grow

CHINA — Mailbox owners, take heed: China selectmen are likely to approve a mailbox policy at their Dec. 10 meeting that says the town has no responsibility for mailboxes damaged by snowplows, even if the box is installed according to the recommendations in the policy.

Town Manager Dennis Heath emailed a copy of the proposed policy from the state Department of Transportation to board members before their Nov. 26 meeting, but since not everyone had time to read and consider it, a decision was postponed.

The policy includes suggestions for proper mailbox installation, a process that needs to meet postal service and Americans with Disabilities Act requirements. It has two warnings, in addition to the statement that the owner is responsible if the box is damaged:

  • If a box is not installed according to highway department standards and a snowplow is damaged or a driver injured, the box owner might be held responsible; and
  • If a box is embedded in concrete or otherwise made immovable, it can be considered a Deadly Fixed Object. The owner can be asked to redo the installation; if the request is refused, the state transportation department can remove it and bill the owner for the cost.

In addition to the proposed mailbox policy, discussion at the Nov. 26 meeting covered a range of topics, including Regional School Unit (RSU) meetings, transfer station services and local policing.

Neil Farrington, one of China’s two representatives on the RSU #18 board of directors, encouraged selectmen to start attending RSU meetings to find out first-hand what the school department is doing and how its annual budget is determined. The next meeting is at 6 p.m., Thursday, Nov. 29, at Messalonskee Middle School. Heath and at least two selectmen indicated they plan to be there.

Heath said China will not participate in the annual household hazardous waste disposal program in Winslow for the next two years. This fall only eight residents signed up, making the cost per person too high.

Selectboard Chairman Robert MacFarland wants the sand bin at the transfer station from which residents are allowed to take up to two buckets of sand at a time more accessible. Transfer station employee Shawn Reed and others said if the bin is outside the gate, people take pick-up loads rather than bucket-loads.

Selectman Ronald Breton recommended bringing the issue to the Transfer Station Committee, scheduled to meet Nov. 27, before selectmen continue discussion.

Oakland and China police officer Tracey Frost reported November had been a more normal month, after a lot of calls in September and October. He and fellow officers are checking summer camps, if owners left a request and if the camps are accessible, and will check people’s homes on request when homeowners take a winter vacation.

The town manager said he is already working on China’s 2019-2020 municipal budget and hopes to have a draft ready by early January.

He reported that the new causeway bridge is open to traffic. He and Selectman Donna Mills-Stevens emphasized that the entire project is not done; phase two will extend the lakeside walkway.

After the regular meeting, selectmen reviewed Heath’s job performance for the first six months in executive session. The result was satisfactory, and they voted afterward on his compensation package.

The next regular China selectmen’s meeting is currently scheduled for Monday evening, Dec. 10.


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