Chesterville board planning special town meeting

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CHESTERVILLE — Town officials are mulling over at least four issues to be brought to a special town meeting for a vote.

All concern actions taken at the annual town meeting March 27:

• Money for the North Chesterville Extension Homemakers;

• Money to pay for public works equipment;

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• Wording on the Selectmen Recall Ordinance; and

• Money for security, internet technology and records preservation at the Town Office.

Voters approved $1,500 for the North Chesterville Extension Homemakers, with $1,000 of it for a townwide celebration. However, Homemakers is a program of the University of Maine Cooperative Extension, and university officials said the money couldn’t be accepted because it wasn’t for a specific Homemakers’ project and the group isn’t a nonprofit.

“When I originally asked for the money, it made sense for the money to go to the Recreation Department,” Budget Committee member Kim Lessard said at Thursday’s selectmen meeting. “There was concern if it was put there, the townspeople wouldn’t understand what it was for.”

Selectman Edward Hastings IV said the recreation budget could be increased to $2,000 with a subcategory of $1,000 for a community event.

Another issue raised at Thursday’s meeting is voter approval in March to raise $25,000 and finance up to $25,000 to purchase equipment for public works. Voters suggested using undesignated funds to pay for it, but they could not legally amend the article to do so. 

Selectman Matt Welch said Thursday, “Only a select few attend special meetings. We shouldn’t override what the majority did.”

Selectmen decided last week to authorize buying an excavator and trailer.

Resident David Gray said the board should give voters a choice on how to pay for the equipment.

Former Selectman Scott Gray said the money may need to be borrowed while the town waits for property taxes to be paid.

Regarding the Recall Ordinance, former Selectman Anne Lambert said the wording on the article may not have been correct.

It should have been “Shall the Town enact …” not “To see if the Town shall vote to enact …,” she said.

Estabrook said the wording may have followed that of other articles on the warrant. She also said there was a specific timeline that had to be followed once the petitions were submitted and that’s why it was on the warrant.

And finally, Treasurer Erin Norton said more money may be needed for security, internet technology and records preservation at the Town Office. Initial quotes have been obtained for the first two but additional information is being requested. 

Estabrook will work with Town Clerk Pamela Griswold to develop warrant articles to present to the board. A date for a special town meeting has not been set. 

pharnden@sunmediagroup.net

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