PERU — Wind Power Committee Chairman Bill Hine asked the Board of Selectmen on Monday night what its charge is since the voters indicated in a straw poll they are against commercial wind power development here.
“Come up with an ordinance that meets the people’s needs, Chairman Tim Holland advised. "We can’t say no wind, but we can regulate it through an ordinance."
“It’s time to draw a hard line through an ordinance. You have to work on a tough ordinance,” newcomer Richard Powell said.
Members of the Wind Power Committee present were excused to meet and decide how to proceed. Member Jim Pulsifer reported back to the board later that the committee will meet Tuesday night to continue drafting an ordinance.
EDP Renewables North America LLC of Houston, Texas, received a permit in October 2011 to place a meteorological test tower off Black Mountain Road near the Sumner town line. The company is considering building possibly 25 to 35 turbines, a representative told the committee this year.
The Wind Power Committee was established last year to draft an ordinance governing wind power developments.
Also at Monday's meeting, the board dealt with the consequences of an ordinance passed by voters not allowing town employees to serve as selectmen or Finance Committee members.
Holland said that since there was no date on the citizen-initiated petition, the ordinance would become effective at next year’s annual town meeting or referendum.
Town Clerk Vera Parent clarified that selectmen's secretary Kathy Hussey will be able to serve out her term as selectman.
The issue and another on changing the board secretary job from appointed to appointed, which passed in balloting last Tuesday, raised a lot of controversy.
Newly elected Selectman Richard Powell read an employee policy which he said he didn’t understand. It stated that a town employee couldn’t serve in an elected position.
Holland said it referred to employees not actively politicking in the office.
Selectmen Ed Ferland disagreed. He said the board had erred because they all knew the policy and should not have allowed Hussey to run for selectman.
The board was accused of stonewalling on the issue and people wanted the change to take place immediately so Hussey would no longer be a selectman.
No one from the board, which also includes Laurieann Milligan, responded to the accusation.
In other business, Holland addressed a list of complaints about the care of cemeteries. The board agreed more oversight is needed and Powell agreed to talk to the contractor.
Powell wanted to know why Peru had an overlay larger than Turner.
Parent said they tried to cover unforeseeable expenses and didn't think $28,000 was excessive.
Powell also questioned if property was being properly assessed and if all equipment was being taxed. The rest of the board thought they were.
The board signed the tax rate at $18.20 per thousand of valuation. Last year it was $17.10.
Marie Eastman said there needed to be more oversight of town officials.
“We don’t see the efficiency in the office we were promised with the new computer system," she said.
Road Commissioner Joe Roach gave the board a schedule for sealing roads this year for selectmen to study before it goes out to bid.
Holland was re-elected chairman and Milligan elected vice chairwoman for the coming year.