DIXFIELD — The annual town meeting will be held at 6 p.m. Thursday at Dirigo High School’s Community Room.
Voters will act on 29 articles, including one added by a citizen petition. Town Manager Eugene Skibitsky said it concerns a proposal to build eight to 20 large wind turbines along the ridgeline of Colonel Holman Mountain. The proposal has stirred considerable debate.
The article asks whether the town will discuss options and methods of regulating industrial wind power projects.
Another issue on the warrant is matching money for a state grant to pay for building a sidewalk along Weld Street.
“Dixfield, as with most state municipalities, is struggling with lessened state and federal subsidies,” Skibitsky said. That, coupled with escalating costs of fuel, insurance and other government expenses increases the burden on towns, he said.
One remedy would be grant money. The town has recently landed a Maine Department of Transportation grant of $204,000 for the sidewalk project.
“We will have to ask the town for matching funds at the town meeting through a request for an increase in the reserve fund,” Skibitsky said.
The town wants to build a sidewalk 3,644 feet along Weld Street from Nash Street next to the high school and north past T.W. Kelly Dirigo Middle School to the Dixfield Greens housing complex.
“It’s a wonderful grant,” Skibitsky said. “We get a great deal and the safety it provides pedestrians, especially school children, along a busy road is very important.”
Another article seeks a 5 percent wage increase for the town’s union workers.
“The 5 percent raise is a morally responsible decision due to the increase in costs of health insurance,” Skibitsky said. “The workers right now are responsible for paying for one-half of their family’s insurance.”