Government At A Glance

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Poland Board of Selectmen

Met: July 17

Town, bottler reach agreement

The Scoop: Town officials and the Poland Spring Water Corp. have reached an agreement to repay millions of dollars that the bottler was due, but never received, under a tax increment financing agreement. For the past six years the town should have returned a percentage of taxes paid by Poland Spring to be reinvested in the company. However, payments were never made and haphazard accounting practices compounded the problem. By the time the error was discovered, the amount due had grown into millions of dollars.

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During three recent meetings, Poland Spring representatives and Poland officials hatched a plan to repay the debt over seven years. Town Manager Dana Lee described the meetings as “very successful,” and lauded the company’s efforts to work with the town. Poland Spring, in turn, agreed to waive more than $200,000 of the debt.

Finances back in order

The Scoop: After several years of fuzzy audits and missed payments, Poland’s finances now are back under control. State-appointed auditors have reconciled figures from the past two fiscal years, and town auditors Wednesday “began with a clean set of books,” Town Manager Dana Lee said. “We now seem to have a very clear path out of the woods,” he said.

Real estate resolution?

Issue: Hoping to save residents the expense of going to court, board members decided to make a final attempt to resolve an ongoing real estate rift. Several years ago the town sold a parcel of land and failed to include all of the property on the deed. When a corrective deed was issued, neighboring property owners, including Ivy Brown, filed suit accusing the town of taking what they believed was their land.

Up Next: Town Manager Dana Lee said Mary Devine, an attorney for one of the complaining residents, will contact the town’s attorney and schedule a meeting to discuss resolution of the suit.

Ramp folded into building rehab

Issue: Instead of redoing the town hall wheelchair ramp alone, board members will consider a larger rehabilitation project for the building. Later this summer, a request for proposals will be distributed to architectural firms, for a complete study of what the building needs.

Up Next: Board members would like to get architecture and building plans done during fall and winter, and then ask voters for approval during annual town meeting in spring 2008.

Dam plan in place

The Scoop: Board members received an action plan from Emergency Management Agency Director Wayne Cotterly regarding the dam at Estes Bog Brook. The plan addresses inspection and maintenance of the dam, as well as what to do should a breach occur.

Turner Board of Selectmen

Met: July 16

Board vacancies

The Scoop: Volunteers are needed to fill open seats on several town and county boards. There are two vacancies on the appeals board, one on the town budget committee, and the Turner Center for the Arts is in need of a director. Likewise, the Androscoggin County Budget Committee needs a Turner representative. Nomination forms for all positions are available at town hall; deadline for the county budget seat application is Aug. 14.

Year-end budgets reviewed

The Scoop: Four municipal departments made it through fiscal year 2007 with money left in the budget: Paving and construction, $15,195; cemeteries, $4,028; parks, $3,432; and Community Rental of the BQMC Memorial Hall, $1,064.

However, three other departments were overdrawn: Administration finished $8,572 in the hole due to legal fees, according to Town Manager Eva Leavitt. Rescue was short $1,945 and General Assistance overdrew by $2,034.

Board rejects MDOT request

Issue: Selectmen rejected a request from the Maine Department of Transportation to allow trucks carrying overweight loads through the Twin Bridges area of town, near the Leeds border. Town Manager Eva Leavitt said MDOT proposed the route only as a backup, and the likelihood of overloaded trucks in the area would be low. However, board members decided against the request anyway.

Contact JT Leonard with local government news at 252-6040 or at shark79_1@juno.com.

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