Litchfield to host special town meeting Saturday


LITCHFIELD — Residents will decide whether to match a fire department grant and whether to split up, on paper, Litchfield Academy and Libby-Tozier elementary school at a special town meeting Saturday.

Town Manager Mike Byron said the former school and the current school are physically connected, but when it comes time for the town to deed over Libby-Tozier to the new Regional School Unit, it doesn’t want to turn over Litchfield Academy with it.

The warrant article asks residents to create a new nonconforming lot for the academy, nonconforming because there would be no setback.

The structures themselves wouldn’t change, he said. Litchfield Academy is currently used for senior center activities.

Also on the warrant:

• Whether to spend up to $7,000 from the Undesignated Fund Balance as the local contribution toward a $125,000 Homeland Security Grant. The Fire Department has already secured the grant and wants to buy a light brush attack truck for fighting fires in the woods, Byron said, places “you can’t take in a fire engine and lay out a lot of hose.”

• Whether to create a Litchfield Board of Assessment Review. Currently, Byron said, when a resident asks for a reduction in taxes, or an abatement, and has it denied, their recourse is to appeal the decision to the Kennebec County commissioners.

If passed, appeals would go to the new review board instead, “a local board of local people who know the local market and local circumstances,” Byron said.

Byron estimated four decisions have been appealed in the last two years. Neighboring Gardiner has a similar board.

• Whether to limit the bidding on two town-acquired parcels of beach property along Cobbosseecontee Lake in the Peace Pipe Shores subdivision to people who own land in that subdivision.

Typically, by ordinance, sealed bids are open to anyone.

“Somebody from away could end up owning the beaches,” Byron said. “We don’t want to be landlords, we want to turn them back to people who use them all the time.”

People within the subdivision have deeded rights to the beaches, he said; whomever buys the property would have to keep it open.

Selectmen have recommended passage of each warrant article. The meeting Saturday will take place at 9 a.m. in the town office.

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