TURNER — “We are going to celebrate Christmas!” Selectman Ralph Caldwell said after fellow selectmen unanimously supported his motion to use the term “Christmas” when describing celebrations in Turner.
Caldwell said he wanted to use that term, rather than the politically correct “holiday” when describing the colored lights, the tree lighting and other events marking the season.
The motion was in response to the “Holiday Tree Lighting” item on the agenda for Monday night’s regular selectmen’s meeting. The traditional Christmas tree lighting ceremony and light refreshments will be Dec. 5.
The discussion of holiday celebrations brought up the subject of fireworks. Turner has an impressive fireworks display in conjunction with its Fourth of July celebration.
Caldwell pointed out that many surrounding towns are outlawing or restricting the sale of fireworks. He suggested the town encourage a vendor to open a store in Turner and that fees generated be designated for the annual town fireworks show.
“We need to invite businesses to Turner where we are business-friendly,” Selectman Kurt Youland said.
Selectmen agreed they would favor a locally-owned business.
Fire Chief Mark Arsenault and representatives of the Rescue Department recommended that selectmen authorize them to purchase a $2,500 aluminum tandem wheel trailer for transporting the recently acquired ATV.
The selected trailer will also carry the rescue toboggan, which can be towed through the woods by the ATV. The rig is used by the Fire Department to transport personnel and equipment to wilderness fires and by the Rescue Department to transport patients in rugged terrain.
Selectmen approved the purchase.
Selectman Dennis Richardson reported on meeting with representatives from Leeds and Greene to discuss ways the communities could save money by joint actions or sharing resources.
Youland pointed out that managing some cooperative activities, such as sharing a transfer station or Highway Department, would require careful planning while some others would be easy. The town code enforcement officer already serves several towns with no conflict.
Richardson said the three towns currently spend more than $100,000 per year on contract assessors, even though the total workload only requires about one third of a year’s effort. He suggested that the towns consider jointly hiring a part-time assessor.
State Rep. Jeff Timberlake, R-Turner, discussed the future of the E-911 system. He said none of the proposals from the L-A call center would save Turner money.
Timberlake, who owns rental property in Turner, asked selectmen to clarify the transfer station policy on taking waste from commercial establishments. The policy states that no commercial construction or demolition waste will be taken. The transfer station staff has interpreted that to mean that no waste will be taken from Turner businesses.
Timberlake said he has numerous dumpsters at his businesses, but his waste hauler will not take some items that the town will take from residents. His specific complaint was that the town would not accept furniture left by former tenants if he delivered it to the transfer station, but it would have taken it from the former resident.