Public comment at issue for Livermore Falls selectmen

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LIVERMORE FALLS — Selectman Tom Barker said at Tuesday’s selectmen meeting he felt the board was putting up a wall between itself and the public by not designating a time at the meetings for items that might not be on the agenda.

“My opinion is we do invite public discussion for items on the agenda,” Chairwoman Heather Bronish said. “If they have an issue, my opinion is it should go to the town manager or department heads before it gets kicked up to us.”

Resident Melissa Crocker said there would be many more people attending meetings if they felt they could speak freely.

“Time after time, I’ve asked people to come to the meetings and they say, ‘What’s the point?’” she said.

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“I don’t like being blindsided by things that I’m going to have to answer to or discuss without having prior information on so I can at least speak intelligently,” interim Town Manager Stephen Gould said.

Resident Ken Smith asked if he could get a petition in support of public comment at meetings so it could be put on the June town meeting ballot.

Gould said he would find out if the petition was legal.

“I’ll see what I can find out and hopefully by the next selectmen meeting, I can have some answers for you,” he said.

The Livermore Falls Recreation Field on the Foundry Road needs repairs, Selectman Nixon Ortiz said. He noted the baseball fields are in poor condition and grass is growing in the tennis courts.

“We have a fund for the park,” he said. “Why don’t we fix the playground, get a nice, big playground, and fix the tennis courts?”

Bronish suggested that Ortiz put together a budget for repairs.

Selectmen discussed whether some of the benches along the Foundry Road walking path should be removed and use parts of them to repair others.

Ortiz said he was concerned about senior citizens not having enough places to rest in between their walks on the path.

“How much money are we talking about?” Crocker asked. “What’s the big deal? Just fix them.”

Selectmen agreed to get an estimate for the benches before their next meeting.

In other business, the board:

• Agreed to let Maine’s Paper & Heritage Museum in Livermore Falls place a bottle deposit box at the transfer station for donations to the museum and Tri-Town Ministerial Food Cupboard;

• Set the tax rate at $21.60 for 2017-18; and

• Set their next meeting for 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 19.

bmatulaitis@sunmediagroup.net

Livermore Falls town office

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