RSU 16 seeks towns to plow school grounds

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POLAND — RSU 16 Superintendent Dennis Duquette asked selectmen Tuesday if the town would assume responsibility for plowing school facilities.

Duquette suggested an exchange. The town would plow the School Department’s three lots in exchange for the free use by the town — primarily the Recreation Department — of school facilities.

Duquette noted that prior to the formation of the regional school unit, town crews in Mechanic Falls, Minot and Poland took care of school facilities in their towns. But that when the towns ceased to own the schools, the practice stopped.

“We bought a used dump truck. It needs replacing and that’s an expense we don’t want,” Duquette said.

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School Committee Chairman Mary Ella Jones said it was a matter of efficiency.

“The town has the equipment. We don’t want to have to purchase a plow,” Jones said.

Selectman Steve Robinson agreed that schools really shouldn’t have be in the business of snow removal.

“The town would do it more efficiently and it is paid for by the same people,” Jones said.

Duquette acknowledged that he was taking this action because the school budget “is stressed” and noted he was mindful that the town’s budget was stressed as well.

“We’re flexible. We’ll negotiate,” he said.

Town Manager Rosemary Kulow said she had spoken to Public Works people and while the details hadn’t all been added up, it appeared that such a move would probably require hiring a part-time person.

Selectmen agreed to hold a workshop Tuesday, Feb. 28, to further explore the matter.

Duquette noted that he will be approaching town officials in Mechanic Falls and Minot to see what sort of a deal he can strike with them.

In other business, selectmen met with Mike Gotto, representing Wildwood Estates developer Brian Merrill, to discuss the Planning Board’s decision to waive a requirement that Merrill purchase a performance bond for the road serving the 13-lot subdivision. Instead, the board wants a conditional agreement that would allow Merrill to build on four lots before completing the road.

Selectmen agreed that the Planning Board’s action was in conformance with the ordinance and was warranted.

The Planning Board had asked for selectmen’s advice.

Selectmen also met with Fire Chief Mike Bosse to discuss developing a fireworks ordinance.

Bosse noted that three companies interested in selling fireworks have approached the town to determine what the town’s position might be.

Selectmen asked Bosse to gather ordinances from other towns where fireworks are expected to be sold so they can review them.

Selectmen, noting their discomfort with what transpired at last week’s workshop on health insurance coverage for town employees, agreed to hold a second workshop on the subject. They also asked Kulow to look into finding an impartial third party consultant who might help them understand the fine print of competing proposals.

Board Chairman Erland Torrey noted that the board is now taking nominations for this year’s Bal Nash Community Service Award, forms for which are available at the Town Office.

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