Strong board looking to make town more attractive

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STRONG — Selectmen will ask the Planning Board to review municipal ordinances and options to make the town a more welcoming place.

Selectman Rod Spiller said Tuesday night he had given a lot of thought to how the town could be improved.

“I just think some things need to be cleaned up in certain areas of town,” Spiller said.

He suggested visitors might see the town as unappealing and possibly a deterrent to potential new residents and businesses. State laws prohibit a property owner from having more than three unregistered vehicles without a junkyard permit.

One of the hot issues, noted board Chairman Dick Worthley, has been the moratorium on retail marijuana establishments. Other towns have developed moratoriums or have voted against any marijuana-based retail business in town. Strong has not acted on the issue.

“Our Planning Board chose not to do anything,” he said.

He said Strong would be open to businesses looking for a place that didn’t have any rules and regulations. He agreed to contact Planning Board Chairman Jeff Murphy to schedule a meeting with selectmen to discuss their concerns. Any ordinances would have to have public hearings and be voted on at the March town meeting.

Selectman Mike Pond said the four towns in the school district have weighted votes based on their population and their town valuation. When any town loses a board member or has no candidate to fill a vacant seat, the municipality loses a percentage of voting power.

Strong has one board member unable to attend meetings for health reasons and another board member who resigned soon after she was elected. A former board member has agreed to fill in temporarily, but finding four people willing and qualified to fill school board seats is an ongoing challenge.

Pond said he met with Regional School Unit 58 Superintendent Sue Pratt about the problem, and she agreed that there was a problem finding people willing to do the job. He also spoke with school board Chairwoman Kim Jordan, and she agreed that such a large board wasn’t working efficiently. Pond suggested selectmen draft a letter to Pratt requesting that the board reconsider the weighted voting system.

In other matters, selectmen listened to presentations from both Skowhegan Savings Bank and TD Bank. This second round of reviews was part of a plan to see what updates, options and cost savings might be available to the town.

 

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