Voters defeat citizens’ petition in Dixfield

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DIXFIELD — Residents at the annual town meeting Thursday night voted 30-25 against an article to discuss ways of implementing regulations for industrial wind power projects in town.

Patriot Renewables LLC of Boston, Mass., has proposed building a $60 million wind farm of eight to 20 turbines on the Colonel Holman ridgeline.

The town has no ordinance on wind power development.

The first vote on the controversial article had a slight majority voting against it, but when some questioned the accuracy of the count, a motion was made for a second vote by a show of hands. It was 30-25 against.

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Also at the meeting, voters rejected a number of spending increases proposed by selectmen and the Finance Committee, including $290,947 selectmen wanted for the executive department. The amount included a 5 percent raise for nonunion employees.

Voters approved spending $275,000.

A core group repeatedly called for deeper cuts in spending despite appeals from selectmen and Town Manager Eugene Skibitsky that doing so could have significant consequences.

The selectmen’s recommendation 0f $209,705 for reserve funds was amended to $168,000.

During discussion on social services agencies’ requests, some representatives asked for more money.

Jim Bouchard, a representative of Androscoggin Home Health, which provides home hospice care and other services, received several public endorsements for the valued work his organization has provided to town residents. One man urged people to make voluntary contributions to organizations they deemed worthy.

Voters approved raising $4,601 — the amount recommended by selectmen — for 14 social service agencies. The total requested by those agencies was $19,438.

 dfayen@sunjournal.com

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