SUMNER — In one of the longest and best attended annual town meetings in recent history, nearly 150 voters Monday rejected two articles, one to explore wind power and the other to develop a road plan.

Road Committee member George Jones gave a PowerPoint presentation on the need for a plan for town roads. He said the town needs to find out what has to be done, when it should be done, what it would cost and how to pay for it.

Jones said if Sumner had a plan ready to go when stimulus money was available, the town might have qualified for federal help.

“Each year the cost for road work is rising and roads are vital to the community,” Jones said. The committee was looking for $60,000 to start the process of finding out what was underneath the roads before taking on any repairs and rating the roads so there would be a plan for prioritizing.

Jones said they would need an engineer to help in this process.

Town voters could have approved $39,300 for gathering the road information and still been under the LD1 state spending limit. An amendment was offered to fund zero dollars but that vote resulted in a tie. The original article for the $39,300 was also a tie vote, which killed the article.

The issue of asking voters to spend $11,000 for clearing up to four acres of town land on Mollyockett Mountain for placing a meteorological tower to determine if there is enough wind for three turbines failed by a vote of 64-63.

This was the second time voters had rejected the plan by a narrow margin. At a special town meeting in April, the article was defeated by four votes.

At a hearing Monday before the annual town meeting, Selectman Mark Silber
discussed how property taxes could be reduced by using the only
resource Sumner has: Wind. He pointed out that the town is financially

Depending on available wind power, the town could expect between $9,000
to $15,000 a year in rent and up to $150,000 in taxes, which would
equate to about $3 per thousand dollars of property value, he said. 

Silber added that Unity College has a meteorological tower it is
willing to have their students erect one on town land on Mollyockett Mountain off Redding
Road. The tower would monitor the wind for a
year to help determine if there is enough to merit putting up
three turbines.

Dr. Ingrid Eriksson spoke in opposition to the proposal, saying a recent Maine law would place 2,800 wind turbines on
200 miles of mountain ridges by the year 2020. She said the wind turbines would not decrease global warming, are inefficient because wind is unpredictable and
electricity cannot be stored. Money to pay for these turbines would have come from tax dollars.

Eriksson said that as a physician she is concerned that the sound
from the turbines would affect people’s health and no one knows how it
will affect wildlife.

David Bragg said he was close to the proposed site for the towers
and he had no problem with them. “We need help with our taxes,” he

Voters also rejected an article to exceed the spending cap under state law LD1, if the articles passed were to exceed the limit allowed.

Voters wanted to know exactly what their money was going to be used for and questioned almost every article.

Selectman Glen Hinckley was re-elected to a three-year term over Sally Phillips. Jim Keach was re-elected road commissioner for a one-year term over Paul Niemi. 

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