POLAND — Selectmen on Tuesday gave consideration to whether a full-blown charter commission would be necessary to make the sort of changes they believe may be needed to update the town charter.

Following Town Manager Rosemary Roy’s presentation of a projected timetable required to get a charter commission up and running, resident Norm Beauparlant asked for an explanation of what revisions selectmen had in mind.

Selectmen said the town adopted the charter just before Poland joined Mechanic Falls and Minot in forming RSU 16 and that, as a result, anything in the charter pertaining to schools needs an update.

The second item, identified by Selectman Steve Robinson as the biggest item up for discussion, was whether to change the town meeting format.

In recent years, declining attendance at town meetings, a phenomenon that has caused several Maine towns to drop the traditional town meeting in favor of having town budgets approved at the ballot box, has caused many residents to question whether Poland should follow the trend.

Beauparlant warned that establishing a charter commission might not achieve the board’s goals.

“Once a charter commission is set up, it can address whatever it wants. There’s no guarantee what it will come up with,” he said.

Beauparlant pointed out that there was no need to have a charter commission just to redo the changes brought by joining an RSU and that the town charter, as now approved, includes a process for changing the town meeting format.

Robinson said the proposed schedule for voting on establishing a charter commission during the April 4 municipal election gives selectmen until Dec. 2 to decide whether to begin the process. He asked that residents come forward in the next couple of months with their suggestions for what ought to be addressed by a charter commission.

The board also discussed whether to go ahead with unveiling the final plans for the municipal complex design on Oct. 1 or whether to hold off until the town knows for certain whether FairPoint Communications will agree to lease part of its property to the town to expand the parking area.

At the heart of the debate was the question of how final a final plan, at this point, is in establishing a vision for what the municipal complex might some day look like.

Selectman Walter Gallagher said he didn’t want to present voters a plan of “what might be if.” He preferred to wait until the town knows whether FairPoint will agree to a lease.

In other business, selectmen accepted Mark Ferguson’s resignation from the Community and Economic Development Committee and appointed Joe Cimino to serve in his place.

Selectmen also directed Roy to rebid the project to seal cracks in the pavement of several town roads.

Roy reported that while several firms had been sent information on the project, she received only one bid and it exceeded the money the town has available.


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.

filed under: