POLAND — Voters at Saturday’s annual town meeting approved a municipal budget that will add about $107,000 to what they will have to raise through their property taxes, but rejected several changes to the town’s land-use ordinance that they perceived as detrimental to the character of the town.

Several residents spoke out against changes to the sign ordinance which, they said, would create “monster signs” that would be double the square footage allowed by the current ordinance.

“Signs like that would be way out of character with our town,” Richard Haslip said.

Joe Cimino noted that the town had spent $6 million on infrastructure improvements to attract business and that business owners wanted signs to promote their businesses.

“Why would we need signs for the price of gas that are two feet high?” Arthur Dunlap said.

“How ugly do we want our town to look?” Barbara Stevens said.


The article failed with an overwhelming show of hands raised in opposition.

A companion article, which would have allowed signs to be illuminated internally or externally even after business hours, was similarly rejected.

Proposed changes which would allow limited development of back lots (lots lacking sufficient frontage on approved roads), which also included specifications requiring twelve-foot wide driveways serving them, generated considerable discussion and three votes before the matter was settled.

Fred Huntress led the opposition, characterizing the proposal as a sure way to “eat up the winderness.”

The first show of hands favored passage, 46-44. The low count prompted several to wonder whether one hundred voters (the number required to hold a legitimate town meeting) were present.

Moderator Ed Rabasco Jr., called for a second vote. This time, the back lot provision was defeated by show of hands, 65-58.


Objections were then raised, claiming Rabasco acted improperly in calling for the second vote, whereupon it was agreed to settle the matter with a paper ballot.

After the paper ballots were counted, the “no” votes had increased and the proposal failed, 72-46.

In other non-budgetary articles, voters authorized selectmen to sell four lots in Bakerton Heights subdivision, if deemed in the best interest of the town, and voted to accept Autumn Drive as a town way.

As approved, the municipal budget is about 2.6 percent higher than the current budget and allocates $568,033 for administration, $292,812 for community services, $772,570 for solid waste and Public Works and $926,505 for public safety.

In anticipation of meeting future capital-improvement needs, voters approved adding $892,021 to reserve accounts, earmarking $326,000 for fire rescue, $253,850 for town roads, $207,690 for Public Works, $64,300 for municipal facilities and smaller amounts for other accounts.

Selectmen estimated that the municipal budget, as approved by town meeting voters, will increase property taxes by about $16 on a house assessed at $125,000 — cautioning that the $16 does not include the effect of the amount needed to run the schools and without using an updated figure for the total valuation of all town properties.

A total of 142 voters signed in for the business portion of town meeting.

There were 100 ballots cast in municipal elections held on Friday. Stephen Robinson was elected to the Board of Selectmen with 71 votes; Joseph Parent and Edward Rabasco Jr. were elected to the RSU 16 school committee with 68 and 75 votes, respectively. Larry Hancock and Deborah Lamb were elected trustees of Ricker Library with 68 and 75 votes respectively and Timothy Paul Curran was elected to the Budget Committee with 83 votes. A number of residents received write-in votes for a second position on the Budget Committee, but exactly who will fill the position had not been determined by Saturday evening.

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