KINGFIELD — Delinquent taxpayers have become a bigger burden on the municipality.

The total of unpaid taxes from the 2013-14 fiscal year is $450,000, Selectman John Dill told the board at its Monday night meeting. He and Administrative Assistant Leanna Targett said that although tax bills are sent out twice a year, the option might need to be changed back to a single-bill mailing.

The goal, Dill said, had been to give taxpayers a chance to divide the annual burden. Those who pay within 30 days have been given a 2 percent discount on each billing cycle. Selectmen agreed to study their options before making any changes.

Selectmen also reviewed a request that could have long-ranging effects on the town. ATV club members have asked to use a section of town-owned land for ATV access near the Carrabassett River.

Proposed as a way to connect trails in east and west part of the state, ATV club members are seeking land use permission that will also include walking, jogging, snowshoeing and other recreational opportunities. No motorcycles, dirt bikes or motocross bikes will be allowed on the trail.

Opponents at recent meetings have said they don’t object to the concept, but that those that break the rules must be caught and prosecuted.

David Guernsey, one of the residents in the Stanley Avenue and Maple Street areas, has attended each of the meetings and has continued to express his concerns.

The town is responsible for the property but has little recourse to enforce laws that apply to snowmobiles and ATVs, he said. Snowmobilers have also used a trail in that vicinity. Property owners had given permission, they thought, for use several years ago through the neighborhood, but only as a temporary route.

“We frankly got snookered by the snowmobilers,” Guernsey said. “We were told they were shut off from another trail access, and we were told it would just be for the balance of the year.”

Guernsey said he tried to post the residential section of that trail, and he was “roundly chastised” by people who wanted to use the trail.

Residents don’t want confrontations, and they don’t expect to monitor and report abuses if the town has no enforcement authority, he explained.

He noted the ATV and snowmobile traffic has increased and will continue to increase. He said he welcomes the economic development, but with caution.

“There’s lax enforcement at this time,” he said. “There are a lot of issues here, and I don’t think this should be thrust on residential neighborhoods.”

Tom McCafferty, another neighborhood resident, said he was out walking with his 7-year-old son, who was riding a bike. An ATV and motocross bike traveled past them up River Street at a high speed. He acknowledged that selectmen weren’t law enforcement officials, and that the violators were a minority, but safety was an concern.

“Unfortunately, a few ruin it for all,” he said. “I’m very worried about safety, especially for kids.”

Residents need to be more comfortable reporting regulation violations and not worry about repercussions, Selectman Ray Meldrum said.

“It’s every person’s responsibility to report it,” he said about the residents’ encounter.

Recently retired from the Franklin County Sheriff’s Department, Meldrum said he understands that no one wants to confront lawbreakers, but if they don’t, the problem will continue.

Selectman Merv Wilson added that some residents have asked him to call the Sheriff’s Department on their behalf to report violations, because they weren’t comfortable making the report.

In other news, selectmen reviewed the coming winter’s changes in the plowing routes.

The Public Works Department has plowed the parking area for businesses and rental units on Mill Street, located between Main Street and the Carrabassett River. The town owns the sections at each end that allows egress onto Main and Bridge streets.

Moody said she has learned that the municipality has no right to use town funds to plow private property.

Selectmen had offered those property owners a lease option — as they had for the owners of Grand Central Station property — exchanging plowing for parking access. Several Mill Street owners declined the option and will secure private plowing services.

Chris McKay, the Poland Spring bottling plant’s new manager, told selectmen that he was happy to be in Kingfield. He was raised in Hollis, he said, and he began working in 1999 at the company’s Hollis plant. The Kingfield plant has continued to grow steadily, he noted, and may be able to increase its production output enough to add more jobs in the area.


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