PERU — The Board of Selectmen on Monday approved an article for the Nov. 4 ballot that, if passed, would put the town in charge of the old elementary school again.

The Friends of the Peru Elementary School requested the article, which also asks for $10,000 to help maintain the town building.

Three years ago, the town voted to rent the former school to The Friends of the Peru Elementary School for a minimal fee and to spend no more money on it.

The Friends of the Peru Elementary School manages it and pays for its maintenance through fundraisers, grants, fees from occasional events held there and rent from a food pantry and a senior citizens group.

If the article passes, the group would no longer be renters but would still manage the building and try to raise money to maintain it. The group and the town have insurance on it, with the group paying the premiums on both.

If the article passes, one of the policies could be dropped, saving over $1,000 per year. The change in status would also give the town oversight of the group’s budget.


Selectman Jim Pulsifer stressed that in reality, the building was the Peru Community Center. He favored passing the proposal and changing the building’s name.

He praised the Friends group for the tenants they have and the community use of the building. He said the change in name and status would further promote its use.

Chairman Lee Merrill said that in an emergency, the former school was the only building under town control that could be used as a public shelter.

Resident Andy Freeman reminded selectmen residents voted to not spend any more money on the old building.

Merrill assured him the town has not spent money on the building in the past three years and would not change that without voter approval.

In other business Monday, selectmen’s secretary Angela Barkhouse announced that the latest test of the Worthley Pond spring was good. She said the spring will be closed for 24 hours next week for a regular chlorine treatment.


Officials advised that Animal Control Officer Sue Milligan will be out of town for several days and residents can contact the Town Office to reach her backup.

Camp owners Raymond and Bonnie Doucette wrote a letter to selectmen outlining a problem with Karl Covert and Nina Turcato, who own the adjacent property.

According to the Doucettes, there had never been a water problem on their property until the neighbors moved and raised their camp and installed a road culvert. These changes diverted their water across the Doucettes’ land and that of their other neighbor, George Scott.

The Doucettes said they discussed the problem with Mike Boyd, Peru’s former code enforcement officer, who said he had not given the neighbors approval to divert the water.

Selectman Larry Snowman said Code Enforcement Officer Jack Plumley looked at the situation and suggested selectmen write a letter to Covert and Turcato, requiring them to fix the problem. The letter will be reviewed by Plumley before it is sent.

At a special meeting Thursday evening, selectmen approved the purchase of a Ford F-550 truck from Ripley and Fletcher of South Paris for $46,825.30 and a Viking Cives plow package to go on it for $49,395.

Morrison & Sylvester of Auburn offered a one-ton International Terrastar for $64,247,38; Howard P. Fairfield Inc. of Skowhegan offered to equip the International truck with a plow and 10-foot body for $55,050, and the Ford with a plow and 8-foot body for $53,871.

During the past week, road foreman Joe Roach compared the proposals before selectmen made their decision.

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