POLAND — Selectmen voted 3-2 Tuesday to recommend a “no” vote on the Androscoggin County Charter amendment on the Nov. 3 ballot.

The board gave its support to the effort, spearheaded by Lewiston City Administrator Ed Barrett, to reject the county commissioners’ attempt to amend the charter.

Selectman Stan Tetenman said a “yes” vote would give the commissioners final authority over the county budget — and specifically the power to set their own pay and benefits.

Thirteen of county’s 14 towns have filed suit against the commissioners, charging that they have usurped the county Budget Committee’s ability to establish, with a supermajority vote, what the commissioners’ pay and benefits ought to be.

Selectmen said the referendum question appears to take direct aim at that suit.

“It’s a major change in the charter,” Tetenman said. “I don’t think we (in Poland) could make such a change without having to open up a whole new charter commission.”

“I don’t think that they, as elected officials, are doing what we voted for them to do,” Selectman Steve Robinson said.

The vote to not support the amendment was 3-2, with Selectman James Walker, Jr., Robinson and Tetenman in favor, and Walter Gallagher and Janice Kimball opposed.

In other business, selectmen approved posting a notice to sell six tax-acquired properties. Minimum bids have been set to collect back taxes, fees, expenses and interest.

The list of properties, their locations, sizes and minimum bids will be available at the Town Office on Monday, Oct. 26. All bids must be submitted by 3 p.m. Friday, Dec. 4, at the Town Office.

Selectmen also gave Code Enforcement Officer Nick Adams permission to proceed with demolishing a building at 555 Johnson Hill Road. The building sits on seven acres and has been declared dangerous. Adams has spent the past few months trying to locate all parties with an interest in the property.

Selectmen agreed to hold a public hearing on the demolition Feb. 2, allowing more than enough time for proper notification.

Selectmen also reviewed two articles dealing with proceeds from timber harvesting. The articles are being proposed for the April 2016 annual town meeting warrant.

The first article amends one passed in April 2015. It would eliminate provisions that conflict with an article approved at a special town meeting on Oct. 29, 1997.

The 1997 article called for proceeds to be put into a capital reserve account. However, since then the town has earned over $133,000 and placed the money in the general fund.

The second article would transfer some of the $133,664 to the reserve account as intended in 1997, and would allow selectmen to spend the money on capital improvements to buildings and property.


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