POLAND — Regional School Unit 16 officials met with selectmen Tuesday to try to determine what the district should pay the town for using the third bay of the Public Works garage.

School Superintendent Tina Meserve told selectmen she believed the town is charging the school district more than it should.

“I believe the third bay belongs to the RSU,” Meserve said. “In October, Staci Field found that the RSU was paying for the bond and paying rent on the bay, and doing this since 2010.”

Meserve said that in 2005, well before she was superintendent and before RSU 16 existed, Poland took out a $2 million bond to build the central administration office for then School Union 29 and the Public Works garage. The third bay was for Union 29’s buses.

The school district was responsible for paying about 21 percent of the bond costs.

In addition to the change from the school union to regional school unit, personnel changes in the town and the school district caused important historical knowledge to be lost.

The result was that by the time Meserve came to the district, RSU 16 was paying $800 per month rent for the third bay and making payments for its share of the garage.

Field, who was hired as RSU 16 business manager in September, discovered the situation because she worked for School Union 29 when the bond was taken out and figured the school district had probably been overcharged to some extent since about 2010.

“There’s no fault in the situation,” Meserve said. “It’s all a matter of turnover and misunderstanding.”

Selectmen agreed that Meserve and Town Manager Bradley Plante would have to sort it out.

Selectmen also met with members of the town Conservation Commission to discuss how to fund projects.

At the April 2015 annual town meeting, voters approved setting aside money from several sources, including the sale of timber cut from town land for conservation projects that ranged from land acquisition to property management.

It was discovered that a special town meeting in 1997 and the 2009 annual town meeting had approved a similar article dedicating timber harvest revenue for land conservation-related projects.

Selectmen determined that contradictions must be resolved. It was generally agreed that one solution would be for the April 2016 town meeting to repeal action taken in 1997 and modify actions in subsequent town meetings.

How to accomplish this remained a question. Selectmen Walter Gallagher and Janice Kimball leaned heavily toward doing away with dedicated sources of funding for items such as land conservation. They preferred to have all groups make their cases annually during the budget process.

The matter remained unresolved.

Draft articles for the annual town meeting are due by early February, after which time selectmen will determine what to include on the warrant.


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