POLAND — Town Manager Matthew Garside told the Select Board on Tuesday that he attended hearings on legislative bills about groundwater extraction and regulation, and expanding cable TV and internet coverage to areas that have a minimum of 15 homes per mile.

He said he attended “to speak against bills that are going to be detrimental to a big employer, a big taxpayer in town,” namely Poland Spring Water Co., which accounts for one-sixth of the town’s tax revenue.

LD 197 would place a two-year moratorium, beginning Nov. 1, 2019, “on new contracts or agreements by a consumer-owned water utility, municipality, state agency or other governmental entity involving the extraction of more than 75,000 gallons of groundwater during any week or more than 50,000 gallons of groundwater on any day.”

In addition, the bill directs the commissioner of Environmental Protection “to convene a working group to develop the statutory and regulatory framework for the establishment of the Maine Water Trust, which must be designed to ensure a safe and plentiful drinking water supply for all residents of the state by regulating the use of groundwater for commercial purposes under laws that establish the absolute control and dominion of the state over all groundwater supplies in the state.”

The bill is sponsored by Rep. Mike Sylvester, D-Portland.


The second hearing he attended was on LD 137, which would expand cable television service to areas with a minimum of 15 homes per mile.

The town is negotiating with Spectrum, which offers cable TV and internet service to areas with a minimum of 20 homes per mile.

In other business, the board will begin defining the licensing process for medical and adult-use medical facilities in May. Garside said he would like to see the town adopt a lottery system allowing a certain number of retail outlets to operate.

The town has two zones for retail sales operations, and Garside said he would have a limit of five in each zone. For instance, Garside said, each zone could have three medical stores and two adult-use stores. Poland residents would have first dibs in the lottery system.

The Select Board will hold a public hearing May 7 on fees to establish marijuana facilities.

Voters approved standards for medical and adult-use marijuana at the April 6 town meeting.

Selectpersons Mary Beth Taylor and Suzette Moulton were elected board chairwoman and vice chairwoman, respectively.

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