GREENWOOD — Town Manager Kim Sparks gave an update on the Howe Hill Road culvert replacement at a July 23 select board meeting.

Sparks heard from Highway Foreman Alan Seames who said there had been issues with the engineering. The current issue is that the new design has guard rails and the placement of the guard rails would shorten up the width of the road. The previous section of road had no guard rails.

“The plow truck with the wing is 13 feet wide and the guard rail putting it where they were going to put it shortened it up too much basically making it a one lane road with the plow truck,” Sparks said. ”

Sparks said the design will be changed so that the placement of the guard rails is directly above the culvert.

A quarter mile section of Howe Hill Road is currently closed due to the construction. The road closure is right after the turn onto Oak Road, which is an alternate route for people to get to Mt. Abram village.

As of now, Sparks said that she is unsure of when the road will be opened again, but also said that it will have to be reopened by September 1.

Other business

The “comments from the public section,” of the selectmen’s meeting agenda was discussed. Kim Sparks said she contacted the Maine Municipal Association (MMA) who said that “the public has no right under Maine law to be allowed to speak at a selectmen’s meeting. The board can decide to have one or two public comment sections on the agenda or none at all. The board could opt to only have a second section when during times when discussions are needed.

Sparks was also told to ask the board “what is to gain” by having two comments or what is there to lose by not having any or one.

“I think the benefit is to allow the perception of additional transparency,” selectman Norman Milliard said.

Milliard argued that having an additional comments section to ask questions afterwards will give people an “additional opportunity to give an idea.”

“If MMA is saying that is up to the board, I would say we should try it,” Milliard said.

“My concern is that people might start second guessing us,” selectman Arnold Jordan.

“Having the ability for people to throw a question, idea or comment out, is the point,” Milliard said. “Whether you address it or not, that would the boards decision to make.”

Milliard recommended having two “comment sections” for sixth months, as a “trial run.”

“Let’s do it for sixth months and see what happens,” Milliard said. “If we come to the conclusion that this has not produced any kind of positive response, then we can just eliminate it.”

“I think some people don’t know how to contact the selectmen and if it’s clear that they have the opportunity both at the beginning and end of the meeting they at least know that we are here,”

Selectmen agreed to do a trial run of having two “comments sections” for six months.

Selectmen will next meet on Tuesday Aug. 6 at 5 p.m. at the Greenwood Town Office.

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