POLAND — Town Manager Matthew Garside told the Board of Selectpersons on Tuesday night that changes to the town charter can be made without forming a charter commission.

“State law establishes different procedures for charter amendments and charter revisions,” Garside said.

An amendment to the charter would require a public hearing, followed by a referendum at a town meeting.

A revision would require asking the town to approve forming a commission, electing members to the commission and voting on the revisions the commission proposes. The earliest vote on a charter revision would be in June 2021.

At a previous board meeting, executive assistant Nikki Pratt said 857 voters would be needed to vote on a new charter. That number is based on 30% of the town’s turnout during the last gubernatorial election, in 2018.

State law, however, does not provide definitions or examples to differentiate between the two procedures.

Garside said revising a charter “implies a re-examination of the whole law,” suggesting fundamental change. An amendment would just be “a correction of detail.”

The town attorney and the Maine Municipal Association recommend selectpersons draft amendments to the charter and have the attorney review them to decide if they meet standards, Garside said.

The board decided to hold a workshop in September to review the charter and decide where changes need to be made. A date for that meeting has yet to be set.

In other matters:

  • A public hearing will be held at the next selectpersons meeting, Aug. 20, to review proposed changes in the town’s personnel policy on workweek hours, overtime, holiday and vacation day accumulation.
  • The board approved paying Planning Board members $25 for each meeting they attend. Payments would be based on the voting members listed at each meeting and payment would be made in quarterly disbursements.
  • The board delayed a decision on spending $138,132 to ReVision Energy. ReVision would install solar panels to provide solar energy for town buildings. Garside said it is a 65-page bid and he would like to have the town’s electrical inspector review it.

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