MECHANIC FALLS — The Town Council on Monday unanimously approved moving the public hearing on the 2020-21 municipal budget to June 1.

Members hope by then it could be held in an open meeting instead of via Zoom.

June 1 is the first potential day gatherings of up to 50 people could be allowed under Gov. Janet Mills phased reopening plan for the state during the COVID-19 pandemic.

At its last meeting, the council moved the date of the hearing ahead from May 4 to May 19, but the governor’s plan for reopening Maine was not released until after the council’s April meeting.

The June 1 meeting will include the budget public hearing, the approval of warrant articles, annual appointments and its regular monthly council meeting.

Town Manager Zakk Maher said the public hearing and meeting will likely be held in a gymnasium, which could hold up to 49 people while meeting social distancing guidelines. Maher said 30 people would be ideal in that space.

Any overflow could watch and participate via Zoom.

The municipal election is slated for July 14.

In other business, the council approved a liquor license for Dad’s Place.

Once again, councilors tabled a pair of resolutions that voiced the council’s support for Maher, with one resolution saying the attempt to oust him last year was “unjustified.” The incident divided the town for weeks before the two sides resolved their differences. Councilors hope to bring up the topic at a live open meeting and not via Zoom.

Town Clerk Julie Ward said Monday was the first day the clerk’s window was open since the coronavirus restrictions were instituted. She said there were no problems with about 20 people coming in. They were let in one at a time after ringing a bell next to the Town Office door. She said roughly 95% of the visitors were wearing a mask, which is not mandatory.

Maher announced the library will soon start curbside service to pick up books.


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