The 2022/2023 Town Warrant Public Hearing that was held on April 11, 2022 started with donation requests from the area non-profits.  The total donation amount requested by the twenty-two non-profits is $224,711.00.  The three largest requests were from the Chamber of Commerce at $50,000.00 (also asking Plantations for a total of $7,500.00), the Rangeley Public Library at $44,581.00 (also asking Plantations for a total of $29,683.00) and the Rangeley Lakes Snowmobile Club at $50,000.00 (also asking Plantations for $10,000.00).
After hearing from the non-profits the Selectmen initiated the review of the Draft Town Meeting Warrant.  They covered every department, pointing out the increases and decreases and what caused them.  The compensation and fringe benefit lines increased in all departments resulting from a 3% cost of living increase to wages.  The Highway Department budget saw the largest monetary increase because the debt principal and interest resulting from the road loan are now included as line items in this budget.  This years Highway budget increased 39.31% to an annual budget total of $1,007,811.00.
The Town Office building saw the largest percentage increase (47.26%) with a dollar amount increase of $24,541.00.  This increase results from the allocation of $15,000.00 to finish the upgrades to the Town Office entrance and the combining of all Departments’ computer costs to a single Town Office computer account.
The only in-person attendees at this Town Warrant Public Hearing were Town firemen and ambulance personnel.  Fire Chief Michael Bacon and Fireman Dennis Marquis asked the Selectmen to include a warrant article asking the voters to approve the purchase of a new $750,000.00 fire truck to replace existing truck #3.  The Selectmen had voted to not include this warrant article at their final Budget Committee meeting on March 17, 2022.  The majority of the Selectmen wanted more information and discussion on this matter.  They wanted to know how much had been spent on repairs to the existing truck, what the cost estimate was for needed repairs, how much use the truck gets annually, what options were available for a used truck, etc.  The Selectmen had previously asked Chief Bacon to meet with the Plantations that cost share the Fire Department budget through contract service fees but that had not happened yet.  The Selectmen did not vote to add the new fire truck article to the Town Warrant.
There were no other questions on other aspects of the Draft Warrant and the Selectmen voted to adjourn.
At their April 19th meeting the Selectmen voted to renew the Liquor License for Mingo Springs Golf Course and issue a Vendors License to High Tide-Low Tide Seafood.  Wayne Dubay sells fresh seafood from his truck which he locates at Alice Smith’s 2632 Main Street property.
The Selectmen received a Citizens Petition to place a warrant article before the voters for the purchase of a new $750,000.00 fire truck.  This is the same warrant article that the Selectmen had voted to not add to this year’s Town Warrant.
A valid Citizens Petition is required to be presented to the public for a vote at the next scheduled Town Meeting or at a Special Town Meeting called for the purpose of a vote.  Since the Rangeley Annual Town Meeting is scheduled for June 14, 2022 the Selectmen voted to include the Citizens Petition warrant article on this year’s Annual Town Warrant.
The Town Manager has been in contact with State geese experts to identify options for dealing with nuisance geese populations.  The Selectmen prioritized the four options based on practical applications and effectiveness.  The Town Manager suggested providing a public comment period via the Town’s web page prior to taking any action and the Selectmen agreed.
The Town received only one bid proposal for its paving projects this year.  Pike Industries submitted a bid in the amount of $298,212.83.  The paving projects include a finish coat to 10,360 feet of Bald Mountain Road, repaving 2,300 feet of Bonney Point Road, an apron where Hyatt Road meets the Mingo Loop Road and the repaving of the sidewalk on Main Street between Allen Street and Rangeley Auto.  The Selectmen voted to accept the bid.
The Selectmen were provided information on the Town’s DEP relicensing of septic tank sludge disposal at Chick Hill.  The Town is intending to file the application on May 13 and will hold a public hearing during the regularly scheduled Sewer Commission meeting on May 10 at 5:00pm at the Rangeley Town Office.  Call 864-2294 for details.
The next Selectmen’s meeting is scheduled for May 2nd at 6:00pm.

“A democracy is healthiest when the public is informed about the activities of leaders of industry and occupants of public office.” -Melvin Melcher

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