Mark Beauregard

A public hearing for two new Liquor Licenses was held prior to the start of the May 16, 2022 Rangeley Board of Selectmen’s meeting.  Classic Provisions located at 2455 Main Street in downtown Rangeley applied for an on premises beer and wine license and Porta House located on Route 17 in Oquossoc (formerly Parallel 45) applied for a beer, wine, spirits license.  The Selectmen approved both licenses under the Consent Item portion of the agenda.  The Porta House has a target date to open in the third week of June.
Three members were appointed to the newly created Veterans Memorial Committee.  Residents Monica Liedl, Colin Madrid and Al Clinch are the Committee’s first appointees.  Selectperson Shelly Lowell was reappointed to serve on the Rangeley Region Economic Opportunity Committee (RREOC) for a three year term.  Selectperson Ethna Thompson was nominated to serve on the Maine Municipal Association Policy Committee.
The Selectmen voted to authorize the Town Manager to apply to the Maine Department of Transportation (MDOT) for an Oquossoc Village Transportation Study Grant.  The goal of the study will be to develop a conceptual plan of the village area outlining potential improvements in traffic flow, pedestrian safety, connectivity, street lighting and on street parking.
The Maine Department of Environmental Protection (MDEP) has completed its 2022 Compliance Inspection of the Town’s wastewater treatment facility.  MDEP Environmental Specialist James Knight recommended in his report that the Town keep up the good work.
The Rangeley Water District (RWD) will be replacing some water lines on a section of Cross Street.  Options for finish paving after the line work is completed were discussed.  The Selectmen authorized the Town Manager to work with RWD to see if all of the existing pavement in the repair area can be removed and replaced with the installation of a new base and surface with the Town’s share not to exceed $25,000.00.
The 2021 Annual Town Report is available at the Town Office and is dedicated to Vernon Bean.  The report contains a copy of this year’s 2022 Town Warrant including important supplemental information and a sample ballot.  Town Meeting is June 14th and absentee ballots are available now.

The voters will be presented two questions pertaining to Rangeley Lakes Regional School (RSU 78) on the school referendum.  The first question asks the voters if they favor approving the RSU 78 budget for the upcoming school year that was adopted at the latest RSU 78 budget meeting.
The second question asks if the voters favor the existing validation referendum process that provides the opportunity for voters to approve the school budget by a vote at Town Meeting.  A YES vote will allow the process to continue for three more years.  A NO vote will mean that voters will no longer get to vote on the school budget at Town Meeting for the next three years.
There are four candidates running for the two available Selectmen seats.  Current Selectman Ethan Shaffer is running for re-election, former Selectman Donald Nuttall is running as is Jacob Beaulieu and Samantha White.  Planning is underway to have a Candidates Night on June 2, 2022 at Lakeside Theater.  This event would provide an opportunity for candidates to share their inspirations and goals for the Town of Rangeley with voters.
The final public hearing on this year’s Town Warrant was held on May 24th.  The hearing skipped discussion of the normal yearly housekeeping articles and started with Article B21.  Article B21 asks voters if they want to authorize the distribution of $50,000.00 of the Town of Rangeley’s $121,000.00 American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) money.  This money will be provided to full and part time Town employees who worked during the Covid 19 State of Emergency.  All Department employees are eligible including Public Works, Town Office staff and firemen.
Article B22 asks if the Town should join the Maine Public Employees Retirement System (MEPERS) as a Participating Local District.  If approved, Town employees can switch from the current 457B Retirement Plan with a 6% Town match to MEPERS which is a defined benefit pension plan with an approximate 10% Town match.  MEPERS could cost the Town an approximate additional amount of $53,000.00 the first year but could also address employee recruitment and retention issues.
Article B23 was the most controversial and highly discussed article at the meeting.  Article B23 was generated by a Citizens Petition asking for approval to purchase a new Pumper truck for the Fire Department.  The article states that the total cost is not to exceed $750,000.00.  At an earlier Budget Committee meeting the Selectmen declined to include this article on the warrant citing a lack of pertinent information.  A valid Citizens Petition is required to be placed before the public for a vote so it is included in this year’s Town Warrant.  One main point of contention is that the “total cost” of $750,000.00 is just the sticker price and does not include the more than $100,000.00 in finance charges.  One resident attending the meeting stated that if he voted to approve Article B23 for a total cost not to exceed $750,000.00 and later found out that there was another $100,000.00 in additional costs he would feel that he had been deceived.
Another point of contention is that the majority of the Selectmen believed they were working in the taxpayers best interests by delaying the large capital purchase for one year while they completed the process of gathering more information.  The Selectmen’s fiduciary responsibility to offer the most cost effective alternatives to the taxpayers has been bypassed by this Citizens Petition.
There was very little discussion on the remainder of the Warrant articles.
The proposed municipal budget for the Town of Rangeley is $4.72 million which represents a 2.28% increase.  The Town of Rangeley’s share of the proposed school budget is $3,624,295.00 representing a 1.44% increase.
The next Rangeley Board of Selectmen’s meeting is June 6, 2022 at 6:00pm. Have a safe and enjoyable Memorial Day weekend.

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

Comments are not available on this story.