Mark Beauregard

The public hearing for Chapter 34, Short Term Rentals (STR) that was scheduled for March 15th has been moved to March 27th at 6:00pm.  The Board of Selectmen still plan to meet on March 15th to approve the final draft of the proposed STR Ordinance.  The Selectmen received a considerable amount of public feedback at their last STR workshop and wanted the Town’s attorney to incorporate changes into the final draft.  The final draft should be posted on the Town’s website shortly after the March 15th meeting.
The first public hearing on Rangeley’s Draft Annual Town Warrant has been moved to March 23, 2023 at 6:00pm.  This hearing presents an opportunity for the public to ask questions and suggest changes concerning Town expenditures before the town meeting.  There was no Budget Committee this year, so the Selectmen received less input and engaged in less discussion on expense items than typically occurred in the past.  This hearing will also include presentations by the areas non-profits where they will explain the reasons they will be seeking Town funds with a warrant article.
The public hearing on Chapter 38, Rangeley’s Zoning Ordinance remains scheduled for March 21st at 6:00pm.  This hearing will be hosted by the Board of Selectmen and Planning Board.  The updating of this ordinance has been several years in the making.  The Town intends to post a summary of the substantial changes to the ordinance on its website prior to the public hearing.  Many of the proposed changes pertain to land use restrictions which control what someone is able to do with their land and buildings.
Bob Carlton, the Franklin County Commissioner who represents our area, attended the March 6th meeting to discuss county and town issues with the Selectmen.  Bob informed the Selectmen that Rangeley can expect their county tax to continue increasing.  Reasons for the continued tax increases are higher labor costs, the Town of Jay’s reduced tax base resulting from mill closings, Rangeley’s growing valuation and that the county now has capital reserve accounts which need to be funded.  The County Commissioners are working on a Capital Improvement Plan to get a better handle on budgeting for future expenses.  Rangeley currently pays $729,862.00 in county tax, the second highest paying town in Franklin County, lower only than Carrabassett Valley.  Bob said that the county has used some of its American Rescue Plan money to purchase five new Sheriff Department cruisers and provide approximately half of the funds for a newly updated communications system.  He welcomes all contacts from his constituents and will do his best to answer their questions.
The Selectmen reviewed two quotes obtained by the Police Chief from Quirk Auto for a new police cruiser.  One was a 2022 model for $35,248.00 and the other was for a 2023 model at $44,022.00.  Both would require $16,000.00 worth of additional police equipment.  The Police Reserve Account balance is $51,783.00.  The Board voted to purchase the 2022 model if it was still available and to pay for it in full out of the reserve account.  If only the 2023 model was available, they voted to purchase that vehicle with a lease/purchase agreement.
The Town foreclosed on four properties.  The owners of Site #31 at Oquossoc Campground came in and paid their bills after the foreclosure so the Selectmen voted to approve a Quitclaim Deed giving the property back to them.  A structure at 60 Hatchery Brook Road was given to Union Water Power Company by the owners.  Union Water razed the building and constructed a road through the former building site.  Since there was no longer a structure to foreclose on the Board voted to “write off” the principal amount of $207.60 as was recommended by the Finance Director.  The Board then voted to have the Finance Director mail a Notice of Intent to Sell letter to the previous owners of 2301 Main Street and Site #29 at Oquossoc Campground.
The Selectmen voted to accept the only bid that they received for Town Park swim dock improvements at their September 19, 2022 meeting.  The bid for replacing the top four layers as well as the skirting and decking was awarded to BMC Diving, Inc. at a price of $101,506.78.  At a December 2022 Selectmen’s meeting the Board voted to pay the BMC Diving, Inc. request of approximately $59,000.00 for the purchase of materials that the company would use on the dock project in January 2023.  The Selectmen received a letter in late February from BMC Diving, Inc. informing them that the company would not be able to do the dock work this year.  The Selectmen expressed disappointment that the public will be unable to use the swim dock for another summer season.  The Selectmen will discuss this matter further at an upcoming meeting after they receive answers to questions they have asked.
A cost breakdown on the Fire Department’s Property and Casualty Insurance was provided to the Selectmen.  During the budget process, Selectmen Shelly Lowell asked if this insurance cost was factored into the Town’s cost sharing formula that is used to bill the Plantations and Unorganized Territories for fire coverage.  The answer was no, the $6,750.22 cost has not been included.  This subject will be discussed at the March 23rd public hearing.
The next Rangeley Board of Selectmen’s meeting will be Monday, March 20, 2023 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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