Special Town MeetingShortfall Haunts New Municipal Complex
Thursday May 4th
In the last issue:
Sign Controversy Update
Editorial: Secrecy at Town Hall
Results of the Personal Property Tax Poll
Jump to April 27th edition with more information on the Special Town Meeting
Special Town Meeting to be Held
Thursday May 4th, 2000
Selectmen propose to spend more money on the New Town Hall, sell the
Rt. 25Fire Barn to SAD 6, and revisit Water Quality Testing and Cable TV issues from the Annual Town Meeting.
by Dick Jarrett
Apparently the selectmen of the Town of Limington were not satisfied with the outcome of our Annual Town Meeting just two short months ago and have decided to revisit the political process. A special town meeting is being scheduled for 7 PM on Thursday May 4th at the new municipal complex. Tentatively Kathy Maddocks, Herbert Ramsdell, and Barry Gammon have decided there will be five questions put to a show of hands. The exact wording of the warrant has not yet been worked out. The warrant will be posted on this site as soon as it is available. [Note: Warrant posted here 4/21/00.] The proposed articles are:
- Spending up to $9,000.00 on air conditioning for the new municipal complex.
- Selling the Route 25 Fire Barn to
SAD 6for use as a storage facility.
- Spending $600 on water quality testing of the Saco River (administered by the Saco River Corridor Commission).
- Relieving the Planning Board from the responsibility of spending this $600 out of their budget.
- Revisiting Article 57 to allow the cable franchise funds to be used towards a regional public access facility.
Getting approval for spending more taxpayers dollars on the air conditioning article will be the most difficult hurdle the selectmen will endure on May 4th. Controversial? Without a doubt. The wounds are still fresh in the town from a bitter battle over the abandonment of the historical landmark now all but vacant on the corner of Route 11 and 117. One of the biggest reasons stated by Kathy Maddocks, Herbert Ramsdell, and Barry Gammon for building the new facility was so that the townspeople would not be nickeled and dimed for the continuing improvements required at the Old Town Hall. And now here we are with the new multi-purpose complex just six months old and the taxpayers are already being asked to dig deep in their pockets (the general fund) and update it.
The water quality testing questions are a thinly veiled attempt to force another vote on the Annual Meeting Article 22 as amended that was previously approved by the voters. Although we will be told that the reason is to clear up any questions of legality, the real purpose is to prevent any funds at all from being used to test the water quality of the Saco. The purpose of the funds, which will be matched three to one by federal and state sources, is to help to guarantee a clean source of water for a future town water supply -- something everyone hopes that we will never need but that we would be foolish not to plan for. Unfortunately, the selectmen cannot see beyond their apparent hatred for the organization that is administering the tests and are working hard to kill this. See the article in the March 9th edition of the Limington Free Press for more information.
The funds for the Regional Access Cable Facility described in Article 57 of the Annual Town Meeting can be used for only one purpose. If the Limington voters authorize the cable franchise fees to be used for our share of this facility, we will able to use this cable TV studio. When this article was debated on the floor at the town meeting, the voters main concern was: Why should the taxpayers pay this fee when the majority of the town's homes didn't receive cable access? The Town never made the voters aware of the provisions in the new cable contract that 80% of the town's homes that are now not receiving cable access would be by the end of August of this year. Limington only pays 4% of the budget for this facility. This is a small fraction (around $3000) of the cost compared to the other towns that will use the facility and who pay up to $24,000 each. Please see the March 17th edition of the Limington Free Press, the Saco River Community Television website, and the exact figures broken down by town for more information.
SAD 6hopes to be able to use the old Fire Barn to store paper and other supplies. The town owns the actual building while John Hubbard, who has kindly allowed the town to use his property for so many years, owns the land. Both land and building will be sold to SAD 6. Mr. Hubbard has agreed to sell his land at less than the appraised value. The use of this building for storage will prevent any further loss of water quality in an area that has been plagued with contaminated water.
More in-depth reports will be coming about these questions in the Limington Free Press in future editions.
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