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Smithfield voters approve budget, nix windmill ordinance  

Credit:  By Doug Harlow, Staff Writer, Morning Sentinel, www.onlinesentinel.com 15 March 2011 ~~

SMITHFIELD – Voters at the annual town meeting on Saturday defeated a proposed ordinance to regulate windmills, en route to re-electing the incumbent second selectmen as a write-in candidate and passing all the 62 articles for spending in 2011.

Of the 714 registered voters in Smithfield, 127 went to the polls early in the day Saturday and 48 residents attended the business meeting Saturday night, said Town Clerk Linda French.

The budget for 2011 came in $600 under the proposed $741,381 figure brought to the town meeting. Budget figures include block-grant spending and money from surplus, but do not include anticipated revenues.

Incumbent Second Selectman Dale “Bud” Churchill beat John Wiggins, who also was a write-in candidate, 63-26.

French said voters questioned the wording of the proposed small wind energy system ordinance, largely due to the lack of possible enforcement on noise limits and the proposed size of the towers.

The ordinance would have allowed wind turbines with a tower, footings, electrical fixtures and associated equipment generating not more than 100 kilowatts. The height of each unit would have been limited to 140 feet, with setback requirements from abutting property lines.

The ordinance also would have limited noise to 55 decibels, which generated the most discussion, French said.

“Basically, the people wanted some things clarified in the ordinance – the consensus might be that we might, in the future, like to see something,” she said.

The show of hands vote was not even close, French said, and the ordinance was defeated.

Big ticket items approved on the Saturday town meeting warrant included $70,000 for Waste Management Disposal Services in Norridgewock; $143,244 for winter roads, including three contracts, sand and salt purchases and snow removal; and $50,000, plus $26,424, from the Road Block Grant for the paving and road reconstruction reserve account.

Voters also agreed to raise and appropriate $115,535 for the pay of town officials and employees. The costs would cover salaries and expenses for 21 town employees.

The proposed $90,618 for general expenses was whittled down by voters to $90,015, according to French.

Source:  By Doug Harlow, Staff Writer, Morning Sentinel, www.onlinesentinel.com 15 March 2011

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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