UNITY – No wind turbines dot the horizon in this community, but voters today can ensure the town will be prepared for any proposal to erect them.
Selectmen James Kenney said residents who gather for town meeting at 10 a.m. at Unity Elementary School will have the opportunity to vote on a proposed ordinance that he said is written with the safety and health of townspeople in mind.
“It is an ordinance that is addressing the issues,” he said. “We have no one asking to put up a commercial wind turbine that we know of, but we are putting up an ordinance beforehand.”
Kenney said the proposal is based on town ordinances now in place in Dixmont and Montville.
He said the document classifies wind turbines into four categories, ranging from small models for private use to ones that tower 300 feet or more that can generate more than a megawatt of energy.
Kenney said the requirements for the smaller private wind turbines are limited to a page, but those wishing to construct commercial models would have 39 to 40 pages of stipulations to address.
A person or company wishing to install a wind turbine in the largest category, for example, would have to notify all landowners within a two-mile radius of the plan and get the approval of all landowners within a one-mile radius, Kenney said.
He said the proposed budget is down $64,000 from the one approved last year, a decrease from $900,000 to $836,000.
And that’s the total budget. Kenney said the amount of money the town proposes to raise through direct taxation is down $70,000, falling from $453,000 to $383,000.
He said the decrease in large part is the result of having completed the town’s latest property appraisal project.
“We are somewhat fiscally conservative and responsible,” he said. “We didn’t try to find things to spend (money) on in other words.”
Town meeting: 10 a.m. Saturday at Unity Elementary School
Registered voters: About 800
Voters at 2010 Town Meeting: About 75
Last year’s budget: $900,000
Proposed budget: $836,000 if passed as proposed
Percent change: 7.1 percent decrease
current mill rate: $14 per $1,000 property value
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