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Wind ordinance to go before New Portland voters in March

NEW PORTLAND – Selectmen here Tuesday night, Nov. 1, voted not to hold a special town meeting in early December as planned to address two issues.

One of those proposed issues included whether to change the present elected town clerk position to a position appointed by the town officials. Stacie Rundlett, town manager, said that if this was to happen then it would have to be a town vote and that vote would have to be 90 days before an annual town meeting.

This along with a proposed wind power ordinance were first thought by the board to need to come to a special town meeting but because the board felt few people attend special town meetings, it was voted to bring both issues before the voters at the annual town meeting in March.

Peter Virgin, vice chairman of the town’s planning board, was present at the meeting and told the board that two meetings had been held already concerning a proposed Wind Power Ordinance compiled by Nora West but there was no attendance at either hearing, “So, I guess people are not interested,” said Virgin. “Maybe we should start a rumor that there is a wind farm going up soon on New Portland Hill,” and then see how many residents are interested, town road commissioner Gary Agren said. It was noted that the only possible hill for a wind farm would be Black Hill and that is in Embden.

Now that the special town meeting will not be held, Rundlett said she would look into the legality of a temporary moratorium on the wind power ordinance until town meeting. When asked if the proposed ordinance addresses private or commercial issues, planning board member Brian Rundlett said he felt it was more commercial. Virgin added that he felt the proposed document covers all stipulations both private and commercial. “If we don’t adopt some kind of ordinance,” said Virgin, “then the wind [turbines] could surface on our front lawns.”

As far as the town clerk goes, selectman Andrea Reichert said, ”This is not an issue that needs to be pushed through a special town meeting,” and agreed with other board members that the issue of this position being either elected or appointed should come before the annual town meeting. The present town clerk, Becky Taylor, said that 95 percent of the work is mandated by the state. Taylor also added that the position needs more hours added to it and a qualified person who is familiar with the position.

Town manager Rundlett said that there are 18 residents in New Portland who are facing foreclosure notices on their property Nov. 14. “It’s sad,” she said, “that some of the money due is as little as $30.”

Assistant Fire Chief Brian Rundlett said that some 41 firemen from New Portland, Kingfield, New Vineyard and Carrabassett Valley (15 from New Portland) attended a recent Emergency Vehicle Operations course held at the Poland Spring Bottling Plant in Kingfield. Everyone who operates a piece of fire fighting equipment, said Brian, must have 10 hours of training. It was also noted that those who drive the equipment will be asked to keep a log in that truck.

Brian said he was very proud of his fellow fire fighters who recently cleaned and organized the fire station. “Great Job Done.” Christine Edgecomb- Mudgett will be painting a map on the fire station wall showing all the streets and roads in the town.

Reichert reminded Brian that by next meeting the selectmen will need their budget material for the town meeting report.

A colored photograph of the beautiful repaired curtain at Chase Memorial Hall was submitted by Marilyn Gorman for the town report cover and was accepted by the selectmen.

In other town official reports, Gary Agren, Road Commissioner, gave the board an update on road repairs and said that grader operator Tom Boyce was doing some grading where needed and updated the board on the proposed work on the Hancock Pond Road. The board told Agren he had about $10,000 left in his account and asked what he planned to do and Agren said he hoped to be able to purchase some culverts for the Hancock Pond Road project and buy a tire for the grader. The board went into executive session to discuss a personnel matter.