March 20, 2012

Peru to consider economic development services

By Mary Standard, Special to the Sun Journal, 20 March 2012

PERU – Glen Holmes, director of Western Maine Economic Development Council, explained to selectmen Monday night the free services his office provides.

“Small towns cannot afford to have an economic department, so WMEDC acts as that economic department,” he said. “We are the town’s partners in working with potential companies. You need to go through a certification process to qualify.”

The board indicated it would be willing to look at that process.

Holmes handed out brochures that stated the mission of WMEDC: Promote economic opportunity for communities, assist in marketing, business development, work force development and business financing

In another item at the meeting, tension arose between Road Commissioner Joe Roach and board Chairman Tim Holland over budgets. Holland, who is trying to hold the line on the upcoming budget, said the town office needs a new roof and he would like Roach to consider dropping his tarred roads budget. Roach took offense and said there were other places to cut besides the tarring budget. Roach is also considering a new truck.

Another controversial issue was the mowing contract. Roach asked that mowing at the town garage be included in the cemetery budget and that $1,000 from the garage account would pay for it. He said he had been doing the mowing with his personal equipment.

Holland said Roach could buy a push mower and have the road crew do the job.

“I have mowed that many times and you can do it,” Holland said.

The board voted 3-1 for Roach’s proposal, with Rick Vaughn abstaining because he is a member of the road crew.

In another matter before the board, Bill Hine, chairman of the Wind Ordinance Committee, made a plea for selectmen to provide direction in completing the ordinance to regulate industrial wind power projects.

EDP Renewables North America LLC of Houston, Texas, received a permit in October 2011 to place a meteorological test tower off Black Mountain Road near the Sumner town line. The company is considering building possibly 25 to 35 turbines, a representative told the committee in February.

On Nov. 8, 2011, voters approved a six-month moratorium on projects to allow time for an ordinance to be adopted.

Hine said the committee needed to verify when the 180-day moratorium ended because it needs to be extended.

Town Clerk Vera Parent will research the issue and the board will set up a public hearing before a town vote on an extension.

The full board plans to attend the April 4 committee meeting.

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