DIXFIELD— Not only did selectmen have to accept the resignation of Katherine Harvey at Monday night’s meeting, but they also had to come to terms with the fact that they are a board divided when it comes to wind power.
Harvey will be relocating to southern Maine this fall and didn’t think it fair to the town for her to remain on the board any longer. Town Manager Eugene Skibitsky noted that they would address the issue of replacing Harvey at the next board meeting in August.
For more than 90 minutes, Patriot Renewables reprsentative, Tom Carroll, fielded questions mostly from newly elected selectmen, Hart Daley and Scott Belskis.
Carroll assured the board that they are still in phase four of their studies for wind towers atop Colonel Holman Mountain and that it will be at least another year before they even think about applying for permitting.
“Even then, once we have our fall bird studies complete, it’s going to be at least three, maybe four years before we break ground,” stated Carroll.
Norman Mitchell, a citizen who spear-headed a petition to get a wind moratorium in place stated, “The town wants to feel protected and I think it’s the selectmen’s job to make them feel that way. They need to feel like they’re being represented by their board.”
Mitchell collected more than 190 legal signatures from citizens throughout town who are against the construction of wind towers within town limits.
“We want to see a less restrictive ordinance on the ballot and a more restrictive ordinance and let the people decide what to do,” noted Mitchell. “How many signatures is it going to take to make you (the board) listen to what the people want? Seriously, how many?”
Chairman Malcolm Gill stated, “That’s not the issue. We need to take all the necessary steps to educate our citizens and allow them to do something about it. Our town is divided right now and they need education as to what the towers will do to help or hurt the town.”
Selectman Daley noted, “I feel strongly that we need to look out for our people before we start trusting a wind company.”
Selectman Daley motioned for the board to vote on the moratorium and with Daley and Belskis for it, Gill and Withrow against it and one vacant seat, the motion failed. In addition, a motion to form a wind committee also failed.
A donation from ECO Industries, a wind power firm, was brought to the board. Selectmen decided to inquire to the Maine Municipal Association for legal advice.
Anyone wishing to be considered for election to the vacant selectman seat will have an opportunity to take out papers prior to the November election and will fill that position until the June 2013 annual election.
In other business, Chief Richard Pickett made a plea with citizens to please come forward with the records that were stolen during a church break in two weeks ago.
“We are working closely with other law enforcement agencies with all the local break ins lately. My plea goes out on behalf of the church, since all of their records since their inception were stored in the safe that was stolen.”
Chief Pickett stated that even if the information of where the records could be found was anonymous, “the important thing is that the church gets their information back.”
The Dixfield Police Department has information on home security systems for anyone looking to feel more secure. Interested citizens can stop by the police department for more information.
The next selectman’s meeting will be August 27 at 5 p.m.
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