CANTON – Voters at Thursday night’s annual town meeting approved spending $400,000 to rebuild a section of Staples Hill Road from Route 108 to Dyke Drive.
They also turned down five ordinances for: wind power project, recalling elected officials, dismantling the ice rink, requiring voter approval to spend more than $5,000, and electing a fire chief.
Money-conscious residents discussed every spending article on the warrant during the four-hour session moderated by Terry Hayes of Buckfield.
Regarding the Staples Hill Road project, Craig Gammon, former town road foreman, said it could be done for $100,000. However, Selectman Brian Keene said officials got an estimate of $400,000 to do the job correctly.
Voters approved spending that amount.
Sue Gammon asked why there was a $10,0000 increase in the administrative budget and Selectman Brian Keene said some of it was due to a copier lease, advertising and longer town office hours.
Diane Ray said the $32,450 for general government administration listed on the budget sheet did not match the $39,100 on the warrant.
Deputy Clerk Kathy Walker said that when the figures were being compiled her computer crashed, and the number in the warrant was correct, and selectmen agreed.
Gammon also questioned the $10,000 increase for General Government Compensation, which covers salaries. Last year’s amount was $57,700 and the proposal was for $67,740.
Chris Dailey offered an amendment to approve $63,740, but his motion did not receive a second and voters went on to approve the requested amount.
Those questioning whether parents pay for recreation activities were told they pay for a swimming instructor, but most of the other activities were paid for by the town. The $5,600 requested for recreation department was passed.
An article to approve a wind power ordinance failed to win passage.
Last month, the Maine Department of Environmental Protection approved an eight-turbine wind power project on Canton Mountain. The nearly $50 million development will likely begin later this year and be operational in 2016, according to Canton Mountain Wind LLC, which is owned by Patriot Renewables LLC of Quincy, Mass.
According to a fact sheet issued by Canton Mountain Wind LLC, each turbine will provide the town with $4,000 in taxes annually and increase the tax base by nearly $50 million. Each wind tower would extend 480 feet, including the blade. A 3.6-mile access road off Ludden Lane would connect with the turbines’ access road of 1.3 miles along the ridgeline of Canton Mountain.
The project is part of a larger plan that could include similar wind projects in the neighboring towns of Dixfield and Carthage. Those projects are also being developed by Patriot Renewables. The company has been working with the three towns for several years. Canton was the only one of the three not to request a moratorium on wind energy projects.
Tom Carroll of Patriot Renewables told voters Thursday night that a decommissioning bond to cover costs should the project be shut down is funded in the first year and would be updated every two years.
Planning Board member Kathy Hutchins said the board had demanded the bond. She also said the board asked residents what they wanted in a wind power ordinance, and no one responded, so the board did not pursue the ordinance.
Other ordinances brought forth by citizen petitions and which also failed passage were to:
• Dismantle the skating rink behind the ball field off Route 140 and make it a parking lot.
• Require a special town meeting before selectmen could spend more than $5,000.
• Establish guidelines for removing elected officials from office.
• To elect the fire chief instead of appointing someone.
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