(from the
May 2007 Maine Townsman)

Bowdoinham: While voters here were easily defeating a moratorium in April on outdoor wood boilers, in nearby Brunswick, councilors were extending a ban to July 1 on the backyard furnaces that have stirred concern in many Maine towns. Bowdoinham also defeated a local referendum to limit what months the boilers could be used.

Dover-Foxcroft: June town meeting voters will decide whether to adopt a revised municipal charter that would include changing to a referendum-style form of town meeting. Although voters here overwhelmingly approved the referendum-style town meeting at last November’s election, a legally enforceable change can only be accomplished through a charter provision. The year-long effort to rewrite the charter was initiated by citizen petition.

Durham: In a lightly-attended town meeting in April, voters overwhelmingly rejected a sex offender ordinance that would have prohibited convicted offenders from living within 8,800 yards of schools and day care centers, compared to the typical 2,000-yard restriction in towns that have passed such ordinances.

Fryeburg: Selectmen extended by six months a moratorium on extraction of underground water for commercial uses following the overwhelming defeat by voters earlier in April of a proposed ordinance to regulate and limit extraction.

Lewiston: New Mayor Larry Gilbert’s idea to form a citizen budget committee this spring was killed when the fractured council came up one vote short of the needed four votes to pass. Councilors were concerned the idea was too last-minute and that Gilbert had exceeded his authority when he decided to create the committee before getting council endorsement.

Madawaska: The town will receive $500,000 in Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds for upgrades to its water system, while nearby Van Buren will get an equal amount for downtown revitalization. The town of Sanford also will get a half-million for its downtown rehab efforts.

Montville: Townspeople have decided it’s time to hire an administrative assistant to help selectmen keep up with the workload. Town officials plan to talk to neighboring towns about possibly sharing the AA.

Presque Isle: The city has been awarded a $3.9 million Federal Aviation Administration grant to complete the final phase of major upgrades at the city-owned Northern Maine Regional Airport, including runway reconstruction. The central Aroostook airport boasts the second longest commercial runway in Maine.

Rockport: Voters will be asked next month to endorse a proposed ordinance to allow construction of wind turbines to generate electricity. The proposal would limit the height of turbines to 100 feet, except for the high school project that prompted the town meeting question, which would be allowed a maximum height of 140 feet.

South Portland: In what could become a mega-dispute for the city, the owners of the Maine Mall are claiming the value of Maine’s largest shopping Mecca is $111 million and not the $263 million assessed last year by the city assessor. It is believed to be the first time the mall has contested its value, according to city officials. Mall owners based their appraisal on the replacement cost of the sprawling complex, and not on market conditions.

Topsham: A construction moratorium that came in like a lion last year ended quietly in April, again allowing potential development on two large empty parcels near the I-295 interchange. There has been no talk of extending the ban, which was initiated by citizen petition last fall.

Warren: Voters recently rejected a size limit on new and existing businesses by a 2-to-1 margin after concluding the town of 4,100 was not under threat of a so-called “big box” store coming to town.

Waterboro: Voters in April rejected forming a charter commission or considering hiring a manager despite the increased municipal workload in one of Maine’s fastest growing towns. Voters did, however, agree to borrow nearly $1 million over 10 years to replace four pieces of fire equipment. The money will be repaid from ambulance fees.

Whitefield: After just one year, town meeting voters in late April voted 208-61 to reinstate the open town meeting format and ditch referendum-style voting employed for the first time at last year’s annual town meeting. The referendum-style voting was prompted by citizen petition, as was the this year’s question to return to the open floor format.

Windsor: Officials are considering extending a ban on new subdivision development to ensure the town is protected until June town meeting voters can take up a reworked ordinance that has grown from 11 pages to 44. The current moratorium will expire two weeks before the town meeting.

Winter Harbor: In a growing trend in Maine’s smaller towns, voters will be asked to borrow $550,000 for a sewer pump station and matching funds for reconstruction of Route 186.