(from the
October 2006 Maine Townsman)

Augusta: The city council rejected two citizen-initiated referendums for the November ballot that sought to block construction of a Hannaford supermarket on the former Cony High School property, and require voter approval for future zoning changes. Councilors said the petitions did not follow the city charter procedure. The sale of the high school property for the Hannaford project was approved by an earlier citywide vote.

Blue Hill: Short on cash, Blue Hill selectmen have notified the Hancock County Sheriff’s Department that the town will not renew its police coverage contract effective in October. Selectmen said they were satisfied with the service the sheriff’s department had provided over the past three years, but the town has already spent its law enforcement budget by September. Town meeting voters had approved the $52,000 contract, with $25,000 coming from taxation and the balance from other communities that would also use the specially-assigned officer. But the outside requests did not materialize. The contract provided an “opt out” for the town with 30 days’ notice.

Caribou: The city’s water district celebrated the launch of a new water source from two wells on the River Road. The district has been searching for an alternative water source for a decade. Trustees believe water users will notice an improvement in both the taste and quality of the water.

Dover-Foxcroft: The shiretown of Piscataquis County has been named one of only three Maine towns to be designated as a Preserve America Community. The program is a 2003 federal initiative to recognize American towns for preserving and celebrating their history, culture and heritage. In addition to being able to apply for special grants, the town is authorized to use Preserve America logo, among other benefits of the award.

Farmington: Selectmen rejected a proposed ban on the increasingly-popular outdoor wood-fired boilers. The board was concerned about air quality for people living near the boilers, however, and decided to pressure the state for emission standards and installation requirements for the boilders rather than trying to ban them.

Gardiner: The city will borrow almost $1 million to buy land and start expanding the Libby Hill Business Park. The council voted unanimously in favor of the proejct, which would finance a 121-acre expansion of the park, nearly doubling the current 16-lot park. The total cost of the project is estimated at $2.1 million.

Indian Township: Despite losing his bid for the Passamaquoddy lieutenant governor’s seat by a mere vote, Richard Stevens declined to call for a recount in the tribal election in early September. “I didn’t want to keep it limbo,” Stevens told the Bangor Daily News after the vote. “ ... I felt it would put the community at ease.” Incumbent Lt. Gov. Joseph Socobasin defeated Stevens by a vote of 201-200.

Limestone: The Loring Redevelopment Authority has disbanded its full-time fire department and agreed to pay neighboring Fort Fairfield and Limestone for the coverage. The change could save the authority $300,000 or more a year.

Pittsfield: Selectmen have started reviewing the town’s fee structure with the aim of increasing charges to cover more of the cost of services. For example, the fee to hire a town officer for a private event is $20 an hour, while the true cost can range from $34 and $36 an hour, according to officials. The town levies about 50 different kinds of fees.

Sebago: The town hall parking lot was repaved last month for the first time in about 25 years after town meeting voters approved $18,334 from the current budget to push the total available to $55,000. A new three-inch base was applied. The base will be top-dressed and a final top coat laid next year.

Waterboro: Selectmen have authorized a local referendum question for the November 7 ballot that would prohibit registered sex offenders from living within 2,500 feet from a school or 1,000 feet from a daycare center. The town passed an emergency ordinance in August that will expire by year’s end.