Selectmen meet with County Commission, set special town meeting
Hope — Brian Powers Jr., chairman of the Board of Selectmen, welcomed representatives of the Knox County Commission to the selectmen’s meeting Tuesday, Sept. 24.
The board had requested to meet with the county commission, Powers told Commissioner Roger Moody, County Administrator Andrew Hart and county budget committee member Bill Jones, as part of an effort to be proactive about managing the town’s budget and to anticipate upcoming expenses. The three men presented information about the county’s budget process, services the county could provide and the way towns are assessed for various services. They also answered a number of questions from the board.
The lengthy and wide-ranging conversation covered financing for county jails, policing, animal control services and Knox County Regional Airport, among other topics. Moody said Gov. Paul LePage favored using county government to provide services on a regional basis more efficiently and cheaply than individual towns can do it, but noted most towns resist giving up local control.
Town Administrator Jon Duke urged commissioners to encourage towns to collaborate where there is potential for cost savings.
“Keep pushing us [towns] to work together,” he said.
In other business, the board appointed two of its own — Jason Hall and Chris Pinchbeck — as representatives to the EMS Performance Review Committee overseeing the performance of North East Mobile Health Services Inc. Each of the four towns that entered into a contract with North East will be represented on the review team.
Paving on Harts Mill and Fogler roads was postponed until the spring, because Marriner’s Paving failed to perform on a contract for the work, according to selectmen. Road Commissioner John Monroe said it is too late in the year to pave, in order to get the best results.
The selectmen discussed with Fire Chief Clarence Keller repairs to South Hope Fire Station and how to prioritize work to be done. It was agreed that Duke would prepare separate Requests for Proposals for repairs to the roof and insulation of the building. He was also directed to seek estimates on repairs to a garage door for one of the fire engine bays.
The board reviewed a letter from David Hall, president of the Hobbs and Fish Ponds Association, which requested the town pay for water quality testing of the ponds. While selectmen took no action, the sentiment of the board was summarized by Powers.
“It’s not the town’s body of water. …It’s the state’s,” he said.
Selectmen also approved the warrant for a special town meeting at 7 p.m. Monday, Oct. 28, at Hope Elementary School. At that meeting, residents will be asked to approve an amendment to the school budget to allow the school to spend $53,351.05 in supplemental state funds to pay teacher retirement costs the state transferred to the towns.
Selectmen also approved a referendum question for the Nov. 5 ballot seeking validation for the school budget amendment.
Sarah E. Reynolds is a reporter for the Camden Herald.
Sarah E. Reynolds has been a reporter and writer for more than 20 years, winning awards from the Maine Press Association and other professional organizations. She loves to read, hike and play word games.
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