Selectmen set warrant, town meeting date
Rockport — Selectmen approved 30 articles for the town meeting warrant, with only one item generating significant discussion, Tuesday, April 22.
That was the article asking town meeting voters to allocate a combined $1,427,514 for sanitation and public works, including a three-year lease-purchase on a 2014 Ford F-350 truck. The discussion centered on whether to reduce the three-year lease to two years, which would increase public works expenses by $10,500 for the upcoming year and the one following.
Selectman Geoffrey Parker argued for going to a two-year lease, while Select Board Chairman Bill Chapman, felt that, given the difficulty of predicting future budget needs, it was unwise to commit the extra money now. Several members of the Budget Committee were present, and committee member John Viehman said that, although the committee had voted 5 to 2 in favor of the three-year lease, with one abstention, members did not really like the three-year option because, “you're kicking the can down the road.”
He said the committee preferred the shorter lease, but did not have an option to vote for it. “Going to two years saves money,” he said.
Budget Committee Chairman Jan Rosenbaum amplified on Viehman's remarks, saying his committee's vote was “a plea to the Select Board to look deeply into this” lease issue.
After further discussion, Chapman changed his position, and the article was unanimously amended to reflect the two-year lease, bringing the total expenditure for the article to $1,483,014, and passed.
In other business, the Board held a public hearing on six proposed ordinance articles for the town meeting. Five of the six would amend the town's land use ordinance, and the sixth would amend the zoning map. There were no comments on any of the proposed changes.
All other warrant articles were passed, the municipal election and school budget confirmation vote were set for Tuesday, June 10, and the town meeting for Wednesday, June 11, at 7 p.m. at the Opera House. It was noted the final school budget meeting will be held Tuesday, May 27.
Acting as the town's wastewater commissioners, Board members awarded the contract for the sewer extension project to Ferraiolo Construction of Rockland -- the low bidder -- for $574,000. Assistant Public Works Director Stephen Beveridge said the project was scheduled to get under way May 12, with the road work to be completed by July 4. The pump station, he said, could take longer.
Parker asked Frank Ferraiolo why his bid for the pump station was significantly lower than other bidders', but noticeably higher for rock removal.
“They buried it [the rock removal] in the pump station,” Ferraiolo said, adding he allocated the respective costs more accurately. He added that he believed less rock would have to be removed than the town's request for proposal had specified.
Beveridge supported Ferraiolo, saying, “laying the pipe where we are, I don't think we'll find much ledge.”
After the Board had adjourned as wastewater commissioners and re-convened as selectmen, Rosenbaum announced that the seven members of the Budget Committee who were present had gone into another room and voted again on the article that included the public works truck. The vote was now unanimous in favor of the article, he said.
Sarah E. Reynolds is copy editor for the Courier Gazette and 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, ride her ATV and play word games.