Warren selectmen, attorney discuss pending litigation
Warren — Prior to their regularly scheduled meeting June 26, Warren Board of Selectmen, Interim Town Manager Glenn Aho and town attorney Bill Kelly met behind closed doors to discuss pending litigation.
This meeting dealt with the breach of contract claim Robert Emery and Vixen Land Holdings LLC brought against the town for its refusal to sell property to Emery. This claim was dismissed in federal court on Feb. 19, but without prejudice — meaning it can be litigated again and pursued in state court.
"He (Kelly) shared a lot of new information with the board, who now has to take some time to absorb it," said Aho by email June 27.
Kelly stated in a phone conversation that "there has been no public action taken. It was an opportunity to address the pending litigation."
Selectmen heard from Joe Cifaldo defending the public works' crew.
Cifaldo, a member of the public works crew, spoke out regarding a citizen's complaint that claimed workers were punching-in to work then going out for coffee.
"If somebody wants to accuse us of something we are doing, I'd like to know who it is," said Cifaldo.
Selectman Ed LaFlamme admitted to being the complainant.
A complaint was also made regarding a barrel full of cigarette butts left outside the public works' building. Cifaldo showed a photograph of a near-empty barrel in support of the workers.
Cifaldo also stated that he had heard someone question why all the workers' time cards were punched at basically the same time.
"We all start our day together, and we end our day together," said Cifaldo. "And no, we are not punching each other's cards."
In other business, It had been asked if there was any update on the rifle range cleanup to which the answer was no.
The board approved having affixed benches, a movable picnic table and two donated blue spruces installed around the Woolen Mill Park.
The board voted unanimously to donate $215 to the Warren Public Library to assist in defraying the cost of an informational newsletter mailing.
A representative of the library thanked the board for their support, and asked for assistance in updating email addresses of library users to avoid such expenditures in the future.
An eleventh hour notification that the legislature had overruled Gov. Paul Lepage's veto of the revenue sharing bill postponed any discussion on the municipal budget.
The board spent nearly 45 minutes discussing with consultant Jim Murphy the state valuation and personal property assessment procedures.
Both admitted the process is unfair and inaccurate to which Murphy replied, "If it was easy, someone else would be doing it."
Chairman Doug Pope reminded the board that it can change the way assessing is done if it does not agree with the procedures.
Currently, if a piece of equipment can be touched or used by a consumer and it is valued at over $100, it should be assessed and taxed.
LaFlamme said the process is unfair, and stated there are many residential buildings that business is conducted from.
"People aren't paying their personal property taxes as assessed," LaFlamme said.
Murphy stated that he requests a letter of assets from all residents and businesses, but noted "it can't be taxed if it's not reported."
"The law is black and white, but assessing is about art and science — nothing is black and white," said Murphy.
The board voted to begin discussion of the municipal tax rate on July 24.
Courier Publications reporter Beth A. Birmingham can be reached at 594-4401 ext. 125 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
594-4401 ext. 125
Beth rejoined Courier Publications' news staff in February 2013. She previously worked at The Courier-Gazette from 1981 to 1990.
Her coverage area includes Warren, Union, Friendship, Waldoboro, Washington, and Thomaston and RSU40.
Beth has a passion for photography, and a degree from the University of Maine at Augusta, in affiliation with the Maine Photographic Workshop in Rockport.
Aside from photography, Beth enjoys running and walks along the waterfront, as well as other outdoor activities. She has a daughter, Claire, who is 13.
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