Selectmen considered a number of topics Aug. 8, including placing an ordinance on the November town warrant dealing with fire department insurance claims and restitution.

Fire Chief Paul Smeltzer gave an overview of the proposed ordinance, which will help with the municipal budget and create some income.

The ordinance did not pass at referendum voting in June, so Smeltzer said he sought suggestions on how to better quantify its benefits and thanked Selectman Robert Butler for helping rework the entire ordinance.

The purpose of the measure is to protect the residents of Waldoboro by providing for the possible recovery of costs the fire department incurs while performing rescue, safety and fire suppression services in response to incidents.

It will compensate the town by giving the fire department the authority to claim against available insurance policies or to seek an enforceable court-ordered judgment for restitution to recover material, labor and resources used to respond to incidents.

The ordinance also ensures that services will not be denied or withheld from any Waldoboro resident because they do not have insurance coverage.

"We don't want anybody not to contact us because they are afraid of getting billed," Smeltzer stressed.

Butler reiterated that nobody will be billed unless negligence is involved.

"If someone goes out and lights a fire and burns a house down, that's negligence, and the town has a right to restitution," he said.

Smeltzer said the monies sought are already being paid to insurance companies through premiums, and this would give the town a vehicle to recoup some of those funds.

Butler said the ordinance makes it clear the town's claims will be against insurance policies, not the people involved. He said the town ought to have a right to recoup some of the funds spent providing services.

Any funds the fire department receives will be placed in the department's Capital Reserve Account, and Smeltzer noted the fire department would not bill for mutual aid calls.

Smeltzer, along with Assistant Fire Chief Bill Maxwell, and others from the department attended a conference in Pennsylvania this past spring and was able to find a company willing to work on the billing aspect of the ordinance.

The primary situation for this ordinance would be a car crash, according to Smeltzer. Another would be structure fires and property damage.

"Arson would be a separate one, as it would fall under illegal activity," he said. "That would be on the restitution side of it, and then false alarms — after so many."

He noted there are many businesses in town that comply with fixing a malfunction, and he doesn't want to punish them for trying to do the right thing. The ordinance would allow for claims brought after three such incidents in a calendar year.

"We treat every alarm as if it's the real thing," Smeltzer said.

A public hearing will be held at a later date.

LED light conversion

Following a detailed study by RealTerm, a company that specializes in LED streetlight conversions, the board voted to have Town Manager Julie Keizer send out a request for proposals for the project.

The study noted Waldoboro would purchase its 110 streetlight fixtures from Central Maine Power, at an estimated cost of $99 each, and replace them with LED fixtures and lights. RealTerm estimates the project would cost $49,000, which would be made up within three to four years with approximately $16,000 savings in electricity annually.

"Saving money is always exciting," Keizer said.

With the lifespan of the lights being 23 years, Selectman Bob Butler said, "The savings are huge."

Electronic sign usage

After going a long time without a sign designating where the town municipal building is, a new electronic sign has been installed near Atlantic Highway in front of the fire station.

The board discussed various uses for the sign by nonprofit organizations, and acknowledged two priorities: first, to give important instructions and information regarding public safety during emergencies; and second, for town announcements, such as meetings, elections and town-sponsored events.

"I look at it as a great way to promote the town, and show we're doing things," Keizer said.

The board agreed to hold further discussions on use of the sign, and passed an interim policy.

New store, restaurant

Selectman Katie Winchenbach informed the board that the former Corner Variety & Pizzeria at Kaler's Corner will reopen under new management.

She said McGreevy's Corner Store will have a diverse menu, including breakfast sandwiches and some new items. They will bring back the "store" again and will have clamming gloves as well.

The other side of the building where the restaurant was will be an internet cafe.

The grand opening is scheduled for Monday, Aug. 21, according to Winchenbach.

The next selectmen's meeting will be Tuesday, Aug. 22, at 6 p.m.

Courier Publications reporter Beth A. Birmingham can be reached at 594-4401 ext. 125 or via email at bbirmingham@villagesoup.com.