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Union Selectmen negotiate newsletter

By Christine Simmonds | Oct 07, 2020
Photo by: Christine Simmonds Union Board of Selectmen on Zoom Oct. 6.

Union — The Union Board of Selectmen took a step toward increased communication with voters at their Zoom meeting Oct. 6.

Communication has been a frequent topic since the July election, when two new members were voted in. Some suggestions that were discussed included a Facebook page, a newsletter and a space on the Union website.

The board decided they will use the Union email list to send out a bi-monthly newsletter called “Selectmen Sidelines.”

The initial outlines call for communication that is kind, clear and direct with no foul language, demeaning or “nasty” comments directed at a group or individual.

The writings in the newsletter would be approved by other members of the board, with a clear timeline for submitting each selectman’s piece.

Board member Adam Fuller said he was concerned about the potential for the newsletter becoming a “twice a day email blast” from board members who felt passionate about certain topics.

Board member Josh White suggested the newsletters be limited to twice a month, as the board meets twice a month.

Board Chairman John Shepard clarified that the newsletter would be voluntary.

The board decided to continue to work on the parameters for the newsletter as a group before they sent the first one.

In other business, the board established a broadband committee to increase broadband access in the town. Town Manager Jay Feyler said broadband is important to young people, and would be good for the town.

Fuller said he fully supports increasing broadband access in Union.

“Everybody benefits from it,” he said, adding that it brings high paying jobs and more young people. He cited research showing municipalities have thrived economically and had more people move to their towns.

“I 1,000% want to be on this committee,” he said.

Feyler suggested that resident John Gibbons be a member of the committee, as he knew a lot about the matter.

Residents who are interested in joining the committee can fill out a Statement of Interest form located on the Union website.

Feyler said the town still had three or four weeks left of the Maine Healthy grant, which they have used to assist Union residents and businesses with COVID-19 precautions such as masks and sanitizer.

The town office has been inundated with requests for children’s masks since schools opened, said Feyler. He said any businesses in need of help with such items should contact the town office. “Spread the word,” he added.

The committee formed to create a food sovereignty ordinance was named the Food Ordinance Committee by the board. The board approved Jim Justice to join the Food Ordinance Committee as the final member.

The board discussed a Central Maine Power pole permit for Butler Road. Feyler said CMP submitted these permits periodically when they had to install poles on town land with an easement.

For future pole permits, the board authorized Feyler to approve them without the board’s involvement.

The board discussed the upcoming annual town manager review and outlined the process for the two new members. It was decided the review would be postponed until after the November election.

The Nov. 3 board meeting is canceled due to the election.

The next board meeting is Oct. 20 at 6:30 p.m. over Zoom. Anyone who would like an invitation or to be added to a future agenda can contact Feyler at townmanager@union.maine.gov.

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