2017-01-20 / Community

News Briefs

Town offers grace period for dog licenses

Kennebunk residents who missed the Dec. 31 deadline for obtaining renewed dog licenses have a grace period through January to get that done.

After Feb. 1, a late fee of $25 will be assessed.

“So, come in now and pay $6, or come in later, with a police officer, and pay $31. It’s a pretty simple thing to figure out,” Town Clerk Merton Brown said, when briefing selectmen at their Jan. 10 meeting.

Funds for fuel assistance accepted

Kennebunk residents (and others) appear to still be in a giving mood following the holiday season.

At their Jan. 10 meeting, selectmen accepted $7,857 in donations to the town’s emergency fuel assistance fund — used to help residents who may not qualify for general assistance but nonetheless find themselves without a way to heat their homes — as well as $2,100 for the fire department.

Giving to the fuel fund were an anonymous donor ($200); Town Manager Michael Pardue and his wife Karen, through his consulting firm, The Tideview Group ($250); The Red Hat Group “Kindred Bunkies” ($407); Estabrook’s Garden Center ($1,000); Betsy Ames-Fitzgerald, or Coldwater Banker Residential Brokerage ($1,000); and developer Tim Harrington ($5,000).

Giving to the fire department were Michael and Virginia Hammar ($100); and John and Nancy Cummings, in memory of Harrison G. Coleman and Lloyd Nedeau ($1,000).

Cost of each storm to be documented

Kennebunk has begun breaking out the cost of each winter storm, in terms of manpower, overtime pay, fuel, materials, salt, sand and other expenses.

“We’re going to continue doing this to make sure we are being as efficient as possible,” Town Manager Mike Pardue told selectmen at their Jan. 10 meeting. The full cost of the New Year’s Eve storm — which began with two inches of snow on Dec. 29, turned to rain, then back to snow for another eight inches and had crews out until Jan. 2 — was $31,000. Public Services Director Eric Labelle said the town’s 12-man road crew worked Kennebunk’s 220 lane miles for 32 hours straight before getting their first break. “It was a challenging storm,” he said, of the wet, heavy snow pack. “I felt the response was appropriate and we were able to get the town back up and on its feet relatively before the New Year, which was our objective.”

Impeding efforts, however, were some equipment breakdowns, particularly to the two sidewalk plows, which clear 32 mile of walkways through town, working through snowbanks at a pace of about 1.2 miles per hour.

“Keeping them both up and running is very difficult and challenging,” Labelle said.

“Well, Sanford got 22 inches from that storm,” selectboard Chairman Richard Morin said. “We got off a little light. I’m pretty pleased.”

Finance director nominated for tax duties

The recent change of town managers in Kennbunk has precipitated one additional edit to the town hall hierarchy.

Former Town Manager Barry Tibbetts, who has slid into a consulting role preparatory to his June 30 retirement, had worn the additional hat of tax collector.

Rather than take on the extra duty himself, new Town Manager Mike Pardue nominated town Finance Director Joel Downs for the job.

“This is based on town charter,” Pardue said. “We find that the finance director within [the] charter should be cited as the tax collector.” Selectmen appointed Downs though June 30.

Asked by selectmen if he had any “final words” before accepting the less-than-popular post, Downs declined the temptation to express himself.

Enforcement results in money and a truck

The Kennebunk Police Department has scored $1,618 and a 2004 Chevrolet 1500 pick-up truck as a result of its drug enforcement operations.

On Feb. 21, 2014, Kennebunk police stopped Taylor Keene of Arundel as part of an investigation with Sanford Police and the Maine Drug Enforcement Agency.

Keene was arrested and charged with receiving stolen property and driving after his license was suspended.

During his conviction in York County Superior Court, it was determined the $6,472 Taylor had on him at the time of his arrest was proceeds from the trafficking of heroin.

Under Maine law, because Kennebunk Police made a “substantial contribution” in the case, it was entitled to 25 percent of the cash seized in the arrest, as well as Taylor’s vehicle.

Selectmen accepted the funds and the truck at their Jan. 10 meting. Town Manager Michael Pardue said the money will be used by police for training, equipment, and/or operations directly related to drug enforcement.

If it is determined the truck is of no use to the town, it will be sold under sealed bid, he said.

Three proposals in front of town officials

The town of Kennebunk currently has three RFPs (requests for proposals) circulating, tied to the skateboard park, Lower Village, and beach parking.

The skate park RFP asks bidders to submit a plan for rebuilding the current skatepark on Factory Pasture Lane on “any town-owned or publicly held lands” in town, including the current location, using $100,000 authorized by voters in 2013, with the goal of having a new park in place by June 30, 2018.

While all public property is allowed for a proposed project, voters in June 2015 rejected Parsons Field as a potential location.

The beach parking RFP asks bidders to identify possible courses of action for on-street parking that ensures neighborhood safety while allowing equal access to public beaches, to hold a public hearing on its parking suggestions, then to edit its plan accordingly and submit a final recommendation to selectmen.

The RFP gives bidders a maximum budget of $15,000 for the work and says selectmen expect to implement the new parking plan by July 1. Bids for both the skate park and parking plan RFPs are due to the town by Jan. 20.

The Lower Village RFP gives bidders a maximum budget of $75,000 to create a master plan for implementing a “strategic vision” created in 2015 for the riverside shopping district, and to come up with a “design solution” for the Cooper’s Corner intersection.

That RFP is due to the town by Feb. 1.

Selectmen outreach sessions scheduled

The monthly informal outreach sessions held by Kennebunk selectmen have been set for the next three months.

On Saturday, Jan. 21, Selectmen Deborah Beal and Christopher Cluff will be on hand to take questions and comments from residents.

On Saturday, Feb. 18, Selectman Ed Karytko will be the master of ceremonies. Board Chairman Dick Morin will preside over the session on Saturday, March 21.

Co-pilots for the February and March meetings will be decided upon at a later date. All outreach sessions are held from 8:30 to 10:30 a.m. on the third floor of town hall.

While the meetings are open to the public, the sessions are not recorded, no minutes are kept, and selectmen have rarely broached at their regular meetings what topics have been raised.

Compiled by Staff Writer Duke Harrington. He can be reached at news@kennebunkpost.com.

Return to top