2017-10-06 / Community

News Briefs

POT POSTPONEMENT — Kennebunk selectmen have voted to extend the town’s moratorium on retail marijuana shops and so-called marijuana social clubs, first adopted by voters Feb. 28, an additional six months, to April 4, 2018.

The temporary ban was set to expire Oct. 6. Selectmen voted for the extension unanimously at their Sept. 26 meeting.

A majority of the board has expressed support for a full, ongoing ban on such operations in town and have publicly expressed frustration that a draft ordinances distributed for that purpose was not able to get out of planning board review in time to make the November general election ballot.

This is actually the second extension of the moratorium as the original town meeting vote in February backdated the first moratorium to Oct. 25, 2016. Selectmen then voted for the first extension on March 28.

“We continue to make progress on this,” board chairman Dick Morin said at the Sept. 26 meeting.

GENERAL ASSISTANCE — At its Sept. 26 meeting, the Kennebunk Board of Selectmen adopted changes to the town’s general assistance ordinance, based on new language in state law.

Among the changes, the rules governing the aid the town must provide to needy families now recognize domestic partners as well as spouses as part of a household, including public responsibility for payment of funeral arrangements.

The rules now also compel national banks to release financial information on applicant accounts when general assistance administrators seek to verify income data and assets.

The ordinance also contains new maximum amounts the town can provide in aid, including $640 the monthly food allowance for a family of four and, in York County, as much as $1,374 per month in rent for a heated four-bedroom home.

“We can use our discretion to exceed those maximums,” town general assistance administrator Karen Winton told selectmen. “So, just know, that does happen.”

APPOINTMENTS — At their Sept. 26 meeting, Kennebunk selectmen appointed Grove Street resident Patricia Kinkade to the town’s tree committee through June 2020, while also naming Keith Wallace of Summer Street to an undefined term on the comprehensive planning and zoning ordinance update committee.

A construction manager with C&T Management in Portland, Kinkade is a master gardener with a background in site planning. Wallace also is a construction manager.

He works for Lamb-Star Engineering, a Texas company with offices in Kittery, and has a background in civil engineering.

At their Sept. 26 meeting, selectmen also accepted the resignation of Thomas Cahoon as the West Kennebunk Village Committee representative on the comprehensive planning and zoning ordinance update committee, and of Barbara Weeman from the bicentennial committee, while also declaring the youth representative slot on the comprehensive planning and zoning ordinance update committee to be vacant, as the previous youth member has stopped attending meetings since graduating high school.

DAM MEETING — According to Kennebunk Town Manager Mike Pardue, selectmen will hold a workshop with Pittsfield-based energy consulting firm Kleinschmidt Associates regarding the town’s options for the three dams on the Mousam River, now owned by the Kennebunk Light and Power District.

KLP has filed notice with the federal government that it will not renew its power generating license past 2022.

Two groups, Kennebunk-based Save the Mousam Keep the Kennebunk Dams LLC and America First Hydro of Scarsdale, New York, have filed paperwork with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to take over that permit.

Selectmen have been embroiled for months in debate over the extent, if any, to which the town should get involved in future maintenance and possible operation of the dams.

At their Sept. 12 meeting, selectmen voted 4-2 to pay Kleinschmidt up to $14,000 for its advice.

At the Sept. 26 selectboard meeting, Pardue said the workshop would be held on Oct. 12, with a second date possible on Oct. 17. He did not give a time for that meeting and as of Oct. 2 it was not listed on the pubic calendar or the town website.

However, Pardue said every effort would be made to record the meeting for re-broadcast on local community television and online, “if staff is available.”

OSTOMY DAY — At the behest of Christine Ryan, executive director of the United Ostomy Associations of America, Kennebunk selectmen voted Sept. 26 to declare Oct. 7 to be “Ostomy Awareness Day – Navigate the Journey Together” in Kennebunk.

Ostomy is a surgical procedure that aids a person that has lost normal function of digestive or urinary systems due to birth defects, colorectal cancer, bladder cancer, Chron’s disease, ulcerative colitis, and other medical conditions.

“We call upon all residents of Kennebunk to unite on this day in a showing of support,” Selectmen Ed Karytko said, in making the motion to proclaim the special day.

TRUCK BUY — At their Sept. 26 meeting, Kennebunk selectmen voted to pay $170,636 to buy a 2018 Wester Star tandem-axel dump truck with plow from O’Conner Motor Co. of Portland.

The truck body will be made by H.P. Fairfield. The base bid for the truck was $1996,446, with $6,190 for an extended warranty, but the town got $32,000 as a trade-in allowance for the 15-year-old plow truck the new unit will replace. The town received 13 bids for the truck, ranging as high as $199,360. Selectmen had budgeted $220,000 for the purchase in this year’s budget.

Still, Selectman Ed Karytko questioned if the new truck was really needed, as his “last ditch effort to save some money.”

“We’re about to save $50,000,” Selectman Christopher Cluff said, noting the difference between budget and bid.

“Well, yeah, but I’d like to save $170,000, if I can,” Karytko replied.

“Have you got a big snow shovel?” board chairman Dick Morin asked.

Karytko allowed as how he did not, at least not one as big as a town plow truck, and the bid stood.

Still, the new truck will not take to local roads in time for the first snow, and possibly not the entire coming winter season. Public Services Director Eric Labelle said the new truck should arrive in about six months.

BODY BUY — Savings between the budget and final purchase price for Kennebunk’s new plow truck will be used to put a new body on another snow removal vehicle, a 2008 International.

The Tenco brand dump body was made with mild steel that was reinforced with a webbing design which, according to Public Services Director Eric Labelle, traps material around the dump hinges.

“The truck body distributes salt and sand by raising 90 percent of the truck’s dump body towards the conveyor on one side to be placed on the spinner below the truck,” he said.

Town Manager Mike Pardue wrote in his memo to selectmen for their Sept. 26 meeting. “Should the hinge fail, the body would likely fall to the side of the road. This is a significant safety concern.”

The unit, known as Truck 21, “is one of our main plow trucks which is smaller and more versatile used in neighborhoods with tight plowing areas,” Pardue wrote. “In its current state, the truck will be able to plow, however, it will not be able apply material.”

Selectmen agreed to spend $23,999 to buy a new Everest SDSL 9-foot stainless steel dump body from H.P. Fairfield, of Scarborough.

The town solicited three companies for bids, with offers ranging as high as $26,000. One bid, from Viking Cives of Lewiston did come in lower, at $23,900. Labelle did not say at the Sept. 26 meeting why he recommended the Fairfield bid and selectmen did not ask.

However, local resident Lionel Menard did take to the podium to ask a question of his own.

“Are we not putting enough into maintenance that these things don’t come as a surprise?” he asked selectmen.

“Honestly, for a long time we were not doing a very good job of that, but we’ve seen that [maintenance] budget increase the last few years,” Selectman Christopher Cluff said. “I think we are trying to do a better job.”

SEWER WORK — At the urging of the town’s economic development committee, Kennebunk selectmen voted unanimously Sept. 26 to spend $75,000 to extend sewer lines along Route 1 from the RSU 21 maintenance barn to Industrial Drive. The money will come from the town’s Route 1 tax increment financing (TIF) district.

“Is this really needed, or is this a ‘build it and they will come’ scenario?” Selectman Christopher Cluff asked.

“I can only theorize that there would be some significant use that would come later,” Town Manager Mike Pardue said, noting there is one business coming in that could make use of the connection.

According to Town Engineer Chris Osterrieder, when the town built the sewer lines along Route 1 north of downtown with grant funds over the past decade, it “inadvertently” left the gap between the bus barn and Industrial Drive, which he said encompasses “three properties.” Bringing those lots online, he said, is the best solution for the town and the sewer district, which will take ownership of the lines, once built.

“Otherwise, what we end up with is a private utility in the public right-of-way, and there’s nothing good about that,” he said.

Osterrieder said the work will be done by Brex Construction “later this fall.”

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

Return to top