Friday, December 6, 2013
2013 Town Meetings
NORRIDGEWOCK -- Aside from a broken voting machine, it was business as usual at the annual Town Meeting Monday night at the Mill Stream Elementary School, where earlier in the day state police responded to a report of a suspicious man carrying a rifle on the campus.
Residents approved funding for an addition to the highway garage, a pay raise for office administrators and a budget of $1,765,304 to come from property taxes.
In elections, residents voted in four contested races, including elections for the board of selectmen, which are elected for one-year terms every year.
The first item at the meeting was an address from state police Sgt. Aaron Hayden, who assured those in attendance that the school was safe and thanked them for their cooperation during the day, when the school was locked down because two students thought they saw a man with a gun outside.
"It came down to one kid told another kid something and it got the ball rolling," Hayden said. "Parents came quickly, paid attention and allowed us to do our jobs and that was huge. The town was very receptive and we tried to keep everyone abreast of any new updates as information unfolded this morning."
Hayden said that police performed a neighborhood canvas and checked the camera systems at the school in the aftermath of the lockdown Monday morning. He said he will meet School Administrative District 54 Superintendent Brent Colbry and the school's principal, Bill Pullen, on Wednesday to review the school's safety plan and Monday's response.
Residents then got down to business, approving increases in stipends for the town clerk and treasurer -- $1,320 to $3,500 and $1,000 to $2,500, respectively.
The town also approved raising $205,700 for an addition to the public works highway garage, with $100,000 to come from fees the town collects for accepting waste from other communities.
Two town ordinances were also revised.
The floodplain management ordinance will now allow construction projects in floodplain areas.
The town also voted to revise its site plan ordinance so that plan review fees will be based on square footage of a project and not on assessed construction costs. Planning board member Liz Hilton said the changes came at the recommendation of the Kennebec Valley Council of Governments.
The fee scale will also be changed to more accurately reflect the administrative costs to the town for conducting the site plan review, she said, with applicants paying $250 for projects up to 2,500 square feet and $500 for projects more than 2,500 square feet.
There were contested races for selectmen, planning board, board of tax assessors and school board. Because of a broken voting machine results had to be counted by hand and were not available Monday night.
Rachel Ohm- 612-2368