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Recall ordinance and online registration on Chesterville town meeting warrant

CHESTERVILLE - A selectman's recall ordinance and an online registration service will be up for discussion at Monday's town meeting, with a 50-article warrant up for voter consideration.

The annual town meeting will open at 7 p.m. at the Chesterville Town Office on the Dutch Gap Road on Monday, March 27. As recommended, the proposed budget would be $861,954, representing a $19,000 increase over the previous fiscal year.

Notable expenditures include a proposal to raise and appropriate $25,000 and finance another $25,000 for one year to purchase equipment for the Public Works Department. The department is considering an excavator, although Selectman Tiffany Estabrook noted that the board had not made a final decision. Residents will also be asked to enter into a five-year contract with Archie's Inc. to dispose solid waste, with the roughly $29,000-to-$31,000 annual cost figured into the Transfer Station Budget.

The town's proposed road plan would improve Zion's Hill Road's south end, the Egypt Pond Road and Borough Road, raising and appropriating $120,000 to augment $42,300 in state funds.

Selectmen are also recommending the implementation of Rapid Renewal in Chesterville. An online renewal service provided by the state for registrations and the payment of excise taxes, Rapid Renewal is offered in more than 200 towns in Maine. Estabrook said that selectmen are proposing entering into a three-year contract with InforMe, the service manager. A separate article would ask voters to approve entering into a three-year contract with Androscoggin Bank to create an account. That account would be capable of handling credit card transactions, Estabrook said.

The board also intends to create a town website, Estabrook noted. Rapid Renewal would be accessible through that website, as well as www.maine.gov.

The warrant's final article would implement a selectman recall ordinance, initially suggested via a citizen's petition, that would create a process to remove selectmen from office to begin if 20 percent of the number of voters at the last gubernatorial election file a petition with the town. This would trigger a special town meeting or, depending on the date, include the petition on the regular town meeting warrant. If the majority of written ballots cast are in favor of recalling the selectman, the recall would become effective the day after the vote assuming at least 50 percent of the number of voters at the last gubernatorial election voted. A new selectman would be elected within the next 20 days.

The ordinance includes a provision that would empower a Notary Public to call the election, should the board refuse to do so.

Two other articles would reopen and accept the dedication of the Adams and Gordon Hill Roads for summer and winter maintenance. Both roads have been maintained by the town for the past 20 years, so the articles' impact is not substantive. However, maintenance was originally discontinued on the two roads in 1939 at a town meeting, with the town keeping a public easement in both cases. That easement allowed the town to maintain the roads but the selectmen have been advised by the town's attorney that it needed to get written permission from road residents and an affirmative town meeting vote.

Residents will not be choosing selectmen; the election was held on March 13. New selectmen Edward Hastings IV and Ross Clair will join returning Selectman Tyler Jenness on the five-member board. Hastings term is three years, while Clair will be finishing the single year remaining on Selectman Paul Caldwell's term. Jenness' term is one year.

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  1. These two roads were re-opened by previous selectmen without citizen approval or knowledge. It's about time the voters have their say regarding this matter, this will make money expenditures and plowing legal on these roads. thanks to the current board for doing your job.

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