Board of Selectmen Reject Free Water Study Proposal

Last night’s (7/17/14) meeting was mostly a low-key affair.

Funding was approved for the firehouse repairs; a fuel supplier for winter was chosen; a heating contractor was chosen for the town hall’s new furnace installation. We met the new school superintendent, Katrina Kane. The proposed traffic light at Rt. 3 and Rt. 204 was tabled.

BernieQuoteThe most contentious issue was the proposal by the Conservation Commission to apply for a grant to install a series of wells over Lamoine’s aquifer to monitor water quality. The grant application would be for funds from monies Ellsworth received as Natural Resources Damage Compensation from the Portland-Bangor Waste Oil Site in North Ellsworth to be used for project preventing pollution to ground water in the future. Despite being at no cost to the Town of Lamoine, this was seen by most on the board as well as audience members Jane Fowler and Brett Jones, and Code Enforcement Officer Mike Jordan as being a gateway to restriction of activities over the aquifer. Board member Bernie Johnson even mentioned that he drove an old vehicle that “leaked fluids” and indicated that his right to do so might be threatened. He later contacted Friends of Lamoine and stated that he meant this as sarcasm, not to be taken literally. Selectmen also raised concern that were pollution found on land owned by an individual, the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) would be required to come in to determine the source of pollution, and even if this source were not from that piece of property, the property owner would nonetheless be legally responsible for its clean up.  Government monies might be available to cover this cost, but in the short run, the property owner might find him/herself having to face considerable outlay of expense and time. Commission member Carol Korty explained that having the data on water quality was better than not knowing, and what was done with the data was a separate issue. Board member Josephine Cooper mostly agreed, but thought the proposal could use a revision. The rest of the board agreed and will consider a revised proposal at the next meeting.

The letter written by the Friends of Lamoine and sent to the Board of Selectmen was not responded to. Members said they hadn’t had a chance to read it (read it here) and so it will appear on the next meeting’s agenda.

Finally, Code Enforcement Officer Mike Jordan stated that he wished to step down as a regular member of the Comprehensive Planning Committee, to maintain a consistent position for the CEO in an advisory capacity, no matter who that person is.  The board voted to replace him with landscaper/town snowplow contractor Richard McMullen, and to keep Andrea Ames as an Alternate.

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