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Search is on for town manager, planning board members
DIXFIELD- Selectmen welcomed Norine Clarke back to the table and got down to business last week, breezing through their agenda in record time, and adjourning their meeting in just under an hour. The meeting, slated to begin with a short executive session to discuss the current status of the town manager search, remained open to the public.
Attending the meeting was David Barrett, director of personnel services and labor relations for the Maine Municipal Association. He informed selectmen, that after placing advertisement locally, as well as throughout New Hampshire, Vermont and Massachusetts, there are currently 17 resumes to review for the replacement of Gene Skibitsky, and the deadline for resumes was Friday, November 16. Selectmen could expect to receive those applications for review by Tuesday, November 20.
Selectmen scheduled to hold an executive session with Barrett on December 3 at the town office to review the applications and choose finalists to interview.
“These applications and resumes are not public record,” stated Barrett. “I advise you to keep them confidential. We don’t want to jeopardize any potential candidate from withdrawing from the selection process.”
Selectmen concurred that they would be looking for applicants with strong financial backgrounds, a good track record in dealing with similar government to that of Dixfield and strong people skills.
Skibitsky tendered his resignation for January and selectmen are hopeful they will be able to fill his seat soon thereafter.
In other business, there was much to discuss with reports from department heads, police Chief Pickett and Jim White of the water district, as well as appointing a road commissioner, approving junkyard permits, approving a grant from the Department of Environmental Protection agency, and the proposed wind ordinance.
Police Chief Pickett informed citizens to be on the lookout for strange and unusual behavior around homes during daylight hours.
“We have seen an increase in thefts in the last couple of months and I think it’s only going to get worse before it gets better. We’re seeing more and more daylight burglaries and ask everyone to beware.”
Chief Pickett urged citizens to call the police if they witness anything out of the ordinary, stating, “The worse thing that’s going to happen is that it’s someone who is supposed to be there. Call us, that’s what we’re here for.”
Jim White reported the flushing of the town lines was complete with only one incident, that of replacing their #2 hydrant that they found had broken during the flush. They have been able to switch out 58 meters and hope to be at their target of 60 before the end of the year.
White informed selectmen that the water department’s budget would be ready for review by December, as they work on a calendar year basis.
White also reported, “We were extremely fortunate during superstorm Sandy, we had our reservoir topped off in preparation and didn’t have to use it.”
He did advise the selectmen to join MEWARN (Maine’s Water/Wastewater Response Network).
“It’s free of charge and it will allow us to put in a request for a generator in case of an emergency. It’s either that or we start trying to find one to purchase for less money.”
Selectmen voted unanimously to join MEWARN.
MEWARN is a statewide water and wastewater agency response network of utilities helping utilities to prepare for the next natural or man made emergency, organize response according to established guidelines and share personnel and equipment statewide.
The mission of MEWARN is to support and promote statewide emergency preparedness, disaster response and mutual aid for public and private water and wastewater utilities.
In the appointment of a road commissioner, selectmen agreed to allow Gene Skibitsky to continue to hold the position until his resignation is fulfilled. Selectman Daley clarified that once a new town manager is in place the board will have to go through the procedure once again to fill the position.
Selectmen voted to accept a $3,250 DEP grant secured by Al Hodgkins for the sewer study.
“This is something that should have been brought forth before the bridge project got underway,” noted Chairman Macky Gill. “But, due to being lost in a mix of paperwork in Augusta, it’s just now getting to us.”
The board accepted the funds and they will be applied to pay down the sewer loan.
Selectmen approved seven junkyard permits in the names of Lester and Claudia Averill, Robert Blanchard, Shannon Drown, Clifford Hall, Norman Mitchell, Morrison Motors and James Speranza.
It was noted that a junkyard is classified as a property having three or more unregistered, uninspected vehicles.
Lastly, selectmen discussed inviting Kristin Collins, the attorney who reviewed the proposed wind ordinance, to a meeting to help guide them as to how the town should proceed now that 651 residents voted in favor of the ordinance, with the naysayers tallying 622 votes.
They hope to have her attend a meeting sometime in December.
With the wind ordinance being on the table for further review, selectmen noted that they would like to see the planning board become involved.
Chairman Gill put out a request to citizens for anyone interested in serving on the planning board, as they are currently at three members, the minimum for the committee to act. The committee is required to have five members.
Anyone interested in becoming a planning board member should contact the town office for further information.