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Efforts on wind standards stall
RUMFORD -- A effort by selectmen to possibly determine three facets of an ordinance to regulate wind development stalled Thursday amid statements that the board needs to get on the same page.
Before a good number of people to hear the discussion, selectmen began with discussion on the first of three agenda items on the wind power ordinance -- safety setback standards (not including noise, which will be addressed separately).
In short order, the board voted 3-2 on a motion by Selectman Jeff Sterling to accept the safety setback in a Maine Department of Environmental Protection document, which was 600 feet or 1.5 times the height of an extended turbine blade from the top of the tower to the ground. They were trying to establish a safe distance should a turbine topple or its blades throw ice during winter.
Voting against were selectmen Greg Buccina and Jeremy Volkernick.
Former Selectman Jim Thibodeau then asked from what they were providing the setback.
Selectman Mark Belanger responded that it's from the base of the turbine in case the tower falls.
Thibodeau asked from the base of what?
Town Manager Carlo Puiia then reminded selectmen that they hadn't distinguished in their motion that the tower must be positioned so many feet from something specific like a property line or an occupied dwelling.
Resident Roger Arsenault asked the board to publish the language that they are proposing to approve so that people could see and comment on it beforehand. “Otherwise, you're passing something with the potential for a lot of loopholes in it. This is a perfect example.”
The other two items were shadow flicker standards and a decommissioning plan, which were unanimously tabled after further discussion. Sterling noted that they need to draft the language before they vote on it.
In other business, Buccina said the Fourth of July Committee has reversed an earlier decision and now will not have a parade.
They had sent out letters to area towns asking that each put together a float depicting a town theme. After receiving their letter, the Town of Mexico had approved forming a committee for such a project.
Buccina said they decided they want to keep it simple for this first year, starting the event at 4 or 5 p.m., with veterans' ceremony, children's events, a few vendors, a DJ, and a 23-24-minute fireworks display.
He noted that the River Valley Chamber of Commerce has agreed to market the event and that people can now donate to the chamber to help pay for the fireworks.
Buccina said the committee is discussing fundraising events to help pay for the fireworks. However, for this year, he said they will be coming to the town to ask for cable franchise funds for this year's fireworks.
The board accepted a criminal forfeiture of $1,467 to the police department's Drug Forfeiture Account. Police Chief Stacy Carter said it's contingent upon approval by the judge.
The criminal forfeiture involves money seized during last week's cocaine bust.
On Feb. 25, the Maine Drug Enforcement Agency, working with Rumford police, arrested five people on cocaine trafficking charges. The five are accused of selling $250,000 in cocaine in the Rumford-Mexico area in the past year.
Selectmen must vote to place the forfeiture into an account, which is usually a Police Department account, in case an Oxford County Superior Court justice presiding over the future case decide to transfer part or all of the forfeiture to the town.
Should the board not OK the transfer and the justice awards it, the money would go into the state's General Fund.
Selectmen approved the appointment of Executive Secretary Terri Palmer as General Assistance clerk, something that's required by the state in case General Assistance Director Thelma Giberson is not available. Puiia noted that contrary to rumors, Giberson has not resigned her position.
The board also okayed a request by the American Legion for Boys' State funding. They will sponsor one boy at a cost of $275.
Selectmen did the same earlier, sponsoring one girl for Girls' State. Such requests will made in an initiated article request in the future, noted Puiia.
Approved was a parade permit for Le Paresseux Club, who will a St. Patrick's Day parade this Sunday.