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Irving grants $20K to light Harlow Park
DIXFIELD- In the wake of the passing of Chairman of the Board Bettina M. Martin, Monday night's meeting began under a long moment of silence to honor the long-time friend and co-worker.
“She was a tough little lady,” stated Selectman Norine Clarke. “She was a good friend to me.”
Town Manager Eugene Skibitsky noted, “I appreciate the guidance she showed me throughout her time with us. She was a lovely lady and I'll miss her.”
Town officials announced that the town office, Ludden Memorial Library and the Public Works Department will be closed on Thursday from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m. out of respect for Chairman of the Board of Selectmen, Bettina M. Martin.
Following a somber beginning to the weekly meeting, Vice Chairman Steve Donahue took over the reigns and got down to business.
Scott Holmes was present to give an update on the lighting project for Harlow Park. “We had a successful landowner abutters meeting and found that we need to purchase a few extra signs and some lighting for safety reasons. We also got another $5,000 from Dana Whittemore's property management company, which brings our total up to $55,000 of the $75,000 that we need. We really appreciate the town voting to give us the $50,000 from the Ione Harlow Fund. We really got a great start with that boost.”
Holmes, who was accompanied by Alan Orcutt, general manager of Irving Lumber here, was busting at the seams and grinning from ear-to-ear when he revealed that, “Mr. Irving has agreed to donate the final $20,000 to get the project underway.”
Orcutt, noted, “We believe in this town and its' people. We really wanted to do something big to help this project along. Scott has worked hard to get this going. He's done a great job.”
Holmes noted that he will still be looking for a little more money to cover the cost of any overages and the additional signs and lighting requested by the abutting landowners.
“So, I guess this means we're going to be looking forward to Friday night games under the lights this fall,” noted Skibitsky.
A round of applause went up through the room as Holmes steadied himself, “I knew last week and I've been driving my wife crazy-- I just couldn't wait to share it with you fine folks.”
This isn't the first that Irving Forest Products has helped out the local park. They also supplied a new scoreboard to Harlow Park a couple years ago.
In other business, selectmen voted unanimously to take a loan with the Department of Environmental Protection to replace the sewer main under the proposed bridge that connects Mexico to Dixfield.
Over the last few weeks, the Mexico Sewer District and Dixfield officials have had an agreement written up to show proof of ownership of the pipe that will be laid under the bridge.
“In essence, it's a lease back provision to provide ownership,” stated Skibitsky. “It's the only way we could move forward with the loan through the bond bank. They (the DEP) seem happy with the documentation.”
The final loan amount will be $103,000 at 1.5 percent interest over 20 years.
“Our citizens will not see an increase in taxes,” noted Skibitsky. “The amount of the loan will be manageable under our current rate structure.”
A final mention of the evening concerned wind power. Skibitsky urged selectmen to start looking at what wind power and the revenue from the turbines could do for the town.
“We need to be smart about what we decide to do. With our $150 million tax base currently, the presence of turbines could add another $60 million. It's not too soon to start looking at what we could do with that amount. Do we want tax relief or do we want to put it toward our infrastructure? We have got to start looking forward.”
Selectmen agreed to hold a wind workshop with Matthew Eddy of Eaton Peabody out of Portland. The workshop will be held at the town office on Wednesday, February 9 at 5 p.m.