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Peru board under fire
PERU- With newly elected Chairman of the Select Board, Tim Holland at the helm, it seems there is a change of the tide in the small town. With issues beginning to brew from the citizens, Chairman Holland made a statement last week that has a few feathers in a ruffle.
Shortly after the meeting was called to order, Chairman Holland noted that the public would only be permitted to speak during the Public Participation portion of the meeting, but discussion, otherwise, throughout the meeting will be limited. “As this is a selectman's meeting, not a public informational hearing and the board needs to get things done.”
Following suit with other towns throughout the River Valley, Chairman Holland made the decision in an effort to streamline the process of the meeting and to allow selectmen to pay adequate attention to agenda items.
The public will be able to voice their concerns and comments during their designated time unless the conversation warrants public input or clarification is needed, the decision is to help sway repetitive comments on one topic.
Another issue brought up during the weekly Monday night meeting was the concern that Dwight Hines brought to the forefront several weeks ago. Hines claims that the Peru board is not in compliance with Maine Municipal Association's (MMA) rules for adequate notice of a public meeting and that they have not been abiding by Maine FOAA guidelines for documents to be available to the public.
According to a letter that Hines sent to Attorney General Schneider on July 12, he noted, “There have been and are written complaints about irregularities and inaccuracies in the minutes of meetings and in production of documents pursuant to Maine FOAA, and because the board of selectmen had a cavalier, dismissive attitude toward the objections about the failure to lawfully notice the meeting, the multiple violations are willful violations for investigation and prosecution pursuant of Maine law.”
Hines will continue to look in to this matter while attending the weekly meetings.
As for the town office budget, Town Clerk Vera Parent noted that she is researching ways to cut back by $10,000, which was voted on by citizens in June.
She is looking at possibly cutting cleaning costs and making employees be responsible, however, this would cause more work for employees if others were to be utilizing the building, causing more foot traffic.
“We need to cut $10,000 and don't know where,” noted Parent. She also mentioned that the deputy clerk is used very little and maybe they would have to start monitoring supplies more closely.
Chairman Holland noted that he would like to see freeze on the town office budget authorizing any purchases and each selectman should create a list of where cuts could be made and have it ready to discuss at their next meeting.
Citizen Mark Irish suggested that the board stop paying $2900 for MMA membership annually for their opinion, with Parent replying that they provide more than just their opinion. “The town has no attorney on retainer, it would be very costly.”
The Peru Board of Seletmen meet every Monday night at 6 p.m. For more information on Peru Selectman's Meetings, contact the town office by calling 562-4627.