Joining the ranks of other Waldo County towns that have already done so, voters approved a wind ordinance for their community during the annual town meeting March 27.

In the just under three hours it took to complete the meeting (not counting the hour break for lunch), around 130 residents also had thorough discussions of several items, heard campaign appeals from a number of political candidates and decided to add to the single-line donations recommended by selectmen.

All items on the warrant passed, either as written, or with amendments, most of which were minor. The one exception was the vote to pass over elections for the budget committee.

The meeting began with the election of Don Berry as moderator. In short order, he took those in attendance through the first several warrant items, covering the election of town officers. To keep things moving, Berry invited those who wanted to address the meeting to speak while ballots for the various offices were being counted.

Attendees heard an appeal from Earl Albert of the Liberty Ambulance Service for volunteers. Citing the 144 calls the service responded to last year, he also pointed out that it was asking for the same amount of money — $4,000 — this year as last. Manpower, he said, is critical, and the ambulance service will pay for volunteers to be trained as EMTs.

Several candidates for the District 45 seat in the Maine House of Representatives also spoke, including Republicans Paul Cowan and Peter Sheff, both of Palermo, and Democrat Helen Sahadi of Thorndike. Republican State Senate candidate Mike Thibodeau of Winterport also addressed the crowd.

Montville Volunteer Fire Department President Karen York announced a T-shirt design contest for Montville Field Day. Her husband, Fire Chief John York, announced an anonymous $10,000 grant to the fire department to pay for carbon monoxide detectors for every home in the town. He also appealed for volunteers to join the town’s 10-member squad.

The results of the town officer elections were as follows: Town Clerk Abbie Hills was re-elected and a $13,000 salary approved. Incumbent Treasurer Hannah Hatfield declined to serve another term, nominating Mary Thompson in her place. Thompson was elected, and a $15,000 salary approved.

All three sitting selectmen were re-elected; Jay LeGore as first selectman with a $4,000 salary, Glen Widmer and Herman Peaslee as second and third selectmen, respectively, with $3,000 apiece.

Several of those at the meeting, including LeGore, spoke in appreciation of Hatfield’s work on behalf of the town, not only as treasurer, but also as the prime mover behind Montville Field Day.

For the Planning Board, Vice Chairman Bob Delio, who term was expiring, was nominated and elected, as was newcomer Minnie Walker, and Bernice Nadler was re-elected as an alternate.

There were no nominations for the two, 3-year terms and two, 2-year terms on the budget committee. When no nominations were forthcoming, the meeting voted to pass over the item, leaving Chairman Greg Hills the only member of the committee.

The meeting next turned to the wind ordinance, with a number of people speaking both for and against the measure. Most forceful against the ordinance was G. W. Martin, who objected to an unsigned letter included in the warrant that he said expressed a favorable view of the measure. Peaslee apologized, saying the letter was from the committee that had written the ordinance and it had simply not occurred to him that the letter was unsigned.

Martin went on to assert that the ordinance was too vague, and should define more clearly what types of windmills fell under its restrictions. He was concerned, he said, that without further clarification, the measure could be applied to smaller windmills for domestic power production, rather than just the industrial turbines the ordinance intended to regulate.

Another speaker agreed with Martin and went on to suggest that in the future smaller windmills might be able to generate orders of magnitude more power than they can today, making them more economical. Thus, he didn’t want the ordinance to regulate the capacity of windmills, only their size.

Another speaker said the capacity of home windmills was unlikely to increase significantly because the laws of physics wouldn’t permit it.

He was followed by Anna Antaki, a member of the wind committee, who said Martin was reading the ordinance incorrectly and taking things out of context. She assured residents that the ordinance would only apply to commercial turbines.

Another wind committee member observed that the committee had tried to distinguish “between powering your farm and powering New Jersey.”

Resident Bob Brooks spoke in favor of the ordinance, again stating that it would only apply to large, commercial projects. “Not one watt from an industrial turbine is going to come to this town,” he said. “Not one.”

A question arose about whether those with grid-tied home windmills who sold power back to Central Maine Power would fall under the ordinance. Antaki explained that they would not, because they would receive a credit on their bill, but no actual payment.

After about half an hour of discussion, the question was called and the measure passed on a ballot vote, 90 to 39. Contacted for comment after the meeting, Peaslee said he had thought the ordinance might be more contentious.

The town next agreed to move up Item 33 on the warrant, which asked the town to approve a one-time exemption from LD1 property-tax limits. Peaslee explained that, even though the portion of the town’s budget raised from taxes had shrunk by almost $6,000 from last year’s $403,000, to $397,957 revenue-sharing from the state had been cut so much that the budget exceeded the LD1 limit.

Since the budget figure did not include amounts for the SAD 3 schools or the county assessment, residents wondered how much the amount for the schools might be. SAD 3 School Board Chairman Glenn Couturier said the district faces a large curtailment in its state funding and must cut $730,000 from this year’s budget just to break even. “We’re running out of rabbits to pull out of the hat,” he said. He said he hoped to keep the budget from rising significantly, adding that the remaining components of the Mount View School complex should be finished soon, and on-budget.

The town voted to allow an exemption to LD1 for this year on a show-of-hands vote.

After a potluck lunch organized by the fire department, around 50 people returned to the meeting.

An order to discontinue the public easement on three quarters of a mile of Moffitt Lane passed, after some discussion.

Several requests for appropriations passed as recommended by the selectmen. When they came to single-line donations — charitable donations made by the town each year to various organizations — Widmer explained that selectmen had recommended giving the same amount of money as last year to organizations that had previously received donations, and none to those that were requesting funds for the first time this year.

Deborah Palmer of Waldo County Action Partners spoke on behalf of her organization, requesting the meeting to consider fully funding WCAP’s request for $5,532, instead of giving it $4,000, like last year. She said WCAP provided $222,902 worth of services to the town last year. Townspeople approved the full request of $5,532.

Fire Chief John York asked residents to approve $100 for the Waldo County Firefighters Association, which had not previously received money from Montville. That request was also approved, adding a total of $1,232 to the single-line donations, which were then approved as amended. The final amount to be raised from taxes, according to Peaslee, was $399,089.

Several residents asked that next year’s warrant include descriptions of organizations requesting funds, so they would have a better idea of what they were being asked to support. Selectmen agreed.

The meeting adjourned about 1:45.

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