Based on concerns from one resident, Knox selectmen will meet Tuesday, June 27, with the town attorney to get clarification on several recent special town meeting votes.

There were five articles on the warrant for the May 31 special town meeting, all of which were approved, according to minutes provided by the town. Town Clerk Carol Hamblet on June 16 said fewer than 50 people attended the meeting, which approved $4,000 for repairs to Hearse House, authorized selectmen to enter into a snow plow contract for three years, authorized a total of $115,000 to pay the first year of the snow plow contract, agreed to fund $40,000 for repair and maintenance of roads and $338,000 for paving.

Few changes to the articles were made by voters, Hamblet said, reading from the meeting minutes. Changes included amending the Hearse House article to require metal roofing rather than shingles and a citizen request to reach out to the town's insurance company regarding the snow plow contract and bonding.

Objections were voiced on several articles relating to roads, including the legality of awarding a contract without going through the competitive bidding process. Hamblet said she could not speak for selectmen but stated the board “didn't feel the plow contract needed to go out to bid.”

Selectman Galen Larrabee said June 17 he contacted Maine Municipal Association and was advised that plow contracts do not have to go out to bid, and that the amount of the contract was low enough not to require bonding.

Having a performance bond attached to a contract allows the town to have money available to hire another party if the conditions of the contract are not met. Larrabee said the town has been paying $6,000 per year for bonding its snow plow contract and not requiring a bond with the new contract will save the town money.

Neither Hamblet nor Larrabee indicated if the town has a purchasing policy in place outlining a dollar figure threshold requiring a bidding process, but Larrabee said typically selectmen decide on a case-by-case basis.

"Selectmen are in a gray area 68 percent of the time," he said. "We have to run the town."

While there is no contract in place yet, Larrabee said it is expected to be awarded to a town resident with more than 15 years' experience who is reliable and has a good work ethic.

In March, residents approved $110,000 for the snow plowing contract but many objected to extending the contract with Brad Aiken & Sons Trucking, citing slow clearing of roads. Ultimately, the contract extension was defeated and selectmen in May notified the company the remainder of the contract was being canceled, according to meeting minutes. At the special town meeting, additional money was approved to bring the total authorized for the snow plowing contract to $115,000.

Legal advice is being sought on two other articles approved May 31 — article 5, $40,000 for repair and maintenance of roads, and article 6, $338,000 for paving. At issue is a donation of gravel — which Larrabee valued somewhere between $40,000 and $65,000 — because the giver attached the condition it be used on Shibles Road. Under state law, title 30, M.R.S.A ss 5664, the acceptance of conditional gifts must have voter approval, a resident pointed out, according to meeting minutes.

"I know the person behind it (the legal concerns) and he's not against it but wants to make sure it's legal," Larrabee said. He declined to comment further on the matter but said more information will be available after the June 27 meeting.

Both articles are in question because the article about paving involves Shibles Road. Article 5 was approved with a show of hands vote 25-19; article 6 was approved 23-17.

June 20, a Kenney Road landowner contacted The Journal with additional concerns, calling Shilbles Road "a road to nowhere." He said there are major thoroughfares in town where the funding would be better spent.

"I'm just appalled that it's got this far," he said.

The meeting with the town attorney will take place at the Town Office at 6:30 p.m. as part of the regularly scheduled meeting of selectmen.