NORTHPORT — The Select Board approved a new Freedom of Access policy, authorized Town Administrator James Kossuth to nominate the town’s Broadband Internet Committee for an award and discussed several other items at its Oct. 13 meeting.

The meeting began with a public hearing on the Freedom of Access policy, which was revised to bring it into compliance with state law. The main changes were that the new policy specifies that the town must acknowledge a freedom of access request within five days of receiving it, and the fee for copying went from $0.25 per page to $0.10 per page. No members of the public were present to comment on the policy, and it was approved unanimously.

Kossuth asked for authorization to nominate the Broadband Internet Committee for a Small Town America Civic Volunteer Award, presented to individuals and voluntary organizations nominated by small communities and counties with populations of 25,000 or less. The award recognizes service above and beyond expectations to the nominating community or county with prizes of $20,000, $10,000 and $5,000, respectively, to the top three honorees. The program is sponsored by CivicPlus, a maker of municipal software.

Select Board member Shelly Patten responded, “They’ve done an amazing job!” Other board members echoed her sentiment, and they authorized Kossuth to make the nomination.

The board also agreed to accept $4,000 for the 100-square-foot property known as the Trefry property on Route 1, which had been acquired for nonpayment of taxes. The lot was sold in September to Maine Energy, which owned land on three sides of it, for less than the $4,600 in taxes and interest that was owed, but, as Kossuth explained to The Republican Journal Oct. 14, the land had been on the town’s books for 17 years and town officials wanted to remove it.

Kossuth also brought up a long-running problem at the transfer station where some residents have abused the town’s credit policy, bringing construction debris and not paying for it, so that Town Office staff have to track them down for payment. Some years ago, the town decided not to allow any cash at the transfer station for the protection of those who work there, and said it would allow those who did not have a check with them to fill out a form so the town could contact them later for payment. Since that policy has now been abused, the board decided to revisit the policy and hold a public hearing once a new proposed policy has been drafted.

The issue of short-term rentals was discussed, with Northport Village Representative Jeffrey Wilt saying it has become much easier for property owners to rent part or all of a home themselves without needing to go through a rental agent, and he and others in Bayside have noticed that more people are doing just that. Patten said she wanted the board to think about how to address the issue before it became a problem in town, and board members agreed to talk to officials in other towns about what they have experienced and how they have responded.

Wilt reported on the village, noting that a grant had been received to plant seven trees and the dock needed repairs to the tune of $14,000. He said the village wants to get the repairs done before winter.

The board also heard a report from John and Jennifer Work of FC Work, which has been doing repairs on several of the town’s roads. All the board members expressed their appreciation for the quality of the work, as well as explanations of what was done provided by the Works. “Priest Road looks absolutely fantastic,” Patten said. The couple said all work would be completed by the end of the month.

Finally, Kossuth discussed a quote for remote meeting equipment submitted by Archangel Computers of Belfast. The quote of $1,377 included a 32-inch monitor, computer, web cam and microphone, plus miscellaneous electrical supplies and a cart for the monitor so it can be moved from room to room. Kossuth recommended multiple microphones, including one for the public, so everyone could be heard online. He said he would talk to Archangel about additional microphones, keeping the cost to no more than $1,500.

The next meeting will be Oct. 25 at 6 p.m. at the Town Office.

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