STOCKTON SPRINGS — The Select Board heard Feb. 3 from residents experiencing unreliable internet service, voted to fund the purchase of materials for two new finger docks to be added to the town dock, considered a policy for use of town property at the harbor and opened bids for three town-owned properties.

The meeting began with comments from Fred and Billie Swift of Old County Road. They had previously written to Town Manager Mac Smith to complain about the “spotty and completely inadequate” internet service in their part of town, and got 18 of their neighbors to sign it. The couple also said in their letter and at the meeting that they were concerned about how the lack of reliable high-speed internet service could affect property values.

There was discussion of the availability of state and federal funds to expand broadband access, and board members asked how much money was available and how the town could apply.

It was decided to hold a community information and brainstorming meeting Thursday, Feb. 17, at 6 p.m. at the Town Office. Smith said he hoped some at the meeting might volunteer for a committee to work on improving internet service in Stockton.

Board member Darren Shute presented a request from the Harbor Committee for $6,000 to pay for materials for two new finger docks to be attached to the existing town dock. They would be affixed at right angles to the main dock and would run parallel to the shore.

The new docks would be built with volunteer labor, and Smith told The Republican Journal Feb. 3 that Shute’s son, Justin, who owns Stockton Springs Marine, had offered space at his business for the docks to be built. The board voted to take $6,000 from the Harbor Dock Reserve Account to pay for the materials.

Board members opened bids for three town-owned parcels and select winning bidders. A 1-acre parcel on Harris Road (Map R2, Lot 001) went to Dan Ford of Hope for $3,100. A 14-acre landlocked lot on Harding Street (Map R3-Lot 018) was purchased by Stockton Woodlands Corp. for $5,000. And town Fire Chief Vern Thompson was the successful bidder for a half-acre parcel on Route 1A (Map R2, Lot 158-1), with a bid of $400. In all cases, the board accepted the highest bid received.

Smith presented a proposed harbor storage policy, which would have prohibited the use of town-owned property at the harbor for storage by any entity besides the town, except in an emergency. The board wanted to allow for charitable nonprofits, such as the Stockton Harbor Sailing Center, to use the space as well. Smith will present a revised proposal at the next meeting.

In other business, the board held a public hearing on, and approved, an amended General Assistance Ordinance that brings the town in line with state law. Budget workshops were set for the four Thursdays in March. On those weeks that board has a regular meeting, the budget workshop will follow. On the off weeks, the workshop will run from 8 to 10 a.m.

Finally, Smith announced that the town’s annual election will be Tuesday, June 14, and the board set Saturday, June 18, as the date for the town meeting.

Town vacancies to be filled this year include one three-year seat on the Select Board and the position of fire chief, elected annually. Nomination papers will be available March 3 and must be returned by March 5.

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