Board sets special town meeting for June 4
Sixteen days after Edgecomb’s annual town meeting, residents will reconvene for a special town meeting at 6 p.m. June 4 to consider authorizing pursuit of funding for a new fire truck. At town meeting May 19, residents overwhelmingly supported holding a special one prior to the fiscal year’s end.
Fire department officials hoped earlier this spring residents would vote on purchasing a $247,600 Fast Attack vehicle equipped with a Ford F-550 chassis. It would replace two other department vehicles nearly 40 years old. But town officials believed they couldn’t assemble enough financial information prior to town meeting to seek voter approval to buy the truck.
Selectmen want tax increment financing funds to partially pay for it. Selectmen told residents at town meeting, TIF funds could pay up to 70 percent. In past years, town officials unsuccessfully inquired about using TIF funds to buy municipal equipment. Under the town’s current TIF agreement, only municipal infrastructure is eligible for funding.
But in recent months, selectmen have sought legal input about amending the agreement to allow TIF funds' use for municipal equipment purchases. The board hired Bangor law firm Eaton Peabody for guidance. Voter approval is needed for the truck and any amendments to the municipal TIF agreement.
In other action May 21, selectmen discussed the town meeting’s aftermath. Residents approved $123,524 for the Boothbay Region Refuse Disposal District’s operation. Edgecomb is one of four district members. Selectmen are concerned about the district’s long term financial condition. The district purchased Giles Rubbish, Inc. in April for $1.363 million.
Following the sale, District Station Manager Steve Lewis visited all four member-town select boards and discussed how the transaction impacted membership. But Edgecomb leaders still have concerns about the quasi-municipal organization purchasing a for profit business. Selectmen are formulating a series of questions to better understand their financial responsibility.
“We just want some assurances what they did is legal,” Selectman Ted Hugger said. “There are also questions like what happens if the private business encumbers any debt. How would this impact the local taxpayers?”
Selectmen will seek legal advice on whether or not a municipal nonprofit, such as the BRRDD, can purchase a for profit business, like Giles Rubbish, Inc. Town officials will also communicate with local Refuse District Board Member Curt Crosby and the entire BRRDD board.
Selectmen also unanimously granted approval for a local Jehovah Witness group to rent the municipal building. The group will meet three times per week beginning in June. The town is charging $50 per meeting on Sundays and Tuesdays, and $25 for Saturdays.
The selectmen will meet next in two weeks following the special town meeting in the municipal building.