Selectmen create fee policy for Clifford Park pavilion rental

Fri, 05/24/2024 - 3:30pm

    To fee or not to fee, that was the question facing Boothbay selectmen May 22 regarding Clifford Park pavilion rentals. After debating the issue, selectmen decided to continue the practice of charging a refundable $100 for Boothbay peninsula residents, but charge organizations not located in one of the four peninsula towns. Selectmen modified their Boothbay Common rental policy in creating one for the new Clifford Park pavilion. Town Manager Dan Bryer began the discussion by recommending a higher refundable fee than charged at Boothbay Common, due to the pavilion’s “commercial grade equipment.”

    But Chairman Chuck Cunningham wondered why the fee was refundable for non-taxpayers when Boothbay taxpayers were paying for the pavilion’s upkeep. He suggested retaining a refundable fee policy for residents, but not for non-residents. Selectman Steve Lewis took a broader view of the proposal. He wanted to modify Cunningham’s proposal by not charging neighboring communities. He also wanted an affordable fee. “I’d like to think Boothbay, Boothbay Harbor and Southport as all one community. I know this is splitting hairs, but do you think Boothbay Harbor would charge a Boothbay resident to use Barrett Park?”

    The new policy allows Bryer to waive a fee under certain circumstances. “I think even a $100 refundable fee may be difficult for some families. I’d like to provide Dan with authority to waive a fee if he thinks it may prevent a family from renting the pavilion for a kid’s birthday party,” Lewis said. 

    In other action, selectmen unanimously approved signing the school budget referendum warrant. On May 22, Boothbay and Boothbay Harbor voters overwhelming approved the $12.7 million 2024-25 school budget during a public vote in the Boothbay Region Elementary School gymnasium. Now comes the validation vote required by state law. Selectman Russell Pinkham wondered why the question didn’t include the proposed budget. “How are people supposed to vote on this? There is no budget figure in the question,” Pinkham said. 

    June 11 is the state referendum and primary day. Boothbay and Boothbay Harbor will head to the polls and vote on the school validation question which reads “Do you favor the Boothbay-Boothbay Harbor Community School District budget for the upcoming year adopted at the latest District Budget meeting.” 

    Bryer told selectmen he planned on posting the $12.7 million budget number outside the municipal building, but he wasn’t sure if he was allowed to post it inside. “Municipal law and educational law are about as different as you can imagine. I need to check with our lawyer about what is permitted,” he said. During the discussion, Cunningham characterized the proposed budget as a “20% increase to Boothbay voters.” Pinkham added, “Whether you are for it or against it, shouldn’t you know what it is?”

    Selectmen approved a special amusement permit renewal for Cabbage Island Clambakes, and a Central Maine Power pole permit request for a new midspan pole on Shipbuilders Road. Selectmen meet next at 6 p.m. Wednesday, June 12 in the conference room.