October 28, 2021

Towns to vote on development project

HARTLAND — Hartland and St. Albans voters will focus on development in the town of Oakland in conjunction with their annual town meetings Saturday.

In St. Albans, town meeting convenes at the town hall at 9 a.m., while in neighboring Hartland, the session gets under way at 10 a.m.

Key on this year’s warrant in both towns is an opportunity for the municipalities to participate in a unique economic development project to be located in Oakland.

The Kennebec Regional Development Authority will be created by the vote of member towns throughout the valley to eventually develop a regional business park in Oakland and ultimately share the revenues. Creation of the authority was made possible by a vote of the 118th Legislature and will allow the participating towns to share revenues from taxes on the property once the development costs are paid.

In Hartland, voters also will act on a funding article to authorize $11,634 as the town’s pro rata share of the first budget of the authority.

The organization, People of the Kennebec, has traveled throughout Somerset and Kennebec counties over the past year promoting the creation of the business park that, it is hoped, will offer more jobs for the entire region. The park will be developed off the Waterville Road and east of Interstate 95.

In Hartland, voters will be asked to appropriate $40,000 for repairs to the Ford Hill Bridge. The current bridge is in marginal condition, according to Town Manager Peggy Morgan and needs new box culverts installed. The reconstruction is not a state-funded project, she said.

St. Albans voters face a possible debate on the merits of buying a four-wheel-drive public works truck vs. a two-wheel drive. The budget committee recommendation favors a two-wheel drive for $45,000, while individuals in the community may amend the article with an additional $20,000 to fund the four-wheel drive.

The new truck will replace one of two trucks now in use, a 27-year-old two-wheel drive or a 20-year-old four-wheel drive. The latter truck is used only for plowing in the winter, according to Town Manager Larry Post. A four-wheel drive was requested originally, because of the difficult terrain town crews are plowing and sanding in the rural community, Post said.

For the second year, St. Albans voters will be asked to approve a building and notification ordinance requiring residents to notify the town of new construction and establishing minimum standards for occupying a new building. The ordinance was defeated by two votes the last time it came before voters.

Elections are slated in both towns on Friday, March 5. The polls open at 10 a.m. in each town.

Hartland First Selectman Dale Hubbard has two challengers on the ballot. Harry Gould and Stephen Estes both are running for the position. Second Selectman Shirley Humphrey and Third Selectman Harlow Powers are running unopposed for re-election.

Joyce Halford is unopposed for re-election as Hartland town clerk. Dorothy Humphrey is unopposed for re-election as a Hartland representative to the SAD 48 board of directors.

In St. Albans, Harlan Cooper and Chester Morse Jr. both are seeking re-election to the three-member Board of Selectmen. Jim Bullock is running for a seat being vacated by Marian Spalding.

Stacey Desrosiers and Ron Finson are both seeking re-election, unopposed, as town clerk and road commissioner, respectively. Ron Fowle is unopposed on the ballot for re-election to the SAD 48 board of directors. Bonnie Lawrence recently announced a write-in campaign for Fowle’s position.

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