2012-04-05 / Front Page

Draft ballot lists 6 choices

TOPSHAM FIREWORKS
BY DARCIE MOORE Times Record Staff

TOPSHAM — The Board of Selectmen will meet tonight to review six fireworks-related draft ballot questions that will go to Topsham voters at the polls June 12.

The meeting will start at 7 p.m. at the municipal building, 100 Main St.

A new state law legalized the sale and use of consumer fireworks as of Jan. 1. After a lengthy discussion at their March 8 meeting about letting voters at the May 16 town meeting determine municipal rules on the sale and use of consumer fireworks in Topsham, selectmen voted 4-1 to decide the matters by townwide referendum on June 12. Selectman David Douglass opposed the motion.

The draft ballot lists six questions. The first ballot question gives voters the option to neither regulate or prohibit the sale of consumer fireworks. If passed, it would permit the sale of consumer fireworks throughout Topsham in accordance with state law.

Another question asks if voters would enact an ordinance amendment that would regulate the sale of consumer fireworks, and a third asks voters if they would enact an ordinance prohibiting the sale of fireworks.

Similarly, there are three ballot questions related to the use of consumer fireworks. The first would opt out of enacting any municipal rules regulating the use of consumer fireworks, therefore permitting the use in accordance with state law.

An additional question asks voters if they wish to enact an ordinance regulating the use of consumer fireworks; and the last questions asks voters if they want to enact an outright ban on the use of consumer fireworks in Topsham.

Other business

At tonight’s meeting, selectmen also will consider action on a notice of claim against the town for water damage to a home at 52 Bridge St. Melissa Dowling of Harpswell owns the property.

According to the statement claim the town was served with March 21, Dowling alleges the basement was dry prior to Sept. 26, 2011, when major excavations started by the town’s public works department in front of the property resulted in severe basement flooding. She seeks $2,137.15 as reimbursement for waterproofing costs.

The Maine Municipal Association Property and Casualty Pool provides liability coverage for the town, and in a March 28 letter to Dowling, claims representative Randa Veilleux states in part, “We have carefully examined the circumstances surrounding the incident and believe we have sufficient information to make a proper decision regarding this claim. We only pay for those damages for which our member is legally responsible. After reviewing the facts and applying what we understand to be the applicable law, it is our opinion that the town of Topsham is not legally responsible for your damages.”

Selectmen also are scheduled to consider action on the following:

— A request from the Topsham Housing Authority to submit on its behalf an application to the Department of Community and Economic Development’s Community Development Housing Loan Fund program for $300,000.

— Three tax-acquired properties. All three are mobile homes and one includes 2.6 acres. A total of $5,697 is due in taxes. Notices were sent to the owners but the town had received no response as of March 29.

— A contract with Androscoggin Bank for online collection service.

— Establishing an agreedupon boundary between the town of Topsham transfer station property and Mary Elwell.

— Engaging Smith & Associates, CPAs as the town auditors and scheduling the 2012 fiscal year audit.

— Appointing Ed Mendes to the 250 Celebration Committee.

— Inclusion of ordinance amendments on the town meeting warrant. These include proposed Historic District amendments; subdivision ordinance amendments; and sign ordinance amendments.

Selectmen are scheduled to enter into executive session to discuss police negotiations.

dmoore@timesrecord.com

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