Hartford selectmen drop mil rate

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HARTFORD — Selectmen set a significantly lower tax rate last week – which comes in at $1.55 less than the previous year – mostly due to a decreased roads budget.

At their Thursday, Oct. 15 meeting, Hartford selectmen dropped the mil rate to $17.70 per $1,000 of assessed value from $19.25. The Road Committee asked for nearly $100,000 less for the fiscal 2016 budget for summer roads because at the time, there were unanswered questions surrounding the Gurney Hill Road project. Other factors in lowering the mil rate include a $20,500 decrease in the town’s contribution to Regional School Unit 10 and paying off the salt shed loan.

Planning Board Chairman Arthur Harvey attended the meeting and said he wasn’t representing the board in an official capacity last week. He brought up the issue of Camp Wekeela wanting to expand its dining hall, which was an issue addressed six years ago.

He said the Planning Board decided the camp was a commercial enterprise and “therefore they cannot expand it in any way or change the use within the Shoreland Zone,” which measures 250 feet from the water. This decision was appealed to the Appeal Board, which upheld the Planning Board’s original ruling. Harvey added the camp did not make a formal application yet, but just sent the Planning Board a letter about the proposed project.

“I don’t know if the present Planning Board can reverse the decision that was made six years ago,” he said. “I am not in the position to call [Maine Municipal Association] myself, but I think it should be done.”

In other news, Selectmen Chair Lee Holman said she would contact Paul Bernier, owner of the school bus and emergency vehicle turnaround on his Camp Road property where he has erected a barricade because of a family and legal dispute. She said she would encourage him to attend the Thursday, Nov. 5 selectmen’s meeting with all of his materials to address the issue.

Road Commissioner Alan “Bim” McNeil reported Lane Construction began working on the roads project the same day as the meeting and paving was scheduled to start this week.

Clarence Hill was appointed by Maine Forrest Ranger Art Lavoie as they town’s new fire warden. The spot was vacated recently by Norman St. Pierre. Anyone looking to reach Hill can call him at 402-9577.

It was reported Rural Community Action Ministry will host its Empty Bowls Supper from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 21, at the Town Hall at 1196 Main St. Costs are $10 for adults, $5 for children 12 and younger or $25 for a family up to five. The first 50 will receive a handmade pottery bowl and funds raised will support the ministry’s Hunger Prevention Services.

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