October 1, 2008

Andover Official Takes Issue With News Story

By Barry Matulaitis

ANDOVER - Selectwoman Trudy Akers is displeased with a recent article in the Bethel Citizen, stating at Tuesday's selectmen's meeting that she felt Chairwoman Susan Merrow was unfairly taken to task for the tardiness of the town's tax commitment.

"You can't blame Susan," Akers said. "It was a combination of reasons."

A critical part of the democratic process, emphasized Akers, is the ability of people to share different viewpoints with one another in a diplomatic fashion. She noted that she felt the board of herself, Merrow and Donna Libby has been able to achieve that thus far in their three months together.

"I think we're learning to work together," Akers concluded. "We all have different ideas; we don't agree on everything."

There is an ongoing problem with the overflow bin, which used to be used for recycling at the transfer station. According to Merrow, the dividers and door are located in such a way that it is impossible for all of the items in the bin to be emptied at the drop- off point in Norridgewock.

The end result is that an employee there is forced to climb into the container to get the rest of the trash out, creating a potentially dangerous situation. Merrow suggested that the end panel at the top of the container be cut open and attached to the door so that all of the trash can be dumped out without a worker going in.

The container is taken to Norridgewock about four times each year. "It's only used if the timing doesn't work out with the trash compactor for household waste," Merrow added.

Town Hall Committee member Elissa Thibodeau gave an update on the first floor paint job at the building that is creating a strong odor weeks after it was applied. Apparently, the layers of the enamel paint failed to stick, causing the smell.

Thibodeau recommended that the first floor be used for events with proper ventilation, such as propping open a window or two.

The selectmen reviewed the town hall use by different organizations. There is a proposal by the Town Hall Committee for a $75 rental fee for residents, $150 for nonresidents, and $87 for nonprofit groups, with a cleaning fee of $75 and a $100 refundable damage deposit.

People who use the hall are expected to remove trash from the floor and put back tables and chairs they use. Other cleaning is done by the town's custodian.

"If you had the hot water (upstairs), it would make it easier to clean the floor," said Victor Peterson, pointing out that while there is hot water on the first floor, none exists on the second floor.

The board approved a new, properly rated ladder for the town hall pending a review of the budget to make sure there is enough money to make the purchase.

Some roof work is set to take place at the Fire Station. Fire Chief Ken Dixon said Fire Department volunteers were capable of doing the work, and asked selectmen for their thoughts on the matter.

Akers suggested that he go ahead and have somebody in the department perform the project. Dixon said he would get a price on the job to the selectmen before any work commences.

On Wednesday, the state minimum wage increases to $7.25 per hour. Three town employees will receive raises to the $7.25 rate.

In other business, selectmen approved Bangor Savings Bank as the source for the town's tax anticipation notes for the upcoming year, and accepted a general assistance ordinance from the Maine Department of Health and Human Services.

Originally published by Special to the Sun Journal.

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