Dover-Foxcroft seeks plan for reuse of Central Hall

Posted Dec. 14, 2009, at 11:28 p.m.
Last modified Jan. 30, 2011, at 12:07 p.m.

DOVER-FOXCROFT, Maine — As directed by selectmen Monday, the Dover-Foxcroft Historical Society will study the proposed reuse of Central Hall and report back to the board by March 22, 2010.

Town office functions were relocated last December from the historic building to the former Morton Avenue Elementary School. Since then, the hall has been used by the local food cupboard.

Chris Maas of the historical society told selectmen Monday that a working group had met once to discuss a mission statement as to what to do with the building and how to keep it going. While the group would seek and study proposals for the reuse of Central Hall, it also would seek partnerships and fundraising possibilities that would allow the society to keep it historically useful. The charge would be to return to the board in March and have two options: a way to save the building or to get it on the market, Maas said.

Anyone interested in participating in the discussions is encouraged to contact Maas.

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Dover-Foxcroft Fire Chief Joseph Guyotte updated the board on the fire station project. Voters last month approved a loan of up to $100,000 to replace the concrete floor and substandard base material in the building.

A few problems have popped up because of the age of the building, according to Guyotte. One glitch is that the station is served by a 100-year-old water main beneath the stairs. “If we’re going to have the floors up, now is the time to run a new main into that building,” he said.

Guyotte said he hopes that in addition to the new floor, the funds would allow for a new water main and new plumbing that would take the station through another 100 years.

Monday’s public session was dominated, however, by discussion about a slip-up in a paper trail that led to a sewer tax lien and about accusations that some town office workers were spending time on the Internet using Facebook, playing games and shopping.

Resident David Roberts of East Dover said that this spring he and other residents in the neighborhood received a sewer tax bill. He said the former owner of his property, which is outside the sewer district, had never received a sewer bill and he had never received a bill on the property while he owned it nor did he know he was going to receive a bill. Although the sewer was connected years ago, there was no way to meter the water coming in, and it was left at that.

Roberts said he recently received a call from his bank informing him the town had placed a sewer tax lien on his property. “Why wasn’t there a letter sent with the bills or given to those residents down there that this was going to happen?” he asked. Since he felt it was a public service, he paid the approximately $600 bill.

Town Manager Jack Clukey said certified letters were sent with the 30-day notices but apparently Roberts’ was sent to the wrong address.

Flustered, Roberts said he had lived in Dover-Foxcroft for 57 years, everyone knew that he worked at the Piscataquis County Sheriff’s Department, and before that he worked as a Dover-Foxcroft patrol sergeant. “I just cannot believe in a town this size that we can’t get the message to the people affected when we make decisions here. I was completely blown right away.” He then presented the board with an abatement request.

As for the Internet-use issues, one resident said she had proof that employees had conversations on Facebook from 7:30 to 11:30 a.m. on one workday. She suggested that an outside computer firm be retained to determine just how much time the Internet has been used for personal time during workdays.

Clukey said employees are expected to work during work hours. If they are using the Internet for personal business, then that should be addressed, he said.

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