Greenville selectmen consider ethics policy

Posted March 07, 2010, at 10:05 p.m.
Last modified Jan. 30, 2011, at 12:04 p.m.

GREENVILLE, Maine — As conflicts of interest surface in other Maine communities, Greenville selectmen hope to head off similar issues should they arise in their community by adopting an ethics policy.

The town has never had an ethics policy, and Eugene Murray, chairman of the Board of Selectmen, considers adopting one a priority. The policy would provide guidelines should a conflict arise, he said Saturday.

As requested, Town Manager John Simko provided selectmen on Wednesday with copies of ethics policies from Bridgton, St. Albans, Kennebunkport and Bar Harbor. Board members will draw from those policies what they believe will be a fit for Greenville.

Also last week, selectmen discussed expenditures and revenues as town officials begin to craft a 2010 budget for a June town meeting vote. Simko said it’s difficult to pull the expenditures together now because of some “sizable changes” that will be made in the community, including closing the landfill and constructing a trans-fer station. He said a piece of those projects will be done this year but which piece and the accompanying price tag have not yet been determined.

Additionally, town officials are exploring the possibility of reducing the public works department from three to two full-time employees and hiring a seasonal worker to bridge the gap. This move would save on wages and benefits, according to Simko.

Selectmen also have solicited bids for plowing about a 5-mile square from Wilson Pond and the side roads on the south end of town. At this point, the bids, which close Friday, March 12, will help determine whether there could be a savings from the routine operation.

Based on the current revenue forecast, it appears the town would need to drop total expenditures by $24,433 to yield a flat budget, according to Simko. If Gov. John Baldacci’s budget is defeated, then the total drop needed would be reduced to $10,528, he said.

The governor’s proposal would reduce the percentage of sales tax and income tax receipts that go to revenue sharing statewide in order to balance the budget, and every community would be hurt, he said.

“I think it’s very poor policy to do that. The whole purpose of revenue sharing is to purposely reduce the property tax burden,” he said. “If you purposely reduce the amount of money that goes for property tax relief then you are, by definition, causing the property tax levy to go up.”

Selectmen on Wednesday also heard a request from the Moosehead Sanitary District to decrease the number of trustees on its board. The district has a couple of trustees who aren’t as active as the others on the board and it makes it difficult to reach a quorum, Simko said. Selectmen agreed to put an article on the town meeting warrant seeking a change in the board’s membership.

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