MILO, Maine — Last month, the Board of Selectmen tabled a decision on an ordinance to create a seven-member budget committee to work on the municipal spending plan following the annual town meeting in March. During a selectmen’s meeting on Nov. 13 the board voted to adopt the ordinance as written.
“The budget committee ordinance was read at the last meeting,” Town Manager David Maynard said. “I have not had any direct feedback from the public,” he said.
Maynard said there were a few comments at the Oct. 16 selectmen’s meeting but nothing has been addressed to him on the ordinance since.
Maynard said that in consultations with the town attorney, it was determined the ordinance could be adopted either by a town meeting vote or by the selectmen, with citizens objecting having the right to petition to place a challenge to the ordinance on the town meeting warrant.
For a number of years the budget committee was composed of 11 members. The town charter indicates that the committee members are to be appointed by the selectmen, but further details are not provided. At the board’s request, Maynard and legal counsel created the budget committee ordinance.
The seven committee members, a number deemed to allow for a more workable group, are to be appointed on a yearly basis after the annual town meeting, with one designated as the chairman. Six will be local residents, one can be a non-resident property owner to represent that segment of the town population, and they will review, comment on and suggest revisions to the manager’s budget draft.
The town manager will prepare an initial draft between Oct. 1 and Dec. 1, and when finished the budget committee chairman will call for a review of the spending plan. By Jan. 10 the committee will have finished its review and made written comments for budget revisions. No later than the second meeting in January will the budget, along with all comments on recommendations, be presented to the selectmen, who will vote on a final municipal spending plan to be presented at town meeting.
In other business, Maynard provided an update on a potential development at the Eastern Piscataquis Industrial Park. He said the town has a grant of approximately $350,000 that needs to be used by next September on infrastructure at the site, such as permitting and roads and entrances from Park Street to the property.
Maynard said if these improvements are scheduled and the town receives a letter of commitment from a business to locate at the park, then the state will be able to come in and fund a portion of the development work.
“We have a company interested; they have not made a full commitment,” he said. “There are
circumstances beyond our control which could cause problems with timing.”
The negotiations between the town and business, which may also be looking at locations elsewhere in Maine and in other states, are continuing and a letter of commitment to the state would be confidential, as are the continuing discussions. Maynard said the business may have 100 to 300 employees with tractor-trailers coming and going, and “the proposal we are talking about is all taxable.”
“I will tell you I don’t think anyone in Milo will be unhappy if this business locates here,” he said.
Another current project has been improvements to the town hall kitchen. The selectmen authorized Maynard to sign an agreement with Plymouth Engineering for $4,950 for design services. The firm will prepare all the construction documents to get the kitchen fully equipped and compliant with regulations.
The construction plans would go out to bid at the end of the month, and be due back by Dec. 20. If returned bids fall within budget, the kitchen work would be done during the first months of 2013.
Just down the street from the town hall is another potential project. Maynard said Milo officials have been trying to get the tight intersection of West Main and Elm streets fixed. He said a letter from the Maine Department of Transportation and Maine Department of Economic and Community Development said the agencies are committed to the intersection improvements as part of a larger Route 11 project.
Maynard said full-turn radiuses would be put in at the intersection. “They have agreed to try to acquire right-of-ways and get started right away,” he said. “We have agreed to participate in intersection design work.”
Maynard said the town would not sign an agreement unless the MDOT agrees to cover all the expenses. Selectmen approved a motion making that a requirement.
In his first few months on the job, Maynard said he has often heard about a need for a senior housing complex in town, which could provide different options, such as independent living spaces and assisted living accommodations, all on site to allow residents to remain in Milo.
Maynard said the Golden Key Senior Center in Lincoln has contacted the community about the possibility of such a facility in town, saying in a posting on the Three Rivers Community website that a center with 100-150 residents could do well in Milo.
“We are going to be meeting in the very near future to discuss a real estate matter,” Maynard said. “Yes, this is a very real possibility. I would say at this time the town is looking at a very large number of new jobs with this and the town is looking at a new tax base.”
He said there are grant possibilities available to assist with the development of a senior complex site. “We can do this so it would become a magnet for people who want to go into this type of facility,” Maynard said.