Selectmen table town council ordinance

MADAWASKA, Maine— The Madawaska Board of Selectmen withdrew for further consideration from a meeting on Monday, April 3, an ordinance which, if approved by voters, would have altered the format of the town’s governing body to that of a town council.

Leaders made the decision following a public hearing on the matter at the Madawaska Town Office Council Chambers.

The proposed ‘Ordinance for the Creation, Authority and Duties of a Madawaska Town Council,’ if adopted, would have allowed the council more governing authority than the board of selectmen currently enjoys.

The selectmen instead recommended forming a charter commission which would spend 9-12 months developing a municipal charter outlining which type of government they want for the town, according to Town Manager Ryan Pelletier.

At an election to take place no sooner than July 3, voters will decide whether they want to institute the charter commission. If voters approve the charter commission, voters then will select charter commission members at the same election.

At least 85 days prior to the election date, nomination papers will be available at the Madawaska Town Office for those who wish to run for a position on the charter commission.

Also at Monday’s meeting, Town Manager Ryan Pelletier outlined proposed cuts to the 2017-18 municipal budget. The recommended savings amount to $106,300 and bring the total proposed budget down to $5,095,868. If approved by voters, the budget will allow the town to maintain the current mill rate of 18.7.

The cuts include more than $64,000 in savings by not filling one full-time administrative position which became vacant due to a resignation and one part-time position with the Parks and Recreation Department which Pelletier said he anticipates will become vacant due to an impending retirement.

The town will save $48,700 in wages and benefits by not filling the administrative position. The town will also save $16,000 by not filling a part-time position in the parks and recreation department.

Other cuts which Pelletier proposed include a reduction of $5,000 to the sesquicentennial budget and reducing the proposed cost of living adjustment for town employees by .75 percent, which Pelletier said would result in a savings of $7,850.

The Budget Committee will review the proposed cuts at their next meeting on Monday, April 10.

At Monday’s meeting, the Board of Selectmen also discussed how they will dispose of 16 different properties which the town acquired as a result of non-payment of taxes by property owners. Pelletier told the selectmen that in the past the town has offered such properties back to the owners, allowing the owners a 30-day window in which to make arrangements to pay the back taxes. The selectmen voted unanimously to approve that option.

Documents related to Monday’s meeting are available at the Madawaska Town Office or online here:

The next Madawaska Board of Selectmen’s meeting will take place on Monday, May 1, at 5:15 p.m. at the town office council chambers.

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