The Scarborough Town Council will consider several proposed charter amendments, including a provision to recall town officials, during a workshop tonight.

The current charter doesn’t have a recall provision and that’s a problem, according to Kerry Corthell, vice chair of the Charter Review Committee.

“Anything you put on or elect, you should be able to take off or remove,” she said.

Under the committee’s proposal, 25 voters or more could initiate a recall petition. A recall vote would be held if the petition was signed, within 20 days, by the equivalent of 25 percent of the voters in the previous gubernatorial election — a figure that now stands at 2,207.

At least that many people would have to vote in the recall election for the vote to be valid.

There is also a proposal to provide a way for voters to overrule Town Council decisions on the conveyance of town property valued at more than $400,000. Some argued that the dollar figure should be lower, particularly after a dispute over the land swap between the town and the Lighthouse Inn last summer.

Under the swap, which the Pine Point Residents Association vehemently opposed, the motel got the portion of Depot Road that runs alongside its building and the town got the opposite side, bordering other town property. The swap allows motel guests to park in front of their units rather than across the street, and the town has developed a passenger drop-off area, a small park and a walkway.

Judy Shirk, a Pine Point resident, suggested that the town require voter approval for all transfers of town property worth more than $50,000. The charter committee did not adopt her suggestion.

“Everybody said that’s unrealistic,” said Linwood Higgins, a member of the committee. “We didn’t buy into the $50,000 and we didn’t buy into the idea that every land transaction would need voter approval.”

Scarborough’s charter already provides a way for voters to overrule Town Council actions like ordinances and capital improvement appropriations over $100,000.

Corthell said there was little public input in the charter review process, which is required every 10 years.

To put the proposed charter amendments on the November ballot, the Town Council must act by Sept 1. Each proposal would have its own ballot question.

Tonight’s workshop is scheduled to begin at 6 in Council Chamber A of the Municipal Building.

 

Staff Writer Ann S. Kim can be contacted at 791-6383 or at: [email protected]