The Gorham Town Council decided Tuesday to hold off on setting a date for a referendum on a bond to replace the White Rock School so that town councilors could hear a presentation on the project at a special council meeting July 15.

Councilor Michael Phinney was concerned that the council was expected to set the date and include a note on the ballot that the council recommends the project when he hasn’t heard details about the project.

Councilor Jane Knapp said “concerned councilors” were at all the information meetings and attended the straw votes on the project.

The new school is expected to cost $25.8 million, but the town will pay for only $2.5 million while the state picks up the rest.

School Committee Chairman Jim Hager told councilors plans for the new White Rock school have already received a nod from the Maine Department of Education.

Before the vote was tabled, Town Councilor Phillip Csoros added language to the ballot that will indicate what the increase on taxes for property owners would be if the bond passes, in addition to the cost of the bond. He hopes, in coming months, to make a change to town policy so any ballot question for money appropriations will include the tax impact in the question.

Tick tock

In other news, Town Council Chairman Burleigh Loveitt said he believes he may soon reach a resolution on the clock that was removed from the steeple of the First Parish Congregational Church for repairs in 2006 after it stopped working.

Loveitt has been meeting with representatives of the church and Balzer Family Clock Works in Freeport, where the clock remains. The town, which owns the clock, granted the church an extension in April to give the church more time to raise money for the reinstallation. At the time a representative of the church said an additional $15,000 needed to be raised.

Under a previous agreement reached between the town and the church, the church was to have reinstalled the clock by March 30, and the town was to lease the clock to the church for $1 a month.

Although he couldn’t say exactly when, Loveitt said he believed a resolution that would include where the clock will go, how it’s being paid for, and when it will be installed would be coming soon.

Caldwell condemns charging churches

In other news, Councilor Brenda Caldwell moved to amend the victualer ordinance, which has required churches and nonprofits to get a $10 victualer’s license to hold bean suppers and other food events.

“I was a little surprised last month when we voted for victualer’s license for a church supper,” Caldwell said. “I just can’t see nonprofits and churches paying.”

The Cressey Road United Methodist Church last month applied for a license to hold a bean supper. The council was surprised, and no one seemed to remember other churches applying for a license. Caldwell’s amendment will let churches and nonprofits hold their suppers license-free. The amendment passed unanimously.

Taste of Gorham

Matt Mattingly, owner of the Pine Crest Inn on South Street, received a mass gathering license for a Taste Walk and music festival he is planning for July 27. Local food businesses will be open to give a taste of what they have to offer Gorham, and event-goers will vote on the best local shop to win the Golden Spoon. Music acts from around the country are expected to play at the Pine Crest Inn all afternoon. More details and tickets for the event will be available shortly.

At capacity

In other news, town councilors asked the Capital Improvements Committee to look at the possibility of acquiring land for a new industrial park. Councilor Csoros said the Gorham Industrial Park is at 100 percent capacity.

Wind power

Town Councilor Shonn Moulton returned Sunday from a personal trip to Germany, where he was impressed by the wide array of alternative energy throughout the country.

“Germans have lots of windpower,” Moulton said, in addition to solar and nuclear power. He said the large wind farms do not ruin the beauty of the landscape there, and it’s an energy policy to use as a model.

Projects planned

The council approved a capital improvements project plan that includes new public safety facilities, new financial software, property development, and playing-field construction, among other things. The plan is not set in stone, but identifies a number of projects the town would like to get done, gives them a general priority number, and the estimated time of completion. Most of the projects are a couple years away from receiving closer attention and detailed planning.

Sound planning or fine?

“I’d almost feel better if the state called this a fine,” Csoros said about the need to spend $30,000 on a site plan for the Narragansett School, on the Chick property, which was built in the early 1980s. Apparently a site permit was never issued, which was discovered by the Maine Department of Environmental Protection when a proposal for a new skate park was being discussed.

So as to not completely waste the funds on the retroactive site plan, the town will be doing a “master site plan” for the whole property, which is expected to be developed in coming years.


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.

filed under: