TOPSHAM — In addition to scheduling a June 12 referendum about regulations concerning sale and use of consumer fireworks the Board of Selectmen on March 8 trudged through several other business items, including an appeal of a grievance filed by the Local S/89 District Lodge No. 4 International Association of Machinist and Aerospace Workers — the union that represents Topsham’s public works department employees.

At issue was interpretation in the town’s contract with the union regarding working hours and overtime. The grievance centered on the winter call-in process used since 2004, which allows workers on the list to earn compensation time.

David Sullivan, the business agent for IAMAW, said that the new town manager, public works director and town attorney changed the process. He asked that the initial call-in process be reinstated and argued because the practice had been used since 2004, it is an established practice and therefore binding by law.

After hearing comments from both sides of the matter, Selectman David Douglass made the motion to uphold the town manager’s interpretation regarding the grievance filed for Local S/89 District Lodge No. 4 International Association of Machinist and Aerospace Workers Operations Unit. The motion was defeated 3-2, with Marie Brillant, Andrew Mason and Ron Riendeau voting in opposition, meaning the grievance was upheld.

In other business:

— Town Manager Cornell Knight reported that as directed by selectmen, Town Planner Rich Roedner talked with the Maine Department of Transportation about whether the town’s public works crew would be able to construct the Androscoggin Riverwalk Trail — a trail that will run from the Swinging Bridge, down Summer Street and cross over the Androscoggin River into Brunswick — or if the town could subcontract the work out, because it is being funded through a grant with federal funds.

Roedner has talked with MDOT about how the contract could be structured, but the plan became too complicated, Knight said, so a request for proposals will go out to contractors soon.

— Knight reported that new batting cages are being installed at the recreation fields on Foreside Road. The cages were donated by Atlantic Regional Federal Credit Union and Enterprise Electric. They should be ready to use by April 1.

— Members of the Brunswick Rotary Club presented a $500 donation to the town’s Head of Tide Park.

— With a unanimous vote, selectmen authorized Public Works Director Dennis Cox to post the proposed list of roads to limit heavy loads, recognizing Cox has the authority to grant special exceptions when necessary.

— Selectmen unanimously voted to create a Route 196 Corridor Study Committee as requested by the Comprehensive Plan Implementation Committee. The town’s 2005 comprehensive plan directs the town to conduct a Route 196 corridor plan “that defines a vision for the future of this corridor,” according to a memo from CPIC chair Roger Perkins. It further states, “The plan should examine zoning, land use patterns, transportation patterns, safety and utility extensions.” The corridor plan would go to town meeting and if approved, become part of the comprehensive plan. Town Planner Rich Roedner noted there is funding in the current budget to fund the corridor study.

— Selectmen voted unanimously to renew the town’s annual contract with the Coastal Humane Society for animal control and care services.

— Selectmen unanimously appointed a group of eight residents to serve on the Topsham 250th Celebration Steering Committee: Ron Riendeau, Jane Scease, Timothy Young, Steve Edmondson, Mike Labbe, Pam LeDuc, Ralph Williams and Ruth Lyons.

— Selectmen voted unanimously to ask the Department of Transportation to include in the bid process the cost of replacing existing traffic loops with cameras, as part of the department’s Route 196 mill and fill project scheduled for this summer. The camera system would require less maintenance, according to town officials.

— Selectmen voted unanimously to award the electricity bid for town accounts to Constellation (via Maine PowerOptions) for a lockedin, four-year price of $0.0599 per kilowatt hour (kwh), which Knight said “is quite a savings for a number of accounts we have.” Central Maine Power will do the billing.

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