As expected, last week the town clerk received a petition seeking to overturn the town’s ban on the sale and use of consumer fireworks, which selectmen will discuss Thursday putting before voters on the Nov. 6 ballot.

The meeting will start at 7 p.m. at the municipal building located at 100 Main St.

Topsham voters had three options before them in a June 12 referendum addressing both sale and use of consumer fireworks; in each case they could indicate a desire to adhere to state law regulating consumer fireworks; enact an ordinance limiting the sale and use to specific areas of town; or adopt an outright ban. Prohibition of both sale and use of fireworks won out as a result of the six-option ballot.

Following the vote, Selectman David Douglass — strictly as a citizen and independent of the board — began circulating a petition to overturn the dual fireworks ban, arguing the three-part questions confused voters and split the vote of those who wanted to allow some level of fireworks in town between the option to follow state law or adopt a local ordinance regulating fireworks. He proposed a clear “yes” or “no” question.

On Monday, Sept. 10, he submitted the petition to Town Clerk Ruth Lyons, who certified it contained the 468 signatures — meeting the minimum requirement of 459 signatures representing 10 percent of the number of Topsham voters who cast ballots in the 2010 gubernatorial election. There were 39 signatures determined to be invalid.

The petition reads, “To see if the town will overturn the Prohibition on the Sale and use of Consumer Fireworks as defined in Topsham Code, Chapter 125 — Prohibition of the sale of Consumer Fireworks and Chapter 126 — Prohibition of the use of Consumer Fireworks and therefore permit the Sale and Use in accordance with State Law.”

In June, Lyons said upon receipt of a valid petition, selectmen can call a town meeting or hold a referendum within 60 days. Douglass said his goal was to have the petition question appear on the municipal ballot on Nov. 6.

Donald Russell, chairman of the Board of Selectmen, said the board will discuss Thursday putting the question on the Nov. 6 ballot given the town is approaching the deadline to make absentee ballots available to voters, which it must do at least 30 days prior to the election. Russell said while he doesn’t yet have a sense from the full board, he anticipates the board will vote to place the question on the ballot for the general election, which will allow the voters to vote on the issue as soon as possible.

The general election is Topsham’s annual town meeting because it is when municipal officers are elected. The board is required to put the question to a public vote through the petition process and Thursday will be following through with that procedure, Russell said.

Selectmen will vote Thursday on opening the polls on Nov. 6 at 7 a.m. for state and federal elections and the town’s annual town meeting. The requested opening time of 7 a.m. is an hour earlier than the polls have opened before.

The board is scheduled to consider a contract with Amenico to recycle vegetable oil at the transfer station on Townsend Way. The company will supply a tank and pick up oil, and pay 45 percent of the New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX) Heating Oil index price, according to the agenda item description.

The Board of Selectmen is also scheduled to consider a 10-year cable TV franchise agreement with Comcast; awarding a contract for consulting services to assist in the development of a Route 196 corridor plan; accepting changes made to the rules and order of procedure for Topsham municipal officers; and will hear a report from the MidCoast Council of Goverments’ consultant, Sarah Curran of Planning Decisions, on a transportation study and an update from John Shattuck, the town’s economic and community development director.



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