WATERBORO — On Nov. 6, voters will decide whether to allow all terrain vehicles on some public roads, bond a new fire truck to replace a 20-year-old model and add a provision to the charter to allow the town to operate should the annual budget fail at the polls.

The ATV question, “Are you in favor of allowing ATV use on certain town roads, if controlled by a municipal ordinance?,” is non-binding.

At a public hearing earlier this month, one of two scheduled on the three referendum questions, Ossipee Mountain ATVers Club President Todd Abbott pointed out that approval of the question is merely the beginning of a process that could lead to an ordinance.

The Ossipee Mountain ATVers Club is looking to use some town roads because private land that used to connect parts of the trail system is no longer available. If voters approve the non-binding question, selectmen would craft an ordinance outlining specifics and there would be further public hearings on the ordinance proposal.

“This is … approval of the creation of an ordinance that would control ATV use,” said Abbott. “An ordinance is a good thing. It gives the town the authority to control it.”

Town Administrator Gary Lamb in an email said  roads currently identified in a draft of a proposed ordinance include parts of Ossipee Hill Road, Deering Ridge Road, Little Ossipee Landing Road and Chadbourne Ridge Road, and all of McLucas Road. The ordinance is merely a draft, he said and that selectmen have not discussed the proposed provisions in detail.

Brian Bronson, the ATV coordinator for the Bureau of Parks and Land within the MaineDepartment of Agriculture. Conservation and Forestry, said other communities in Maine have crafted ATV ordinances — some which include parameters like a start and end date or time of day when usage is allowed.

Also on the ballot is a bond to pay for a new fire truck, the truck purchase was approved in concept this fiscal year. The new truck, which will replace 20-year-old Engine 3, will take several months to build.

Voters will be asked if they wish to bond a sum not to exceed $620,000 over 10 years, about $500,000 of which would be principal and the rest would be interest.

They will also get a chance to amend the charter. If passed, the amendment would allow the the town to keep running should the budget, or portions of it, fail at the annual referendum.

Voters agreed to abolish the annual Town Meeting two years ago and replace it with a referendum vote for the annual budget. The new system went into effect in June, and the budget passed handily, but there was no provision in the charter at the time to fall back on if all or parts of the budget didn’t passed.

If the proposed amendment passes, it would require two public hearings on proposed revisions  before holding a special budget referendum on those items.

In the interim period, after the end of the fiscal year and prior to the special budget referendum vote on the failed items, the budget for such items would be set at 50 percent of the prior fiscal year budget, according to the proposed amendment.

The amendment spells out that there would be just one special budget referendum vote on any items that are not passed at the regular budget vote. If the items do not pass in the special referendum, then the budget for that item would revert to the prior fiscal year budget.

— Senior Staff Writer Tammy Wells can be contacted at 780-9016 or [email protected]

Comments are not available on this story.

filed under: