New forest board might allow nonresident members
Bethel selectmen last week reviewed a draft ordinance to establish the Bingham Forest Authority, a board that would oversee the 2,300-acre parcel acquired last year from the Bethel Water District. The draft calls for a “five-member authority appointed by selectmen and made up of registered voters of Bethel or other municipality or territory located within Oxford County.”
At a selectmen’s meeting last month, the board had agreed it would be a good idea to make Newry residents eligible to serve on the authority board.
The Bingham parcel is located in Newry. Tentative plans to create recreational trails on the land will also have to be reviewed by the Newry Planning Board.
Among other provisions under the draft ordinance: at any time the aggregate expenditure of the department in a single fiscal year is proposed to exceed $175,000, then the entire budget for that fiscal year shall be subject to both selectmen’s approval and town meeting approval; receipt of federal and state grants and their related appropriation, exceeding $25,000 in the aggregate in any fiscal year, shall be subject to townmeeting approval; the authority will only be empowered to enter into purchases, leases, contracts or agreements where the value of each action does not exceed $10,000 and the term does not exceed one year (actions exceeding the limits will require selectmen approval).
The forest and its activities will be self-supporting through such revenue as timber harvest sales and grants, selectmen have said, and expenses will not be passed along to the town.
After a brief discussion on the draft, the board sent it on to the town’s Ordinance Review Committee.
Town owed $31,000
Town Manager Jim Doar recommended that Bethel’s town attorney pursue collection of $31,599 from Savage Contracting for an unpaid paving bill from last year.
“We still have not been paid by the Savages for paving the Osgood Road,” Doar told selectmen. “They said they would pay half of it. That was in FY’11. We paved it the summer of 2011. We sent a bill Dec. 15, 2011, sent a reminder Jan. 16 of 2012, sent another reminder June 12 of 2012. We still haven’t been paid $31,599. I’m going to have the town attorney move to collect, and I think they should be removed from all bids until the town is paid.”
The board agreed with that course of action.
(Note: On Wednesday of this week Ron Savage said his company has a building lot on that road under contract, and as soon as they close on it the bill will be paid in full, likely within two weeks.)
In other business last week, Doar said excise tax collections this year are nearly at the 2009 level. “They had been decreasing,” he said.
Selectmen also heard a year-end report on police coverage from Sheriff Wayne Gallant. He said the numbers of calls per year has dropped since the Oxford County Sheriff’s Department took over coverage in mid-2010. He noted particularly that calls in the early morning hours had declined.
The board also made appointments/reappointments to several town boards.
They included Arlan Jodrey and Hiram Towle to the Bethel Airport Authority; Dr. Lennie Shaw to the Board of Appeals; Jim Bennett, David Crockett, Robert Everett, and Michael Jodrey to the Budget Committee; Fran Head to the Comprehensive Plan Committee; Richard Blanco to the Planning Board; Carol Boden and Allen Cressy to the Ordinance Review Committee; James Merrill, Mary Scanlon and Todd Wheeler to the Recreation Board; and Brent Angevine to the Bethel Water District.
The Comprehensive Plan Committee, which is being revived to update the 1998 plan, needs a total of nine members.