Newry bylaws work getting underway
Newry selectmen last week appointed several residents to an ad hoc Bylaws Committee. The committee held an organizational meeting Monday.
Members are William Andrews, Jim Largess, Bob Lowell, Doug Webster, Mandy Berry, Marjorie Osgood and Selectman Brooks Morton.
Largess is the chairman and Webster the recording secretary. The panel will meet the second and fourth Mondays of the month at the Town Office, from 5 p.m. to 6:30.
The panel was proposed by Morton, who earlier this spring had advocated for a more comprehensive town charter, which would establish rules for conducting all town business.
But he later settled with other selectmen to instead establish bylaws, which may outline the duties of town officials and the conduct of meetings, hearings, votes and other proceedings.
Morton has argued that Newry needs to better spell out the duties of town officials and town procedures.
The committee’s bylaws proposal will be put up for a town vote, possibly at the next annual town meeting in March.
Other selectboard business
Newry selectmen last week also met with Roger Arsenault of Community Energy, who won the bid to replace the furnace at the town office. The cost will be $12,988.
Work was expected to get underway in July.
Selectmen also learned the town needs to correct a number of OSHA violations at the Sunday River Fire Station following an unexpected inspection.
The board also discussed the possibility of hiring an attorney to be on retainer. Morton favored the move, saying many towns use that arrangement. “If something comes up, you have someone to call who’s on your side,” he said. “You won’t be shopping for a lawyer if you need one.”
The board reviewed its legal costs over the past decade. The greatest costs have been incurred since 2009: 2009, $6,600; 2010, 12,000+; 2011, $5,500; 2012, $8,800; and so far in 2013, $4,7`00.
Much of that went to an abatement appeal by Sophia Bilinsky, but some on 2010 also went to another property-related appeal, according to Town Administrator Loretta Powers.
Chairman Wendy Hanscom thought that might be more expensive than hiring a lawyer for specific circumstances, as Newry does now, but the board agreed to research the option further.
Selectmen also met with a resident regarding recent complaints about old autos and other materials on his property. They agreed on a timeline for cleanup.