Poland passes $6.8 million municipal budget


POLAND — Residents celebrated their 227th annual municipal meeting on Saturday by adopting the 35 articles of mandate and approving a municipal budget of $6.8 million.

In his opening remarks, Lionel Ferland Jr. asked for a minute’s silence for Norm Beauparlant, who died in August 2021. He was an active and involved resident who served for more than 40 years on various city boards and committees .

Residents discussed the 25-year agreement with ReVision Solar Power to change the source of electricity for the city’s municipal facilities to solar power.

Issues covered included maintenance responsibility, long-term panel effectiveness, actual cost savings, and concerns about whether Central Maine Power Co. or the state legislature might change municipal rules regarding the use of solar energy.

City manager Matt Garside said ReVision was chosen several years ago through a competitive bidding process when Poland first considered looking into solar power for its installations, and that the issue had been discussed this year between the members of the Select Board because it was related to energy costs. ReVision was contacted to submit a proposal.

Garside said he and the electrical inspector visited Windham to see how ReVision had impacted facilities there.

ReVision has also been contracted to provide solar power to Augusta, Bucksport, Camden, Cumberland, Freeport, Hope and Lincolnville.

Voters also passed on Saturday a 10-year bond not exceeding the principal of $850,000 to expand the Ricker Memorial Library.

In a related article, the city can also use $150,000 from the Stone Trust for expenses associated with the design phase of the library expansion.

Voters approved Poland’s spending on the American Rescue Plan Act. The city will draw up to $200,000 from the fund “to replace and upgrade the municipal office’s HVAC system to more effectively control heat and air exchange and provide virus protection.”

Another $65,000 can be spent on two electric lift stretchers for the Poland Fire Department.

Five articles amending Poland’s Comprehensive Land Use Code and an amendment allowing the addition of 104.2 acres to the Heartland of Poland Conservation Area were also approved.

After the meeting, Board of Selectpersons Chairman Stephen Robinson said he was surprised no discussion had surfaced about the passed article authorizing the transfer of $675,000 from the city’s unrestricted balance for the purpose of reduce local taxes.

Several positions were filled by the 139 residents who voted on Friday.

Stephen Robinson was re-elected with 109 votes and Stanley Tetenman garnered 88 votes to both win three-year terms on the Board of Selectpersons.

Incumbent Claire Walker with 104 votes and newcomer Claire Ledoux Dick with 93 were elected to a three-year term on the Ricker Library Board.

Melanie Harvey, with 50 cast votes, will serve a three-year term as a member of the Regional School Unit 16 Board of Trustees.

Torrey Erland had three write-in votes to win a two-year term on the Budget Committee.

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