Bridgton snippets: Dry conditions has people seeking water source

By Wayne E. Rivet

Staff Writer

Hot days and little rain, a perfect combination for those on vacation.

However, dry conditions have some citizens in a panic.

Bridgton’s Deputy Town Manager Georgiann Fleck has received calls from citizens looking for a water source since their wells have gone dry.

Fleck told selectmen Tuesday night that callers were instructed to use a spigot located to the right of Central Fire Station, which is a stand-alone spigot that does not feed through the Bridgton Water District. Also, there is a faucet at the Salmon Point Campground entrance.

“Both of these sources are open to the public,” Fleck said. “When filling containers, please make sure you are not parked in an area that might impede traffic flow or emergency vehicle access.”

Meanwhile, Rec Director Gary Colello has seen local beaches become a popular spot for those trying to beat the heat. Despite large numbers, Colello said there have been no reports of duck itch. If a report is made, then water is tested to determine if a high bacteria count exists.

In other selectmen meeting notes:

Bathroom design reworked: It’s back to the drafting board in regards to the town’s upgrade of the Salmon Point Beach bathroom.

Looking over a concept design, selectmen made a few alterations to the facility. Using the existing footprint, officials altered the plan to include at least two, if not three, toilet/stalls in the ladies’ room, and a toilet and two urinals in the men’s room. By law each room must be outfitted with a changing table for babies. If space allows, each room would also include a changing area. If space becomes a problem, selectmen suggested that a unisex changing area be created. The facility will not have hot water.

Selectman Hoyt noted that the architect should not include storage space for supplies since those materials are stored elsewhere.

The budget is $69,000, and work should start this fall.

Selectmen initially wanted to review the design sketch before the project went out to bid, which would push the process back a few more weeks. The potential delay prompted Town Manager Bob Peabody to say, “How deep in the weeds do you want to be in projects like this? My job is to be sure we get our money’s worth. We’re building a bathroom, not a Taj Mahal.”

Chairman Watkins and Selectman Zaidman responded that since they answer to the taxpayers and a significant sum will be spent ($69,000 — “That’s half the cost of a house, to be sure,” Watkins said), they want to fully review the project.

Selectman Bob McHatton looked to move the project along, motioning the board to have the town manager work with the architect on the suggested changes and then put the project out to bid. The board supported the motion, 5-0.

Employee searches: The town’s search for a public safety administrative assistant and full-time police officer is going quite well. The assistant position attracted 14 applicants, and with the submission deadline passed, the review process began Tuesday.

As for the patrolman position, to date, 21 applications have been received. The application deadline is Aug. 1.

The search for a full-time fire chief has started. The position has been advertised, and an application deadline is set for Friday, Aug. 19.

Valarie Woodman, who has been a per diem employee for nine years at the town’s Transfer Station, has submitted her resignation, effective Aug. 1.

Fee paid: Last Friday, July 22, Lloyd Chipman paid the $15,000 consent agreement fee to cover violations he created on Moose Pond, Fleck reported.

Fireworks ban on ballot: For the first week of July, Ken and Christine Barthelette got little uninterrupted sleep and their animals were “terrified.”

While the couple enjoy fireworks as much as anyone, they heard more than enough bangs and booms for six straight days so that they requested selectmen to seek a ban on consumer fireworks.

Selectmen voted 3–2 to place the issue before voters on the November ballot. Voters will be asked whether to repeal the Bridgton Fireworks Ordinance, and thus ban consumer fireworks. Selectman Bob McHatton said if the repeal is passed, a license from the state’s Fire Marshal will be needed to ignite fireworks (such as the town’s Fourth of July display and special events).

“I’m sure the ordinance was made with the assumption that neighbors would be respectful of the noise. Obviously, this cannot be an unspoken rule,” the Barthelettes wrote.

Selectman Paul Hoyt questioned whether the couple gave the ordinance a chance to work since there was no mention in the letter that they contacted local police.

Under the ordinance, consumer fireworks may be used between 9 a.m. and 12:30 a.m. on the Fourth of July, the weekend following the fourth day of July and Dec. 31.

With the exception of these previously listed dates, consumer fireworks may be used from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. during daylight savings time and 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. after the end of daylight savings time.

Selectmen Hoyt and chairman Greg Watkins voted against the measure.

Website to get facelift: Town Manager Bob Peabody has found 10 web design companies he is looking into to rework Bridgton’s site.

While the Bridgton site will include “the basics,” Peabody expects to add other features such as “special alerts” users can sign up for to receive anything from selectmen’s and planning board agendas to job openings. He said the site could also become more interactive, enabling users to report problems including pothole locations and branches down in roadways. “Live” streaming and a mobile app (“that actually works,” Peabody said) could also come in play.

Rethinking the changeable sign: After hearing several residents complain that an electronic changeable sign placed at the Town Hall on North High Street was a bad idea, officials are considering other options.

Selectman Bob McHatton said Community Development Committee members were looking at other locations in town — possibly under the sign at the Chamber of Commerce Information Center or at the fire station near the Moose Pond Causeway (although nothing is “cut in granite,” at this point CDC member Chuck Renneker said).

Selectman Bear Zaidman suggested that the town should search out an electronic sign that is “tasteful, not commercialized and low-key.”

Chairman Greg Watkins posed an option, but it would require some discussions with SAD 61. If agreeable to the school district, the town would place an electronic sign where the existing Stevens Brook School sign is located on Portland Road. Both the school and town would use the sign to post events. In turn, the current school sign could be moved to the town hall property, and replace the older events sign.

“We get a newer sign, and keep the character of the town hall,” Watkins said.

Selectman King suggested to let the CDC continue to work on the issue, and bring forth options at a future board meeting.

Hoping for glowing success: A couple of years ago, the North Bridgton Library tried something different to raise money — they sponsored a Glow Run.

Carmen Lone hopes to find similar success next month. Lone received approval from selectmen to run a Glow Run 5K, in conjunction with the Village Folk Festival, to raise money for the Community Center. The run will be on Saturday, Aug. 20 at 7:30 p.m. Lone, Community Center executive director, met with Bridgton’s Chief of Police Richard Stillman regarding coverage, and was told that one on-duty officer would assist the race, while the department would need to schedule another patrolman to work the event’s two hours (thus keeping the second on-duty officer available to handle incoming complaints/incidents).

Cost of scheduling the two-hour shift is $35 per hour. While Selectman Paul Hoyt suggested the Community Center cover the cost of the additional officer, Selectmen Bernie King and Bob McHatton felt the town should simply pick up the tab. Selectmen approved the request, 3–2, with the Center paying for police coverage.

Lone pointed out that numerous “spotters” with flashlights would be positioned along the race route — the event starts and finishes on Depot Street — and signs will be placed on Main Street to alert motorists (since the course crosses Main Street twice).

Permit granted: Selectmen voted 5-0 to approve a special amusement permit for “live” entertainment for Barbara Bloomgren of Towanda’s Specialty Food & Deli.

Bloomgren sought permission to have a keyboardist perform during this Thursday’s “Sip and Shop” event (5 to 7 p.m.) at Towanda’s and Firefly Boutique.

Town Clerk Laurie Chadbourne clarified that the special amusement permit would extend beyond the July 28 event — expiring when Bloomgren’s liquor license expires.

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