Naples meeting warrant: leasing land, buying storage

By Dawn De Busk

Staff Writer

NAPLES — The final public hearing on the proposed amendments for the light manufacturing district ordinance did not draw anyone from the public. The Naples Planning Board meeting lasted 15 minutes.

According to Chairman Larry Anton, the light manufacturing ordinance only applies to a few areas of town: Route 302 from Kansas Road to the Bridgton town line; Route 11 from Roosevelt Trail to the Casco town line; and a stretch of Songo School Road.

One the possible changes is that this type of business could occur on two acres of land, instead of five acres as the most recent ordinance stated.

The light manufacturing ordinance amendment is one of 64 Warrant Articles that residents will consider during the Naples Town Meeting, which is scheduled for this coming Monday, June 1. The meeting starts at 7 p.m. in the Town Gymnasium.

As always, people pay attention to the budget and to any increase in their property taxes.

For the Town of Naples, the total proposed budget (rounded to the nearest thousand) is $3,268,000, which is an increase of less than 5% compared to last year’s budget.

A mil rate has not yet been set.

While the municipal budget is more than $3 million, the taxpayers are also responsible for the town’s $7 million share of School Administrative District No. 61 budget as well as less than half a million dollars in Cumberland County taxes.

According to Naples Town Manager Ephrem Paraschak, some of the changes in the Naples municipal budget occurred because a few items were removed from the administrative budget, and relocated in the budget as individual line items.

At a May 18 meeting of the Naples Board of Selectmen, Paraschak went over a draft of the budget.

“The administration went down” despite “a 1.7% Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) for employees, recommended by the government,” Paraschak said.

However, the decrease happened because the salary of other personnel or contracted positions such as “part-time maintenance and mapping and assessing — those were put in their own articles,” he said.

Also, the recreation budget increased in order to pay for future staffers at Kent’s Landing. Those beach-side employees will be responsible for milfoil mitigation.

The Animal Control budget will remain status quo, Paraschak said.

However, the long-term plan is to find savings in that department by comparing costs of contracting with local animal shelters or pursuing regionalization of the animal control department

“We will stay the same with no Regional department” this year, he said.

“The ACO has gone over her hours for the year. We are fielding a lot more random complaints, one call on a stray dog, a loose horse, six calls on the same dog,” he said.

“There are no proposed increases in pay or in the amount of hours worked,” he said, answering a selectman’s question.

The need for a town maintenance budget — to maintain recently-acquired public space and the Naples Town Beach — is something new.

“This is what has changed,” he said.

Paraschak provided a rough estimate for what might be needed, and that included grounds maintenance, streetlights maintenance and utility bills, and upkeep of Kent’s Landing. Also, listed as an expense in that line item of town maintenance are upkeep for town vehicles and the cost of gasoline.

“We never had an article to maintain and pay for gas. That always came out of mileage,” Paraschak said.

In addition to the budget, Warrant Article 60 asks residents if they will approve a three-year lease of the former Begin Estate property, which the town purchased last year. Recently, the lot was cleared of timber, but it has yet to be stumped.

“This article would allow Great Northern Dock to lease the property” for a period of not more than three years, Paraschak said.

“They would likely have to make improvements to the property,” he said.

“If and when they are done with the lease, there would be a gravel pad. To stump the lot and put in a gravel pad is $30,000, mostly for gravel,” he said.

“It is working with a neighboring business that has a strong desire to use that space that is not being utilized,” Paraschak said.

Another item, Article 59, would permit the purchase of Maine Department of Transportation property with a garage and shed. The property could only be used for town vehicles and as a small machine and tool storage area. If the town wanted to forfeit ownership of the property, MDOT would reimburse the money.

“Our offer of an installment plan was not approved. Then, they came down to $115,000,” Paraschak said.

The majority of the funding is already available, he said.

“All but $20,000 has been banked,” he said.

“This article allows the purchase and allows the selectmen to set the terms,” he said.

“If the town’s people pass this, we will hire someone to go through and look for contaminants. This doesn’t say selectmen have to buy property, it says they can,” Paraschak said.

To see the warrant articles in their entirety, go to the Town of Naples website.

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