Naples special town meeting not warranted

By Dawn De Busk

Staff Writer

NAPLES — A special town meeting will not be warranted this winter for Naples residents.

Typically, most towns reserve January as the month for special town meetings to approve financial items not foreseen in the budget or time-sensitive ordinances.

However, it is almost a guarantee that next month’s calendar for Naples meetings won’t include one.

The special town meeting that was being discussed by the Naples Board of Selectmen a few months ago is no longer needed, according to Naples Town Manager John Hawley. That is because the annual town meeting has been shifted from June to April.

Another reason the delay is okay: Most of the ordinance amendments can wait until April to be addressed through a town meeting vote.

Only one ordinance — the recreational-use marijuana moratorium — is timely because it expires in December, Hawley said. However, the selectmen can vote to extend the moratorium and make it retroactive from that point in time until town meeting, he said.

Also, the financial items that required the approval of voters have been resolved. One was already approved at a past town meeting; and another, the computer server purchase, will be accomplished using undesignated funds.

Hawley explained the two financial issues.

“One was the expense for restoring the sidewalks on the Causeway. The overall cost of the Causeway was covered by a bond. That was supposed to be used to pay the state [the Maine Department of Transportation] what the town owed for the project. There was an issue with the sidewalks, so the town withheld money from the state. The state said fix the problems and take it from money owed,” Hawley said.

“The funds have already been allocated. They were allocated from the bond. The voters don’t have to approve it again,” Hawley said.

“The [computer] servers were going to be the other thing” that needed to be dealt with at a special town meeting “but that is coming from unanticipated funds,” he said.

Replacing the computer servers is an immediate need, and could not wait until a special town meeting was advertised and held, Hawley said.

However, it’s highly likely that voters at the 2019 town meeting will see computer costs as a warrant article. That is because the Naples Budget Committee will “budget for the fiber-optic line from the town office to the fire station in the next budget year,” Hawley said.

The multiple ordinance amendments will be warrant articles at town meeting in April; and there will be public hearings on those sometime in the mid-winter, Hawley said.

“We have the sign ordinance that was voted down in June. They (the Ordinance Review Committee) made changes to it. That is going back for a revote,” he said.

There are two Marine Safety ordinances that were newly proposed. One called the Marine Safety Department “formally organizes the department.” Hawley said. The second proposal is the Marine Safety Enforcement Ordinance.

“If they needed to impose citations in various boating and aquatic land-use violations — this ordinance would allow that,” he said.

For a second time, voters will see the Invasive Aquatic Plant Survey Ordinance. There are a couple language amendments needed. The way it was worded indicated it was illegal to turn in the invasive-plant survey that the town had required of all places that allows multiple boat launchings such as campgrounds, marinas and some lake associations.

There is also a proposed amendment to the Naples Chimney Ordinance that would allow asbestos-type chimneys because that technology has advanced since the ordinance was passed, Hawley said.

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