Sand thieves will soon be thwarted

By Gail Geraghty

Staff Writer

A plot is underway to foil sand thieves at Bridgton’s town garage.

Public Works Director Jim Kidder is going to reconfigure the storage location so that it will no longer be possible to back a pickup truck right up to the sand pile.

Selectman Paul Hoyt said Tuesday he saw several trucks backed up to the pile recently, and the drivers were filling the truck beds with sand. The town’s sand pile is intended for residential use only, and Hoyt said it’s possible the trucks he saw were commercial.

“I don’t know if people need that much for their driveway, but (the pile is intended for) a bucket or two, not to make a business out of it,” Hoyt said.

Town Manager Mitch Berkowitz said a sign clearly states that the sand is not to be used for commercial purposes. “Jim can reconfigure the sand area to force people to think twice” about taking a large quantity of sand, he said, by creating distance between vehicles and the sand pile.

Selectman Bernie King said he saw a car with Quebec license plates parked next to the pile, its driver getting sand.

In other matters, the board directed Addressing Officer Dawn Taft to work with others on seeing if improvements can be made to the state’s Enhanced 911 addressing system. Town Manager Mitch Berkowitz said there have been repeated concerns about how emergency calls are routed through the Cumberland County Regional Communications Center. “How they route people is a problem that could be a life-or-death situation,” he said.

Attention also needs to be paid to enforcing the Addressing Ordinance, whereby property owners are required to clearly post the address number on the front of their buildings. The law requires four-inch lettering that is reflective.

Taft will work with Fire Chief Glen Garland, Police Chief Kevin Schofield and Code Enforcement Officer Robbie Baker to come up with recommendations within six weeks and bring them back to the board.

The board also:

• Voted to send Berkowitz to Augusta to give testimony at a Revenue Sharing hearing before the House Appropriations Committee. Berkowitz will join other municipal leaders in urging legislators not to make drastic cuts to Municipal Revenue Sharing.

• Agreed by a 4–1 vote (Bob McHatton opposed) to spend up to $2,500 on advertising to fill the four vacant campground sites at the Salmon Point Campground.

• Agreed by a 3–2 vote (McHatton and Paul Hoyt opposed) to allow Kidder to serve as a voting member of the Wastewater Committee. Kidder has been attending the meetings, and although there was some concern that a department head should not be involved in making policy, it was agreed he needed to have voting status to ensure there would be a quorum at meetings.

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