Industry voters: Yes to wind power development moratorium, no to Red Cross

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Resident Philip Balsam casts his ballot in the question of whether to exceed the tax limit law. Voters easily approved the measure with the proposed budget well below that limit. At left is moderator Paul Mills.

INDUSTRY – About 40 voters supported an 180-day moratorium on wind power development to give time for a town ordinance to be drafted and supported all the budgetary items except funding for the American Red Cross at the annual town meeting held Saturday afternoon.

In fairly swift action, voters moved through the 42-article warrant in a little more than two hours. In elections held prior to the meeting, Selectman Robert Geisser and Mt. Blue RSU 9 director Mark Prentiss were re-elected in unopposed elections.

Discussion stopped for a bit at Article 23, which selectmen proposed that $54,000, which appeared to be $8,000 more than last year, go toward town officials’ wages. Although selectmen took no raise, they gave a slight raise to Town Clerk Angel Davis to keep pace with other same-size towns and shifted tax collector Martha Wing’s salary to a regular flat wage total rather than continue relying on a percentage basis from fees collected from town revenues.

Davis and Wing don’t work on an hourly basis, noted Selectman Lee Ireland. “They work long hours. There’s nobody who appreciates more what the girls do here more than we do,” he said of the board of selectmen.

With $1,500 leftover in the Clearwater Lake beach maintenance account and another $1,000 approved by voters this year, selectmen hope to be able to repair any damage to the public beach from ice shack removal, but also work to repair the gazebo and dock at Allen’s Mill.

Voters decided to not fund the American Red Cross request of $817. Some residents asked how that agency got onto the warrant when no other agency did. Selectman Geisser said he looked into it and still didn’t quite know what the agency’s benefit was for the town of Industry. The overall amount of the request is based on each town’s population, Ireland said.

“I guess the question is do we think we’re getting anything out of it,” he added.

Some residents asked if the town is not funding other agencies, why are we funding this one?

Ireland noted that the county funds some agencies like the Western Maine Community Action for heating fuel assistance and other projects for those in need and that is paid for by all the county’s taxpayers.

“t would be nice if the American Red Cross were here to answer some of these questions,” Selectman Mike Senecal said. Residents voted to not fund the American Red Cross.

The decision not to fund the American Red Cross brought the overall municipal spending under last year’s total by $222 to $384,521.

Voters did unanimously decide to approve a six-month wind power development moratorium.

Selectman Ireland said he’s not aware of any interest in someone wanting to put install wind turbines in Industry. But, he said, the town would have no say if someone did.

“This is just saying ‘time out’ and give six months to form a committee” and draft a wind energy system ordinance to present to voters at town meeting, he said. “This says, let’s get together and talk about it.”

Recently, a wind power development was discussed for a range of hill summits that border the towns of Industry and New Vineyard. New Vineyard voters enacted a wind power ordinance last year. Since then, the selectmen board thought it best to look into drafting an ordinance, Ireland said.

Voters agreed and approve the moratorium and the meeting was adjourned.

About 40 residents attend this year's annual town meeting.
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