Waterboro and transparent government

Nice notice in the Smart Shopper from Selectman Sylvester in Alfred. He was thanking residents in Alfred for their vote, AND also saying he will continue to write about happening and issue in Alfred, to keep them informed. 

Alfred has three Selectmen and NO Town Manager.

Waterboro has FIVE Selectmen AND a Town Manager. And we get NOTHING from Town Hall about the town issues, nothing about the new budget, nothing about the upcoming Annual Town Meeting. Why?

Mostly because we don’t ask them to keep us informed, the Selectmen insist people watch the Tuesday Night Meetings on TV, OR come into the town hall and attend the meetings.  Why? Well, it is partially because writing and the English language are subjects they are not comfortable with. Of course, Selectman Gale occasionally  give us a Reporter ditty, something philosophical,  usually on a subject of morals or education generally. But that is it. The biggest reason we lack communications from Waterboro Townhall is they cannot agree on anything. Not all five of them, AND the Town Manager.

Pretty soon we will have the Annual Town Meeting, attended by 20-30 people, and then we will listen for a few weeks about how we have to change the type of government in town. And the issue of referendum voting raises its’ ugly head. That would mean the Selectmen And the Town Manager would either have to explain in detail what the budget issues are  OR stand a chance of getting voted down.  That is not going to happen, so the subject dies a quick death, and is forgotten until the next year.

Communication is not a Waterboro strong point.  We do not do it well.  Point in fact, look at the Waterboro website, right hand side. Among the various tidbits, and THREE mentions of the upcoming Road Driveway Ordinance. If you read it, and own land in town, you should be worried. But, we have NO mention in any newspaper, nothing for explanation on the town website.

I love the comment this morning that the members of the Planning Board that resigned last month, are running for Selectmen, to get revenge on the Public Works Director.  It s a good rumor, however, and maybe that will get some people to vote and attend the Annual Town Meeting.  It does identify the underlying problems with communications.

Happy Easter and a positive outlook

Mornings at Merrill’s are interesting times.  And, being quiet and shy like I am, sometimes I am deep into the conversations.  This morning was no different.

“You need a positive attitude, Frank”.  Ok, I’ve heard this more than once in the last 40+ years in Waterboro. Generally, this means I am being critical of someone’s plans.  Waterboro has long been known as a gopher town for politics. Everything behind the scenes, under the covers, and from time to time, like a gopher field, the little heads come up look around, make a  comment or two, and down they go, under cover again !  That hasn’t changed much, still true, except no the players are more and more unknown, and pop up less often.  If you run a department where you don’t document anything, it is harder and harder to prove anything, and easier than ever to use “common sense and public safety” as an excuse.

But, I am going to try to gather up a positive attitude. Don’t hold your breath though.

“Great things are happening in town. Lots of big things coming.” But, of course, no one can talk about them.  Gopher government again!

Hell of an election for Selectmen coming up this June. 6 plus people are running.  Senator Woodsome needed to spend more time in Augusta to do his job right and he resigned his position. Rightly so. Selectman Littlefield has his term expiring. So, that is the second open slot.  Did I take my papers out for one of those slots?  Yep, I did. One of the things Bob Fay taught me was ALWAYS take your papers out.  And I do.  Gordon would certainly be a good candidate for one of the slots, the three year term. And Tim Neill is certainly the smart choice for the two year term.

But, as we know, politics and smart are not always the same.  My favorite this year for the two year slot is TIm Neill. He was an outstanding Chair of the Planning Board\, does his homework, speaks well, and is not a follower, but a leader.  So, what do I hear?   “Frank, he is being associated with you, so he won’t win.”  There is politics, being smart, and then emotion enters the picture ! But, I do the same. One of the candidates is Chair of the Road Review Committee, a Public Works Director fanboy, and I wouldn’t vote for him because of that. One of the candidates is banned from half the stores in town, a smart person that goes off the deep end from time to time.  One candidate is an elected official, a member of the Planning Board, AND running for Selectman. Do one job and do it right. That’s my opinion.

There is a sane, practical vote, one that is good for the town, good for the taxpayer: Littlefield and Neill. Me? Sometimes I favor the entertainment vote, the one that will cause the most entertainment on the Selectman Tuesday Night shows: that would be the Dwayne and Dwayne vote.

Ok, I’m going to go into the woodwork for a bit to come up with a positive smiley attitude.

 

 

Watch the two videos

Watch the Tuesday Selectman Meeting, and the discussion about both the driveway ordinances, both of them, ad the other issue of 2.08.  Then watch the next night Planning Board meeting , and notice NO communication from the Town Manager, or the Selectmen about the two subjects from the night before. None.  They just left the Planning Board swinging in the breeze wondering what was wanted from the Selectmen. This type of behavior is one of the reasons the Planning Board has three members resign.

Things that we laugh at in Waterboro

It has been fun watching the legal antics of the new Public Works Department and the Town Manager, as they work hard to make sure nothing gets built for commercial use in North Waterboro.  Dollar General is certainly amused I am sure.  And the campground expansion is  the next target of these two.

But before you laugh too loud, you should read through the proposed new driveway ordinance. Because this affects every landowner in the town of Waterboro.  The link on the top of the page shows a few highlighted sentences.  Owning land n Waterboro just became more expensive. Oh, unless you want to donate your land to the Waterboro Land Trust. Then you suddenly have a waiver, and cooperation.

What does Waterboro need?

Interesting conversation about the types of business Waterboro needs. Someone brought up the “visioning sessions” that took place a few years ago at the High School. Remember those ? Thought so. Not many people remember them, not a large interest in town, not a talked about subject. Unless, of course, you were on the “Visioning Committee”.

One thing the town “needs” is a movie theater. That did come up. A movie theater?  This is high on the list of things Waterboro needs?  And a NAPA store. Well, we have that now. But I don’t see a large push to bring in a movie theater.

What do we “need” in town? Most of the working age people leave town in the morning to go to work. And they shop around where they work. That leaves the retired folks. What do they need?  What does the town offer?

Is it unmanly in Waterboro to recycle ?

For the second time in a while, watched an older man throw away four bags of cans, in the hopper, rather than recycle them a few steps away.  His reply to my question “Why?”?  Don’t worry about it. I pay my taxes.” And he stomped off.

Someone had clearly separated all the cans out, and bagged them.  His wife ? And he throws them away.

Is it embarrassing to recycle? Maybe he’s uncomfortable at the dump ?

Someone said maybe he is just one of those folks that never learned to read, and doesn’t realize he can recycle, or what it is.

$10 bucks worth of cash, thrown away. Strange, but it happens all too often at our Transfer Station.

Me? I’d put a camera up at the hopper, and put short video clips on the town website. Publicity sometimes works wonders.

Gneiss Beer in Limerick Maine

Always seems just right to visit a local craft beer, especially when it is in the neighboring town !

It’s small, friendly and a neat local place to visit. Not intimidating like many of the larger craft

micro brews might be. I was early and got to spend a few minutes talking. And I left with a growler. They had five different

brews in the making and/or on tap. They have many places in Portland that carry their beer, and I believe Woody’s in Waterboro

also does.  The usual tee shirts, and glasses, should you develop a likeness for them ! I might, but looks like it will take a few moe visits

to be sure.

Link is on the Links List.  Worth the visit.

Frank