CHINA — Voters will decide two referendum questions and one contest in local elections at the polls Tuesday.

The first referendum asks if voters will approve amendments to the floodplain ordinance, adding definitions required by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Selectmen explained that if the changes are not approved, China residents who need flood insurance will not be able to get it.

The second question asks voters to appropriate from surplus up to $7,500 for two of the committees implementing the 2008 comprehensive plan.

The Comprehensive Plan Implementation Committee will use up to $3,500 for additional consultants’ fees and up to $2,000 for outreach, preparing and publicizing ordinance changes committee members hope to submit to voters next November.

The Thurston Park II Committee will use up to $2,000 as seed money for fundraising projects to improve the north access road into the park in northeastern China. Committee members told selectmen they will repay taxpayers if the fundraising is successful.

Selectmen will need to authorize committee expenditures if voters approve the money.

In local elections, there are eight openings on three boards. In the only contest, incumbent Irene Belanger, Helen Hanson, Steven Hughes and April Wood are candidates for two seats on the Board of Selectmen.

Belanger, 71, is a Farmington native who has lived in China since May 1969. A retired real estate salesperson, she has served on many town boards, including the committees that developed the town’s original and revised comprehensive plans. She has chaired both the Planning Board and the Board of Selectmen and is currently on several committees implementing the comprehensive plan.

Hanson, 46, was born in Waterville and has lived in China since 1988. She works as a certified nursing assistant in Augusta and is enrolled in a paralegal course.

Hughes did not respond to a request for information.

Wood, 36, was born in Brunswick and has lived in China for six years. She is a disabled veteran and a housewife who has served on several town committees. Currently she is secretary of the Comprehensive Plan Implementation Committee.

Wood has a bachelor’s degree in justice from the University of Maine at Augusta. Her studies, she said, made her aware of political and legal issues and led her to run for the Board of Selectmen.

Belanger and Hanson both see controlled growth as an important issue facing town leaders in the next few years.

Belanger emphasizes finances. With state and federal revenue declining, selectmen will need to spend tax dollars wisely to maintain services. To that end, she advocates keeping “the good people we currently have working for the town” and getting more volunteers.

Belanger would like to expand the China Community Days Committee into an organization sponsoring year-round events to improve the town, show off China Lake, Thurston Park and other resources and mobilize volunteers.

Hanson’s emphasis is on growth. If elected, she would encourage new businesses that would benefit residents by increasing local shopping opportunities, the tax base and local employment.

Both women, however, say that new businesses must be subject to enough regulation to avoid “a strip mall feel” — Hanson’s phrase — and protect natural resources. To that end, both support continued implementation of the comprehensive plan.

Wood declined to pick any single issue as most important. In her view, China faces many problems that a younger person like her can look at in fresh ways and help resolve.

In other positions on the local ballot:

* For Planning Board, James Wilkens is unopposed for reelection from District 1; Kyle Pierce is unopposed for election from District 3; and there is no candidate on the ballot for the alternate position, elected from the town at large, that Pierce is vacating.

* For the Budget Committee, Robert Batteese is unopposed for reelection as chairman; there is no candidate for the District 1 seat currently held by Gregory Pizzo; and Sheryl Peavey is unopposed for reelection from District 3.

China’s polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. in the Town Office on Lakeview Drive.


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.