FARMINGDALE — The town will not purchase a site containing a state-approved salt and sand containment facility.

That prospective buy was rejected by voters Saturday in a 90-minute annual Town Meeting.

It also failed in a last-minute motion for reconsideration when the residents remaining at the meeting voted 36-30 to table the issue indefinitely.

Among those objecting to the purchase was Russell Hubbard, of Easy Street, who said he had concerns about the town purchasing private property and said he preferred to use a contractor-owned facility.

“This town doesn’t need to own one,” Hubbard said.

Peter Swartz, of Northern Avenue, voiced concern about liability for possible contamination of wells near the facility.

The article asked the town to authorize the selectmen to negotiate a contract up to $85,000 plus survey and closing costs, a figure that was questioned by Jo Ann Choate, of Paradise Road.

“I would like to know how we came up to $85,000 for less than 4 acres,” she said.

Gene Moreau, a former selectman appointed by the current board to review the matter, said the town could save money by owning a facility rather than requiring the winning snowplow contractor to have one.

“Consider this as an investment,” Moreau said. “I feel this would have an excellent return on money invested, and decrease future costs of snowplowing.”

He said that unless the town owns a sand and salt site approved by the Department of Environmental Protection, it loses an opportunity to open the bidding to more competition.

Angie Ellis, whose husband held the most recent snowplowing contract, said the town already shares in liability for the facility along with the contractor and the landowner.

The parcel is owned by Bruce Ellis, and Ellis Construction uses it to store salt and sand the company uses for the town.

Linda Leet opposed the purchase based on its cost. “For me right now, it’s a lot of money,” she said. “I care about the financial impact it’s having on the community.”

A half dozen people walked out of the meeting immediately after the purchase was rejected.

Most of the routine articles won approval as a group, and the only other issue sparking some debate was a successful proposal to change zoning on two lots along Maine Avenue to permit future parking and access to the Kennebec River Rail Trail.

Amy Cyr, of Sheldon Street, supported the proposal, saying the additional parking is necessary.

William Weeks, of Russell Street, objected, saying plenty of parking is available in the Hannaford Bros. supermarket lot in Gardiner.

The meeting was the first as a selectman for James Grant, who was elected Friday to that office, defeating incumbent Rickey McKenna.

McKenna attended the meeting and offered information about a $10,000 appropriation to do underground drain work on Northern Avenue.

Grant said Saturday he intended to continue his role as the town’s animal control officer. He said it was possible for him to do so because he reports to a department head.

Serving as moderator for the meeting this year was Mary Denison, who is also the town’s attorney.

Betty Adams — 621-5631
[email protected]

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