This story has been corrected from an earlier version.

Rome residents will vote at Town Meeting on Saturday on a proposed ordinance governing cellular towers as well as a $50,000 appropriation budgeting for legal expenses related to a federal lawsuit over tower construction.

A day earlier, they will see several contests for public office on the municipal ballot.

The polls are open 1 to 8 p.m. Friday, with the Town Meeting beginning 10 a.m. Saturday, all at the Rome Community Center, 8 Mercer Road.

The 37-page proposed “Personal Wireless Services Facilities Ordinance” repeals one that has been in effect since 2002.

The ordinance draft says it is designed “to balance the interests of the residents of Rome, wireless communications providers and wireless communication customers in the siting of wireless communications facilities within the town.”

The town had imposed a moratorium on accepting applications about cell tower construction last October.

The proposed ordinance encourages co-location and requires a $1,500 fee to initiate a conditional use permit application. It also requires an initial deposit of $8,500 to fund expert review for the town and indicates the costs could go higher.

The maximum height is set at 199 feet, with some exceptions. If the site is within “a scenic area or scenic viewshed,” described as areas visible from Blueberry Hill, French Mountain, The Mountain and Mount Phillip, the applicant is to take steps to preserve the scenic quality.

Global Tower Assets LLC, of Boca Raton, Fla., and Northeast Wireless Networks LLC, of Winchester, Mass., have sued the town and the Planning Board in federal court, claiming they were victims of discrimination and should have been allowed to provide personal wireless services, that the application process was unreasonably long — more than a year — and that any written decision lacked substantial evidence in the written record. The companies hoped to install a 190-foot tower on The Mountain. A federal judge dismissed that lawsuit in July 31, 2014, saying the town had yet to reach a final decision, and upheld that in an order issued Dec. 30, 2014.

Those decisions have been appealed to the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

The $50,000 appropriation being sought in the budget this year is to deal with that appeal, said Lesley A. Real, a member of the Board of Selectpersons.

Another warrant article asks residents if they want to impose a moratorium on erecting wind energy facilities.

The proposed municipal budget is lower than last year’s. The current town budget is about $1.9 million, with $1.36 million of that supporting the schools.

“I would like to ask all the voters in town to believe and trust in the selectpersons,” Real said. “We welcome all who have any questions or concerns to please come in and see us or call.”

BALLOT RACES

The ballot lists three candidates for second selectperson: Richard A. LaBelle, who has been town excise tax collector and deputy clerk; the incumbent, Real; and Debbie A. DiPietro Smith, who has sought the office previously.

LaBelle, 28, said, “I am looking to bring greater accountability and responsibility in all areas of town government and looking to get more people on board in areas from decision-making to volunteering.” LaBelle previously was a regional manager for an international food manufacturer/distributor.

Real, 45, hopes to retain the post she’s held for four years.

“Initially I thought of running for town clerk, and the local people were concerned about that,” she said. “They say they would prefer me to stay as second selectperson.”

Real works as a certified nurse’s aide at Maine General Rehabilitation & Long-term Care at Gray Birch, in Augusta, a nursing home and assisted-living facility operated by MaineGeneral Health.

Smith, 45, who previously ran unsuccessfully for selectperson, said it’s time to try again and that she would like to see a few things changed in the town. She also would like to learn more about how local government operates.

Carroll L. Bubar, 66, is challenging Larry F. DiPietro Jr., for the road commissioner’s post. Bubar said 50 to 60 townspeople urged him to run. Bubar, who moved to Rome three years ago, was previously a member of the Planning Board in Smithfield.

“I been doing landscaping, driveways and camp road maintenance for about 40 years,” Bubar said. “I do a lot of work in Rome anyway. I plow for 128 customers and take care of camps.”

DiPietro, 31, has been road commissioner for the past five years. “I’m a contractor and I do excavation and I’m a local,” he said, adding that he works with the selectmen to award town jobs locally. “You usually end up with better prices,” he said. “People live in town and are willing to do the work a little cheaper for the most part to help the town out.”

DiPietro’s wife, Abby L. DiPietro, is challenging a prior town clerk, Lois M. Stratton, for the town clerk post.

“I’m a stay-at-home mom,” said Abby DiPietro, 31. “It’s great hours, and I can contribute to my family financially.” She said she would anticipate having hours that would allow many in the community to have access to the office.

Stratton, 67, said that while she has not been involved in town politics for many years, she has been active in various town activities, such as fundraisers, children’s projects and senior citizen events.

“I was a school bus driver for 28 years and retired a year ago,” she said. “I have the time, it’s close to home, it’s part-time and it’s something I’d like to do. I’m really not ready to retire. I found that out right away.”

Shannon J. Holt, 50, is hoping to regain the posts of treasurer and tax collector from Tammy J. Lyons. Holt had held both for four years when Lyons won the treasurer’s job last March by three votes and took the tax collector post by one vote.

“I really enjoyed doing the job,” Holt said. “I miss doing the work, and I miss seeing the people, and obviously the extra income is also nice.”

Holt, who is the accounting administrator at Allen’s Transfer & Storage Inc., in Augusta, has sent out a mailing and has spoken to some residents about her candidacy.

Lyons, 47, worked for the state of Maine for 15 years before deciding to go to college and work part time as a bus driver for Regional School Unit 18 so she could be home for her children.

She is currently working to complete a degree in May in business administration with a concentration in governmental accounting from the University of Maine at Augusta.

“I love the job. It’s a part-time job, and I love seeing the people of the town of Rome. I also believe that Rome should be a business-friendly town, and I’m able to have hours during business hours.”

Lyons said the jobs of treasurer and tax collector fit well with the school bus driving job.

All municipal posts are to be filled for one year, except for the three-year term representing the town on the board of Regional School Union 18. Andrew G. Cook is running unopposed for that post. This would be his first elected position.

First Selectperson Kelly J. Archer and Third Selectperson Malcolm S. Charles are running unopposed for re-election to the posts, which also carry the titles of assessor and overseer of the poor.

The original town report did not include the report of tax collector and treasurer Tammy Lyons because of an error at the printing company, which printed and distributed inserts that completed the town report as soon as the company was aware of the omission.

Betty Adams — 621-5631

[email protected]

Twitter: @betadams


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