ROME — The town and a resident have agreed to a mediator in a lawsuit the town filed over the public right of way to Tuttle Cemetery that is being mediated rather than going to court.

The town alleges that Peter Fotter is making the entrance to the cemetery at 94 Oak Ridge Road, off North Pond Road, inaccessible to maintenance vehicles and “barely accessible” by foot. Fotter is blocking the entrance with dirt and gravel, according to Selectmen Chairman Richard LaBelle.

The cemetery is accessible by traveling down Fotter’s driveway which continues past his house to the site. Fotter is allegedly placing debris where the continued road starts past his driveway, according to LaBelle.

The town owns a right of way to get to the cemetery, LaBelle said. The maintenance worker has to be able to reach the cemetery as Revolutionary War veterans are buried there and the town is federally required to maintain those grave sites, he said.

Last fall, the town asked Fotter to remove the obstructions, but he allegedly didn’t comply. The town followed with a lawsuit, which was filed May 5 in Kennebec County Superior Court in Augusta.

The town does not know why Fotter would block the entrance. Efforts to reach Fotter on Tuesday were not successful.

The town Monday filed a motion for summary judgment, which means the town asked the court to rule that the other party has no case, the town and Fotter agreed to mediation in which a third party will help the parties negotiate a settlement.

The mediation will be held at 9 a.m., Thursday, July 28, at the Town Office. Any negotiation between the two parties will occur during executive session, which is closed to the public.

Walter McKee, Fotter’s lawyer, will be present, and his client may or may not come, LaBelle said during a selectmen’s meeting Monday night. The town’s lawyer is Frank Underkuffler. Underkuffler was not available for comment Tuesday.

During the meeting on Monday, selectmen also voted to sign a five-year contract with Waste Management to send the town’s solid waste to Crossroads Landfill in Norridgewock effective Feb. 1, 2017. The town chose Waste Management again to manage its solid waste because of its convenience to residents who want to drive their waste to the landfill.

The board also asked the company to review the tipping fee rates, resulting in a $10 per ton decrease. The town will now pay $78 per ton annually, compared with $88 per ton in its previous contract.

Selectmen also voted to appoint Elaine Aloes, a selectman from Solon, and Tim Curtis, Madison’s town manager, to the Maine Municipal Association Legislative Policy Committee. Aloes was chosen for her prior decades of experience on the committee. LaBelle thought Curtis would be a good choice for the committee as he could give insight into a struggling committee.

This story has been corrected.

Madeline St. Amour — 861-9239

[email protected]

Twitter: @madelinestamour

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