ROME — The Board of Selectmen voted to approve two junkyard applications and rescind one violation against a property that was called an “unlicensed junkyard” at a regular meeting Monday night.

The select board received an application for a junkyard at 602 Augusta Road as well as one on Mercer Road. The selectmen didn’t find a need for a hearing on the permits, said first selectman Richard LaBelle.

The application for Mercer Road was approved 2-0 with Kelly Archer abstaining from the vote as she knew the people applying.

The Augusta Road application was approved 2-1 with LaBelle opposed.

LaBelle said he thinks the northern part of the property should be shielded from view and that the measures currently being taken aren’t adequate.

While LaBelle said he thinks the junkyard is a “far cry better than it was last year,” he said he doesn’t think it is fully in compliance.

The select board also voted to rescind a violation order placed on 855 Watson Pond Road by code enforcement officer Andrew Marble. While Marble was not present at the meeting, he did leave the selectmen a note saying he believed the property was in compliance.

The resident of the property asked for more detail in the future on what was considered junk as he said he doesn’t keep trash on the property, just things related to his work. LaBelle recommended that he set up a standing appointment with Marble every quarter to check on the property’s compliance.

The select board also discussed the tax issue surrounding the Batchelder’s and Cerrato’s property. James Cerrato, who was at the meeting, said that he had discovered that the lawyer submitted the wrong map to the bank, and that is why his tax money went toward the incorrect property. LaBelle suggested that Cerrato contact the bank and lawyer as it was their mistake.

The select board also heard from Regional School Unit 18 officials at the meeting. Andy Cook, a school board member who represents Rome, and assistant superintendent Carl Gartley discussed the cost-sharing committee and their hope for the district’s future.

Cook said he confirmed that the formula used to determine how much each town pays toward the district, or the cost sharing amounts, would need to be approved by a majority of all towns put together if only the population of students and the valuation of property were adjusted. However, if the committee were to add other factors to the formula, then it would have to pass in each town individually by a majority.

Cook supports weighting the formula toward student population to increase the fairness toward the towns, he said.

Currently, the formula weighs property valuation at 75 percent and student population at 25 percent.

“I think it would behoove everyone in the district to reverse it,” LaBelle said. He thinks people would see it as a “good will gesture,” if nothing else, he said.

LaBelle stressed that Rome residents are seeing tax increases related to the district’s budget that are unfair and that they cannot afford. He also said he thinks that the district has “a lot of fat” in the budget that it could cut out, while still providing a good education.

“We’ve got to take care of our kids in a way that makes sense for our kids,” LaBelle said, using the technology initiative as an example. He said that Rome students got iPads to bring home in an area where high speed Internet is scarce and there is no public library available.

Cook said that RSU 18 is hoping to set the standard for academic excellence in Maine, which in turn would bring industry and home buyers to the area.

“Carl (Gartley) and I are not as happy as we would like to be about where we are academically,” Cook said, but they are working on plans to set higher goals. Some of those goals don’t align with a flat budget, Cook said, but he does understand the town’s concern.

In other business, the select board also voted to approve an offer proposed by an attorney representing the lots owned by the Bakers on Mountain Drive. The one caveat is that the proposal allows the lots to have another septic system, which residents had said they wanted in case the current system failed, LaBelle said. There is also a provision banning any dwellings, which would be designated by a kitchen. The selectmen decided to accept the proposal to settle the issue.

The selectmen also approved paying out $500 from contingency for work done on the salt shed door and hiring Wire Guys from Oakland to install plugins in the salt shed.

Madeline St. Amour — 861-9239

[email protected]

Twitter: @madelinestamour

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