RICHMOND — Workers from the company town officials identified to clean up a property on Alexander Reed Road arrived Monday to start work, more than an hour after the owner of that property dropped off a petition at the Town Office to stop that work.

David Smith, whose property is subject to a court-ordered cleanup, said Monday he was able to collect the number of signatures required over the weekend and was waiting for the Town Office to open so that he could turn it in. Through the petition, Smith is seeking a halt to the removal work until an open town meeting can be held, at which voters would have the opportunity to vote whether the judgment against Smith ought to be vacated and dismissed with prejudice.

While the Richmond Board of Selectmen was scheduled to meet Monday, the petition was not on the agenda.

Before it can be presented to elected officials, the names on the petition have to be verified. Town Clerk Sharon Woodward said Monday she wasn’t certain that she would be able to finish that in one day.

Regardless of the outcome of that review, Richmond Town Manager Adam Garland said there’s no need to have a town meeting because there’s no legal basis for the petitioned request. Garland said he conferred with the town’s attorney at Jensen Baird Gardner & Henry in Portland on Monday morning.

“(Smith) is requesting a town meeting for something that Town Meeting can’t address,” Garland said. “Once the signatures are verified, I will be bringing it forward to the Board of Selectmen so they are aware officially that it happened.”

Garland said if this were a legitimate request, the selectmen would have 60 days to schedule the meeting.

A JARR Management worker inspects a dump truck during the company’s cleanup of the Smith property Monday in Richmond. Kennebec Journal photo by Andy Molloy

In the meantime, Jarr Management is expected to spend the week working on the property, clearing out the vehicles, appliances and other items listed in the order from the district court in Sagadahoc County that dates back to 2017. Although Smith had the opportunity to appeal that order, he did not.

After putting the project out to bid three times since last summer, selectmen awarded the bid to Jarr Management for $18,000.

As Smith stood by the side of Alexander Reed Road Monday morning, passing drivers waved and honked or pulled over for a few minutes to talk and commiserate.

“The vehicles were for sale,” Smith said, referring to the cars and trucks on his property. “It’s a shame the town’s people have to buy stuff that they wouldn’t otherwise have purchased.”

The cost of the cleanup is expected to be levied against Smith’s property, not on taxpayers.

 

Jessica Lowell — 621-5632
[email protected]
Twitter: @JLowellKJ

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