NEW VINEYARD — Voters will meet at 9 a.m. Saturday at Smith Hall to set the municipal budget and elect officers for 2019-20.

The 32 warrant articles include election of municipal officials, with nominations taken from the floor. Selectman Jeff Allen, Regional School Unit 9 Director Lisa Laflin and Road Commissioner Robert Sillanpaa have not indicated whether they will serve another term, if nominated.

The Planning Board has five vacant seats, including three members and and two alternates.

Selectmen recommend appropriating $100,000 from the reserve account to reduce the tax commitment. They also recommend buying a new Fire Department squad truck. The $170,000 purchase will require borrowing $100,000 and taking $70,000 from the reserve account.

Voters also will be asked to raise and appropriate $245,290 for the Highway Department.

One article asks voters to approve a food sovereignty ordinance, but the wording of it in the Town Report is not what selectmen approved when resident Sue Lambert presented it to them.

“I’ll explain the ordinance at the town meeting,” she said.

“An Act to Recognize Local Control Regarding Food Systems” became law in Maine on Nov. 1, 2017. It applies to direct sales between producer and consumer at farms and homes where the food is produced in towns that have formally declared food sovereignty, according to Maine Federation of Farmers Markets.

The law was amended in October to exclude meat and poultry processing, and to exclude sales at farmers markets or other public venues.

“Somebody I talked to was concerned that the town could be liable if someone got sick,” Lambert said.

The Maine Tort Claims Act protects towns, she said.

Most towns already permit fundraisers involving baked goods, public suppers and similar food-for-money transactions without requiring state inspections or licensing.

The New Vineyard ordinance would extend the same opportunities to those who want to sell their pickles, pies or honey from home. The idea, Lambert said, is that people already buy food from people they know and trust. Having a formally approved town ordinance would make that local control decision official, she said.


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