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Dexter council to form ATV task force

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DEXTER — At the November referendum, citizens narrowly approved a non-binding question asking “Are you in favor of of the town of Dexter opening public ways to the operation of All-Terrain Vehicles (ATVs)?” via a vote of 400 to 393.

“I would like council to formulate a proposal at a future meeting to appoint a committee, really a task force,” Town Manager Jim Chandler said during a Dec. 14 meeting. He said the task force would be authorized by the council to conduct research and collect data to then bring back on what town roads may be opened up to ATVs to help community businesses and promote economic development.

Chandler suggested the task force include a few councilors, business owners and general citizens, and he said 11 members may be a good number.

Councilor Peter Haskell suggested that citizens who are both for and against opening more public ways to ATVs be on the task force.

“We would have a set limit of time,” Chandler said. He suggested appointments be made during the council’s January meeting and the task force “would have a predetermined deadline to come back to the council.”

Fire Chief Matt Connor said paperwork has been submitted to the state to form an ATV club in Dexter, which would help maintain the trails and promote the recreational activity. “There’s a lot of interest in moving Dexter forward for ATVs,” Connor said.

In other business, Chandler provided an update on the bid process to demolish a dangerous building at 121 Main Street.

“I think you are all aware we had this out to bid and we received no bids,” the town manager said. He said per feedback, the bid specifications may not have been as clear as possible.

“We are going to simplify the bid documents,” Chandler said. He said the town attorney has drafted language for the insurance to cover not only the town but the contractor as well, and Dexter officials are awaiting approval on the coverage adjustment from the Maine Municipal Association.

“In talking with Councillor (Chuck) Ellms we thought it would be in our best interest to put it out to bid again until after the holidays with those two changes,” Chandler said.

He said the bid will require the contractor to tear down the building and keep the material a certain amount of feet away from adjacent properties. The debrish that can be burned will be disposed of by the Dexter Fire Department.

The council had previously passed an order allowing for the demolition of the dangerous building and for the demolition costs to be recovered by the town as allowed by statute. The homeowner lives in Oklahoma and had made
no effort to remedy the problem. She was given a 20-day notice to remove any personal property prior to the demolition being put out to bid.

Councilors elected a chair and vice chair for the next year. Michael Blake will be chair and Haskell will serve as vice chair.

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