Police & Fire

Milo schedules continuation of annual town meeting

MILO — Many of the articles making up the warrant for the 2023 annual town meeting were not voted on by residents gathered in the Ed Wingler Auditorium upstairs at the Milo Town Hall on the evening of March 13. With a town audit awaiting completion, these items will be decided at a special town meeting after attendees approved a motion to pass over all the monetary articles.

The special meeting was later scheduled for 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, March 29.

Soon after the start of the meeting, Town Manager Robert Canney was asked why the general government accounts article (the second article on the warrant) did not list 2022 actual figures for items such as administration and insurances, instead having 2021 actual, 2022 proposed, and 2023 proposed figures.

“We have not not completed the audit, we have reconciled the bank accounts for the year,” Canney said. He said verification of the correct posting of invoices to the correct invoices is on-going. For example he said fire department expenses may not be posted in the correct department account.

The town manager said the town’s treasurer retired during the process and a previous treasurer has come back to assist with the audit.

Canney said there are several warrant articles that needed to be voted on during the evening of March 13, but he said if residents are uncomfortable with a financial item then they could pass it over. “Then we’ll come back once we have the audit completed and revote on those articles,” he said.

“We know where the town stands financially overall, the only thing is we’re still working through,” Canney said. 

Moderator Steven Wagner suggested passing over all the financial articles and holding a special town meeting once the audit is complete.

“To authorize the board to continue to spend until the end of the audit and then come back to town meeting to finish the business, to me that makes sense,” Select Chairperson Tony Hamlin said. 

“I just want it to be known that it is not the fault of anything other than the fact we had to have an audit done and we had a hole in that employment office for a while,” he added.

Residents then approved Wagner’s suggestion of passing over all budget articles for the time being and coming back for a special town meeting.

Among the non-budgetary items that were passed, meeting attendees formally accepted $6,375,000 in federal funds for the construction of a new public safety building. 

In January the town was awarded the near $6.4 million to construct a new building to house the fire, police, and public works departments. Plans are for the structure to be located less than a mile up Park Street, near the business park and across the road from the Milo Water District office, from the 100-year-old town hall where the fire and police departments are currently located. 

USDA is the managing agency for the project. Soon the town will select an engineering firm to conduct site work to ensure the two intended lots will be suitable for building. If not, then another location will be found.

Hamlin commended Canney for working with U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine and her office and state and federal officials to get the public safety building funding. “$6.3 million, we don’t pay anything,” Hamling said. “It’s an opportunity that only comes around rarely.”

Across two articles, approval was granted for Elysium, Inc. to operate one indoor adult use cannabis cultivation facility and manufacturing facility at 31 Main Street, in full compliance with all Maine and local laws if the operator receives and maintains all required state and town approvals.

Canney said the business plans to operate at the old Harmon’s station and Elysium, Inc. was granted the second license that had been vacant. “So they are cleared to sell recreational marijuna out of that shop once they get cleared by the state,” he said.

“Milo’s marijuana ordinance only allows for the sale of adult use,” the town manager said, not cultivation at the commercial level which was granted at the town meeting.

The article concerning cultivation was at first voted down by a 20-10 count. After the ensuing article on manufacturing was OKed 20-13, a motion was made and passed to reconsider cultivation (passed 24-17). The cultivation article was approved by a second vote at 19-11.

At the day’s ballot Stephanie Hurd was elected to a 3-year term on the select board. Tony Bavelaar and Cory Sabine were elected to 3-year terms on the SAD 41 school board.

At the start of the meeting, Hamlin told the audience about a Legislative Sentiment for Milo’s Bicentennial that Rep. Chad Perkins, R-Dover-Foxcroft presented to the select board earlier this year. Hamlin said a bicentennial committee has been working to celebrate the milestone with events throughout 2023, and he thanked the committee members.

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