Alna will hold an abbreviated version of its annual town meeting Saturday, March 21 due to the coronavirus pandemic.
According to a mass email from the town office, the Alna Board of Selectmen recommends lumping all noncontroversial articles into one vote, for approval, and lumping the remaining articles into another vote, for postponement.
The warrant for town meeting includes articles about two Pinkham Pond projects, roadwork, and construction of an archives room for lease. The warrant has 50 articles.
The meeting will take place at the fire station, beginning at 2 p.m.
The municipal election will take place as well, with polls open at the fire station from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., Friday, March 20.
The meeting will take place in the truck bay instead of the meeting hall, which will allow people to sit farther apart, according to a mass email from Second Selectman Doug Baston to residents. Social distancing is one of many recommendations from public health authorities aimed at slowing the spread of the virus.
Depending on the weather, the bay doors may be opened.
One of the two Pinkham Pond projects would be completed by the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife. The department plans to develop a hand-carry boat launch site and a parking lot on town property. The parking lot would be near the current makeshift carry-in site on Rabbit Path Road.
Article 23 asks if voters will authorize the selectmen to draft an easement necessary for the department to do the work. The department plans to complete the work and maintain the site at no charge to the town.
With Article 46, voters will decide whether to spend $6,800 on a town parking lot adjacent to the future state-built parking lot.
According to Road Commissioner Jeff Verney, the parking lot would measure about 75 feet by 75 feet and fit about 15 cars.
The area would be cleared and gravel brought in. Verney said he would do the work.
The parking lots would improve safety at the pond, where visitors often park along the narrow road.
Voters will also decide the percentage the town will contribute toward ongoing maintenance and repair of Sand Building Road, the private road home to the town’s sand and salt shed.
According to the warrant, the selectmen are recommending that the town contribute 40%. The remaining 60% would be split equally among the remaining property owners on the road, or by another formula agreed on by the abutters.
In letters and meetings last year, the other property owners on the road questioned the fairness of having to maintain a road where heavy equipment going to the sand shed causes significant wear.
Article 17 asks whether the town should contract with a civil engineer to provide technical bid specifications for the repair of Cross Road and any other town roads in need of repair. The article does not include a dollar amount.
Article 47 will determine whether the town will spend the recommended $10,400 to build an archives room in the basement of the town office for lease to the Wiscasset, Waterville & Farmington Railway Museum.
The museum would lease the space for five years at an annual cost equal to one-fifth of the construction cost.
During a December 2019 selectmen’s meeting, museum representative James Patten said the organization is “running out of space” for its archives. The museum is based on Cross Road in Alna.
The town has an existing archives room for its own use.
“The basement (of the town office) already has a spot for Alna’s archives. We are going to build a separate space for our archives,” Patten said at the December meeting.
When the archives move back to the museum, the space could benefit the town.
During Friday’s election, only one voter will be allowed in the voting area at a time and those waiting to vote will wait in the fire station entryway or parking lot. Freshly sanitized pens will be provided.
“We don’t usually discourage people from exercising their civic duty, but unless the ritual of doing so is very important to you, we would urge you to stay home,” the selectmen said in an email.
There are no contested elections.
First Selectman Melissa Spinney is running for a two-year term. Road Commissioner Jeff Verney is running for a one-year term.
Douglas Morier is running for a three-year term on the RSU 12 Board of Directors. The incumbent, Abby Manahan, is not running.