February 27, 2013

St. Albans to consider obscenity ordinance proposal

Also: Voters to decide on municipal budget proposal

By Doug Harlow dharlow@centralmaine.com
Staff Writer

ST. ALBANS -- A proposed obscenity ordinance that would allow breast-feeding in public and two ballot proposals to borrow money for town roads are on tap Saturday for the annual town meeting.


Elections: 8 a.m.-7 p.m. Friday, Town Hall

Town meeting: 9 a.m. Saturday, Town Hall

Issues of note: Obscenity ordinance and two road bonds

Registered voters: 1,399

Voters at 2012 Town Meeting: 72

Current property tax rate: $18.20 for every $1,000 of assessed value

St. Albans Town Manager Rhonda Stark said that if all the articles are passed at the meeting as they appear on the warrant, the municipal budget will increase from the current $818,412 to $921,067. The current property tax rate is $18.20 for every $1,000 in assessed value.

Stark said the town normally receives $100,000 in state revenue sharing. She said she has budgeted for half of that -- $50,000 -- pending a proposal by Gov. Paul LePage to cut revenue sharing to the state's cities and town.

In composing the proposed obscenity ordinance, St. Albans selectmen in September chose to prohibit certain acts of commercial exploitation of human sexuality by banning nudity and sexual acts in business establishments or public places.

The ordinance, if adopted by voters Saturday, would not prohibit or regulate women who breast-feed in public.

Another section of the proposed ordinance would prohibit registered sex offenders whose victims were under 14 from residing within 750 feet of a school or municipal property, such as a playground, where children are the primary users.

The ban would not include sex offenders who already reside within the 750-foot restricted area.

The proposed ordinance appears as Article 10 on the 38-article town warrant and will be subject to debate from the floor of the meeting.

Voters also will be asked, in Article 20, to raise $20,000 for building a meeting room for the Fire Department at the training facility on Square Road. Stark said the meeting room at the Water Street fire station no longer can be used for meetings because of insurance restrictions -- it has no second exit.

The town meeting starts at 9 a.m. Saturday, in the Town Hall.

The two questions on borrowing for road improvements are on the written ballot for voting during Friday elections. They are 8 a.m.-7 p.m. Friday, in the Town Hall.

The first ballot question asks voters whether to authorize borrowing up to $650,000 over seven years for improvements to Mason Corner Road, Bigelow Road, High Street, Water Street and Grant Road. The second question asks whether the town should borrow $150,000 over seven years for repair, improvements and paving on the gravel section of Pond Road.

Also on the ballot Friday are three open seats for three-year terms on the town Budget Committee. There are four candidates: Gregory Crump, Eleanor Davids, Shelda Madigan and Scott Seekins. All other races are uncontested.

Doug Harlow -- 612-2367


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