ORLAND — Trash and town buildings were two of the top topics at the annual Town Meeting June 12.
Just over 50 voters came out and approved all of the two dozen articles on the warrant, though not without discussion and debate on several of the articles.
On a written ballot vote, voters approved (42-10) setting aside up to $20,000 for an engineering and architectural study of the Orland Fire Station. Former Fire Chief John Barlow told residents the money is not to build a new fire station, but to look at the current building and see what the best solution may be.
“The present station has a lot of issues with it,” said Barlow, noting it was built in 1974. “It’s approaching the end of its life span.”
An almost 63 percent increase in what was budgeted for the Bucksport Ambulance Service ($40,700, up $15,700 over the current year) raised a few eyebrows. Selectman Ed Rankin Sr. explained part of the increase was because carryover funds used in the past were depleted for the coming fiscal year.
Fire Chief Bobby Conary said he is looking at other area ambulance services, but that any potential change would take some time to implement.
On solid waste, voters approved adding a third day of operations (Sunday) to the two days the town’s transfer station is already open each week (Tuesday and Saturday). Town officials said having that third day is the top request they heard from citizens, but there was a move to nix that idea to save money.
Resident Karen Cote noted that between salaries and tipping fees, the town’s cost for running its own transfer station — Orland residents used to go to the Bucksport transfer station — was approaching $100,000 a year. She called that “outrageous.” A motion to reduce the funding failed, however, and the original article carried easily.
Residents were almost unanimous (51-2, by written ballot) in approving $25,000 for the installation of heat pumps in the gymnasium at the former Orland Community School, now the Orland Community Center.
The warrant article said the money was for air conditioning, but Properties Manager Michael Malenfant explained it was actually for heat pumps that could both heat and cool the space as needed. He said he expected an overall reduction in energy costs (the town pays just under $4,000 in oil and electricity costs for the facility now) and estimated a five-year payoff.
“I’m trying to make it run as lean as possible for energy efficiency,” Malenfant said. Residents applauded him for the work he is doing.