Chinese elected officials approve funding for community ice rink
by Mary Grow
At their September 13 meeting, Chinese elected officials unanimously approved the recreation committee’s plan to spend approximately $ 5,000 from the recreation reserve account on an ice rink this winter, and congratulated President Martha Wentworth and the rest of the committee for their activity.
Wentworth explained the plans and answered many questions from board members.
The committee proposes the purchase of a removable ice rink, made of hard plastic boards. Wentworth has a half-dozen volunteers to set it up this fall after the soccer and football teams are over and to take it down in the spring before the baseball teams need the field. She plans to store the boards in the soccer storage garage.
The rink will be on the city-owned southern ball field on the grounds of the China Middle School, so the ball field lights will be available for evening skating, likely on Friday or Saturday. Wentworth envisions the rink as being primarily for family use, primarily during the day. A few hours could be set aside for hockey players one day a week, she suggested.
She had spoken with Southern China Fire Chief Richard Morse about providing the estimated 9,600 gallons of water to fill the rink and returning firefighters to flood it when the ice gets too rough. She expects other volunteers, the recreation committee, and local organizations interested in selling hot chocolate and other refreshments to skaters, to keep the area clean.
Winterized trash cans and portable toilets will be on site.
Due to the location, no additional snow removal from the driveway will be necessary for access. Wentworth is looking for volunteers (preferably; the committee will pay if necessary) to clear the ice after snowstorms. She said she was already talking with two people.
When asked about insurance, she said ice skating would not increase the city’s premium unless authorities decide to insure the rink structure itself, for around $ 100 a year.
Wentworth cited the advantages of using a land rink instead of clearing a skating area on Lake China: it is a “more controlled environment”: some people fear the strength of the lake ice; and the land allows organizations to sell refreshments and speakers to play skating music.
Ronald Breton, chairman of the selection committee, added that field skaters would not have to watch out for speeding snowmobiles.
City manager Rebecca Hapgood suggested the rink may be eligible for federal funds under the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). Wentworth had heard of another possible source of grant funding.
In other cases, Hapgood announced that the city-owned land on Lakeview Drive has been sold, for $ 83,000, but the closure is postponed until October because the title company has such a backlog of business.
Selectmen postponed until its next meeting the action on tenders for the installation of heat pumps in buildings in the city.
After discussion with codes officer Jaime Hanson, elected officials voted unanimously for the city attorney to begin the process of suing a Winding Hill Road landowner for long-standing uncorrected violations city ordinances and state laws.
The September 13 meeting began with the annual public hearing on the state’s proposed amendments to the annexes to the General Assistance Ordinance, adjusting the amounts of aid in different categories. There was no public comment. Selectmen then adopted the changes unanimously.
Kennebec County Sheriff’s Deputy Ivano Stefanizzi attended the meeting and said he was well received by most residents, both as he patrolled the city’s roads and in last summer when he and his colleagues were patrolling China Lake.
Hapgood recalled that the first half payment of Chinese property taxes 2021-2022 is due at the municipal office before the close of business on Thursday, September 30. Interest on late payments begins immediately.
She read City Clerk Angela Nelson’s report that tax payments are coming in well, with some people paying for the whole year.
Assessor Kelly Grotton’s report added that if people think their property is assessed, and therefore taxed, more than it should be, the deadline to file a claim for abatement is February 17, 2022. Any personal property tax appeal must be accompanied by a complete list of such assets.
Public works foreman Shawn Reed reported, via Hapgood, that his team were preparing roads for paving in the South China village and elsewhere in the southern part of the city. Pike Industries plans to begin paving in China on September 23, if there is no rain delay by then.
Irène Bélanger is retiring
At the September 13 selectmen meeting in China, Irene Belanger, a longtime selectman, announced that she would be retiring this fall and resigning from most of the other boards and committees she sits on, due to her husband’s health. Other council members congratulated her on her long service to the city.
The next regular meeting of Chinese elected officials is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. on Monday, September 27. Their first meeting in October will be on Tuesday evening October 12, as Monday October 11 is the feast of the indigenous peoples.
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