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Dispatch decision challenge prompts Freeport Town Charter review

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Dispatch decision challenge prompts Freeport Town Charter review

FREEPORT — The Town Council on Tuesday scheduled a June 29 workshop to discuss amendments to the Town Charter.

Councilor Joe Migliaccio presented proposed language for sections in the charter that address the process to overrule council decisions and the requirement that residents sign petitions in the presence of the town clerk at Town Hall.

Migliaccio said he would like councilors to review the charter and be prepared to discuss changes or alterations on June 29.

The charter review comes after the council voted April 6 to consolidate dispatch services with Brunswick's communication center and a group of residents filed a petition to overturn the decision.

Under the existing charter, a petition to overturn a council decision has to be signed in the presence of the town clerk or deputy clerk at the clerk's office. Some residents said the charter effectively prevents housebound or disabled residents from participating.

One resident, Marianne McGettigan, has filed a complaint against the town with the Maine Human Rights Commission.

Migliaccio said there are also updates needed now that the schools have been consolidated with Pownal and Durham in Regional School Unit 5. 

Ed Bonney, a former councilor and past Charter Commission member, said the Town Charter was written in 1970 and enacted in 1973. It was amended once in 1983. He urged the council against forming another commission because it would add too much time to the process.

"This is a living document," Bonney said. "It has been amended in the past, and will be again."

In other business, councilors set public hearings for Tuesday, June 8, to amend the Coastal Water Ordinance concerning fines for violations of the town wharf berthing zone and to amend the Loitering, Curfew, and Noise Ordinance concerning loitering in parking lots.

Funding for a project that will provide erosion control at Winslow Park was also approved. Up to $236,000 to be spent from the Winslow Park account for the work. After permitting and survey work is complete, construction will begin in the fall and early winter.

The next council meeting is Tuesday, June 8, at 7 p.m. at Town Hall.

Amy Anderson can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 110 or aanderson@theforecaster.net