Discussion of CMP 'smart' meters planned in Topsham

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TOPSHAM — A briefing on Central Maine Power Co.’s wireless “smart” electric meters is planned for the May 19 Board of Selectmen meeting.

Town Manager Cornell Knight reported at the board’s April 7 meeting that installation of the meters is scheduled to start in the Brunswick service area around the beginning of June.

Selectman Donald Russell said it would be “prudent” for CMP to attend a board meeting.

“If we don’t go right up front and explain it and have it explained, what it’s all about, then we’re going to have questions upon questions,” as has happened in other parts of the state, he said.

Town Meeting

Town Meeting will be held Wednesday, May 18. The Board will hold a public hearing Thursday, April 21, to place items on the warrant.

An item discussed last week that will be included in that hearing is the proposed Topsham Community Fund ordinance. The ordinance, which would replace the Quality of Life ordinance, would establish a fund to help the town develop its financial capacity to make community investments.

John Shattuck, director of economic and community development, said the Quality of Life ordinance was enacted “with great intentions and goals,” but has been funded by Town Meeting in recent years.

He said the current ordinance provides an inflexible formula for determining the amount of funding each year, and that it does not subject that amount of funding to the typical review process by the town manager, Board of Selectmen and Finance Committee.

The replacement ordinance would require that review process and would also establish a funding recommendation “based on the projects that an annual plan will propose for being done, rather than just a simple arithmetic formula.”

The non-lapsing fund would be used for investments in areas such as recreation, social services, arts, history, parks, conservation, natural resources and environmental stewardship. The funds can be used to leverage funding from sources outside the municipality.

The April 21 Board of Selectmen meeting will take place at the Topsham Municipal Building at 7 p.m.

Alex Lear can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 113 or alear@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @learics.

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A Maine native and Colby College graduate, Alex has been covering coastal communities since 2001, and currently handles Bath, Topsham, Cumberland, and North Yarmouth. He and his wife, Lauren, live in the Portland area, and Alex recently released his third album of original music.