By Diana Bowley of the News Staff - DEXTER - Truck drivers tooling through Dexter should take note that the town no longer will tolerate the use of engine brakes on sections of Routes 7 and 94. The Town Council on Thursday adopted an ordinance that asks truck drivers to refrain from the use of their engine brakes on the two highways, specifically from the intersection of the Trotting Park Road south to the Garland Road intersection and from the intersection of the Shore Road east to the Church Street intersection.
"It was a response to what I consider valid complaints," Dexter Town Manager Robert Simpson told the council on Thursday, in response to a question raised about the need for the ordinance.
Town officials had proposed using the word "prohibit" in the ordinance, but after a public hearing amended it to "shall refrain" as more of a courtesy, even though the town's attorney found nothing wrong with the original wording. The change, recommended by the Department of Transportation, would eliminate the town from any liability that might occur if a truck driver were involved in an accident because of being unable to use the engine brakes, according to Simpson.
But Town Attorney Eric Stumpfel of Dover-Foxcroft told the council that the liability issue in relation to the word "prohibit" was overstated.
The "liability just isn't there," he said. Despite the change, he told the council that "shall refrain" should be enforceable in court. It sufficiently directs the truck drivers, he said.
In other action, the council agreed to allow the town to serve as a pass-through agent for Penquis CAP should it receive a Community Development Block Grant for replacement housing for low-income residents in pre-1976 mobile homes and dilapidated stick-built homes.
The council was assured that Penquis CAP would do the "lion's share" of the reporting and paperwork and that the town would be reimbursed for the work involved. The grant funds will be used to bridge the gap between what the owner can borrow and the cost of the replacement project.
The Town Council was told that there is no guarantee that the funds, if approved, will be spent in the region, but councilors were encouraged to recommend people in the area who could use the housing help.
The council also:
. Elected Peter Haskell as chairman and Fred Banks as vice chairman.
. Was told that town reports would be available to the public next week.
. Was advised that all residents in the Mid Maine Solid Waste Association are now required to purchase a $1 sticker to help eliminate the use of the facility by nonmembers.
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