By Diana Bowley, Of the NEWS Staff - DEXTER - Officials from a Pennsylvania industrial business interested in operating in a Water Street facility that the town hopes to purchase made a return visit Wednesday.
Town Manager Robert Simpson said the president and chief executive officer of the company industry, who asked not to be identified at this time, have expressed an interest in operating from the vacant Dexter Shoe Co. building. He said the party is interested because they would be involved in the renovation of the facility to suit their needs.
The last time the officials came to town, Simpson said the town had nothing to offer but a "handshake and a smiley face." He said he was encouraged because the officials are very impressed with the building.
The Town Council has signed a purchase and sales agreement with Dexter Shoe Co. for the building, but the purchase is contingent upon receiving a Community Development Block Infrastructure Grant.
Simpson told the council Thursday that he has yet to hear from the state on the grant but expects to learn soon if the town will be invited into the second phase of the grant process. In anticipation of that, he said he would prepare a request for environmental and engineering studies that must be conducted as part of the second phase.
The council also learned that the Dexter Regional Development Corp. has a new slate of officers and that the organization continues to promote economic development efforts.
Also on Thursday, the council adopted an amendment to the code of ordinances that includes some major changes in fines and outlines the operation of cemeteries. The changes include the following: increases fines for violations from $10 to $100; excludes all-terrain vehicle operation within town cemeteries; defines the responsibilities of the cemetery sexton; places the responsibility for management of Cemetery Perpetual Care and other trust funds with the town treasurer; and establishes criteria for the establishment of new cemeteries.
The amendment also increases burial rates as follows: adults - an increase from $200 to $275 weekdays and from $225 to $300 weekends and holidays; ashes - increase from $35 to $50 on weekdays and from $50 to $75 on weekends and holidays; and, infants - from $45 to $50.
Simpson reported that the town will not receive as much revenue sharing as anticipated, which will leave a $35,000 net shortfall. He said town officials originally projected on the low side for revenue sharing.
The town's public safety officials were praised by Simpson in the wake of the recent airplane crash at the municipal airport. "Our response to the accident was outstanding," he said.
Because of the accident, the town now has the opportunity to review response plans.
Regarding the airport, Simpson said the completed update to the master plan should be available next month. The total cost of the project is about $85,000, of which the town's share is $15,000. To date, the town has paid $12,418 for the project.
Simpson also said a survey of the airport has been completed at a cost of about $3,000. The survey was needed to avoid the sprawl that has occurred at the facility. A subdivision has been completed of all the lots for hangars, with growth geared to the west. He said the taxiway will be extended next summer.
The council voted to support the Maine Municipal Association's property tax reform initiative. The initiative basically requests the Legislature to fund education at the 55 percent level it agreed to do in 1980.
"It appears municipalities in this state have been taken for a ride financially," Simpson said.
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