The Planning Board has unanimously approved the proposed Orange Large Wind Energy Systems ordinance, which will now go into the March warrant. You can read the final draft here.
This draft supersedes all the other versions. It's been a long haul and a lot of work for the Planning Board. Many thanks for your service, folks.
The Orange Town Salary Review Committee has submitted pay recommendations for Town officials. The last report, done by a committee chaired by Jim Collins, was submitted five years ago. Town Moderation Dan Hazelton appointed this year's committee, comprising Dave Como, Jay Heinrichs, Colin Higbie, Karen McFarlane, and Lisa Thompson.
The report went to the Budget Committee for public discussion in the Town House 7pm January 16. Orange citizens will vote on the salaries at Town Meeting on March 9.
The committee used these criteria for its recommendations:
- All other factors being equal, we believe that salaries should be set higher for critical positions in which mistakes could be costly to the Town.
- When possible, pay should support Orange’s spirit of volunteerism.
- Inflation has totaled 5.7% over the past five years, and remains low at 2% annually. We assumed reasonably low inflation for the next several years.
- Pay increases should not create an undue tax burden, especially given next year’s expected substantial tax hike to pay for the Mascoma School District construction.
Bottom line: the Salary Committee recommended keeping pay the same for all positions except for Treasurer, Deputy Treasurer, Town Clerk, Deputy Town Clerk, Select Board Secretary, and Road Agent. Judith Lindahl suggested we post the full report. You can read it here.
One correction: Bob Proulx pointed out that the calculated budget impact of Select Board Secretary is inaccurate. The actual figure is probably considerably larger. He and the rest of the Budget Committee will make their own calculation.
Lots of positions are available, from Selectman to Supervisor of the Checklist. Please consider serving our town, and file for election. Filing period is January 20-29 in the Town Clerk's office. (For hours, see the calendar.) The election is Tuesday, March 8.
Two Republican state representatives from Grafton, Robert Hull and Stephen Darrow, have introduced a bill to make it harder to impose industrial wind energy plants on area towns.
House bill 1470 would permit the planning board of each town affected by a proposed industrial site to be represented on the Site Evaluation Committee in order to vote on the application affecting the community. The Site Evaluation Committee will determine whether the Spruce Ridge industrial wind project can be built in Orange and neighboring towns.
You can read the text of the bill here. Thanks for the tip, Sandi.