LOCAL MEETING ROUNDUP.

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COLUMN: LOCAL MEETING ROUNDUP

Oxford

Man finally gets earth removal permit

OXFORD - Alfred Dowell of Charlton was back before selectmen last night, finally obtaining an earth removal permit for 19 Oxbow Road.

Mr. Dowell had bought six acres at the site in 1997. Between 2005 and 2008, he removed approximately 30,000 yards of material from the site, but lost his earth removal permit in the spring of 2008 after failing to meet the requirements of his permit.

He went before selectmen Aug. 18 and asked for a new permit to remove 52,000 yards of earth. His hearing was continued to Sept. 1, then again to last night, when he sought a five-year permit.

Selectmen approved a two-year permit with multiple conditions, including a requirement that Mr. Dowell provide money for a third-party inspection to make sure he is meeting all of the other conditions.

Selectman Henry J. LaMountain said, "Five years is far too long. I would want to see in two years if he is doing things right."

Selectmen had scheduled a residential tax factor hearing for last night, but Christopher T. Pupka, assessor, said he needed another week for the hearing, which was continued to Oct. 6 at 7 p.m.

"My job as assessor is to make sure the tax levy is distributed fairly and equitably," he said. "Significant changes in market value" have hit in recent months, including "drastic differences between residential and industrial sales. We need to continue the hearing, so I and the Department of Revenue can make a proper determination for the distribution of the tax levy."

- Ellie Oleson

West Brookfield

GPS tracking devices considered for vehicles

WEST BROOKFIELD - Up to 10 town vehicles may be equipped with GPS tracking devices if Selectman Barry J. Nadon Jr.'s recommendation is followed.

The estimated cost for 10 vehicles is about $4,000, or $400 per device.

The Board of Selectmen last night decided to discuss Mr. Nadon's proposal to install the devices on Highway Department trucks. He said this way town officials will know where town vehicles are when residents question why trucks are observed out of town.

"I invite you to put the GPS on all trucks," Highway Superintendent Jason J. Benoit told selectmen. "Excellent idea."

His comment came after Mr. Nadon questioned why a highway truck driven by Mr. Benoit was seen at a restaurant in Barre.

"The trucks have been seen in Barre at other times," Mr. Nadon said.

Mr. Benoit said he was on town business and stopped to get a bite to eat.

When selectmen were asked by a Highway Department employee if singling out that one department was discriminatory, Selectman Thomas H. Long suggested also installing the GPS devices on other town vehicles such as police cruisers and the fire chief's vehicle.

The devices will permit the town to track a vehicle by computer.

- J.P. Ellery

Winchendon

Board delays action on auto sales license

WINCHENDON - Selectmen voted Monday night to take no action during a revocation hearing on the class II license held by Wayne Ramsey of Ramsey's Auto Sales, 49 Spring St.

The board was unable to agree on whether or not to revoke the license.

Selectman Burton E. Gould Jr. told the board he would rather see the license turned in by Mr. Ramsey than revoked.

He also said that he would personally go to Mr. Ramsey today to ask him for the license.

According to selectmen, Mr. Ramsey has not kept to his agreement with the town concerning the payment of back taxes and the need for an insurance bond.

Selectman Mark S. Shea said that based on that fact, he wanted to revoke the license.

Chairman Keith R. Barrows confirmed the lack of a bond, saying, "We've been advised and have received notice from the insurance company that the bond has been canceled."

He also said two letters had been sent to the owner, one to his home address and one to his business address. Neither had been acknowledged.

The board agreed to revisit the matter during the next meeting.

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