SOUTH BERWICK, Maine — By unanimous vote, the Town Council approved an extension of the municipal medical marijuana moratorium Tuesday.
The moratorium will prohibit establishment of medical marijuana production facilities until July 18. Councilors indicated the 180-day delay will enable the town to develop “performance standards and ordinance changes” for medical marijuana businesses. Current medical marijuana operations in town would not be subject to the moratorium.
Vice Chairwoman Mallory Cook questioned whether the moratorium would be applicable to the cultivation, testing and manufacturing of medical marijuana in town. The other councilors and Town Manager Perry Ellsworth noted research would be done regarding Cook’s concerns and, if necessary, the moratorium would be revised at the next council meeting Jan. 23.
In other business
The council heard from Peter J. Hall, shareholder of Smith and Associates, CPAs, regarding his firm’s audit of town finances. Hall told the council “no deficiencies were identified in internal controls” with the town “being in a strong financial position at this point.” Nevertheless, he made several recommendations, including formal policy reviews of the town’s personnel policy and its fraud prevention and code of ethics policy.
It was also recommended the town continue to improve its management of “off-site” cash receipts such as library late fees, transfer station charges and recreation department trips and services.
Ellsworth called for “an analysis of all the properties” foreclosed on by the town. He referred to four unidentified properties taken by the town 20 years ago and whose owners are unknown.
“We need a long-term plan on how to let such properties go,” he said.
“We should look to sell the land first, and then consider donating it,” to nonprofit organizations such as the Great Works Regional Land Trust, said Councilor John James.
It was also reported that due to inclement weather removal of the closed Vine Street bridge will not likely take place until mid-October of this year. Meanwhile, contractors working on the bridge suggest residents avoid skating on nearby Leigh’s Mill Pond due to wide variations in ice thickness.
Construction of the police station continues with placement of the roof now complete and downstairs plumbing and the cement pad to start during the week of Jan. 14.
It was announced town department heads are developing budgets for fiscal year 2020.