KITTERY, Maine ó The town's voters will not be asked to weigh-in on dog leash laws or chloramines in the water supply. The Town Council on Monday night killed the two proposals to place non-binding referendum questions on the November ballot.

Both issues, some councilors argued, did not rise to the level of warranting a town-wide survey. Monday's votes took place after councilors debated whether to move the proposals forward to public hearings in August.

Councilor Charles Denault proposed a referendum to seek further clarification from voters on their opinions of dog leash laws and a potential town dog park. For years, dogs at Fort Foster and Seapoint Beach have been a hot topic in town, especially off-leash dogs and owners who do not pick up after their pets. Denault said there is a "significant level of confusion" about what is allowed when it comes to dogs in the town's public spaces.†

Per current ordinance, dogs at Fort Foster must be leashed at all times during park hours on weekends in May and September and every day from Memorial Day to Labor Day, but park policies state "at all times." The discrepancies, Denault said, need to be addressed.

"As a councilor for five years, Iíve heard pros and cons about leashes and leash laws and whether the dogs should be at large, or not at large," Denault said. "One of the things Iíd like to do is get a consensus of the voting electorate to give us guidance. It would be advantageous to me as councilor to look at what the public would like to see. If it puts it to rest, it puts it to rest. If it signals a change, we as a council can look at it."

Councilor Ken Lemont argued the Town Council is a body tasked with making policy, and doesn't "always need to test the pulse of the community."

"This community voted in 1966 to end the Town Meeting form of government and go with seven individuals elected to make the policy, ordinance and budget decisions, rather than the few people showing up every march at the Town Meeting," said Councilor Jeffrey Thomson.

Thomson said over the last several years, the "bar has been pretty high" for ballot questions, citing recent questions on marijuana and the Rice Public Library project.

"We canít be asking every time we get a little nervous about making a decision, 'Well letís put it out for the town to vote on it,'" he said. "Iím afraid I just canít support this. Iím willing to look at the ordinance that Councilor Denault has proposed, but to move forward on another non-binding referendum on a somewhat vague question, I donít know what that accomplishes."

Denault was the lone vote in favor of scheduling a public hearing on his proposed referendum question.

Resident Julia O'Connell, who has led the citizen resistance charge against the Kittery Water District implementing chloramines as a disinfectant, presented the council with a more than 450 signature petition requesting a non-binding referendum be placed on the November ballot to cement the town's opinion on chloramines, following several months of debate and community meetings.

Last week, Mike Rogers, superintendent of the Kittery Water District, announced the district would not be moving forward with implementation, and instead remain with its current free chlorine disinfectant.

"The purpose is to let the Kittery Water District know the wishes of town residents, most of whom are water users," O'Connell said. "We feel this is a necessary step. It's an opportunity to survey a larger audience."

O'Connell argued that while not all voters are Kittery Water District users, they may frequent establishments that are, so they should also have a voice.

Councilor Cyrus Clark said a non-binding referendum would be like "spiking the football," considering the Water District has already announced it will not be moving forward with chloramines.

Thomson said it wouldn't draw a representative vote, because people who are not water district users would be chiming in on the question.

"To spend town resources, printing a ballot, paying ballot clerks to count these ballots for a very flawed question and survey is not appropriate use of taxpayer money, plain and simple," he said.

Councilor Jeff Pelletier acknowledged there has been a "significant level of civic activity" around chloramines, and he didn't see harm in moving forward with a public hearing to hear from residents about whether to place the question on the ballot.

Chairwoman Judy Spiller hailed the Kittery Citizens Concerned About Chloramines group for its activism work, but said it's an "issue between the Water District and its customers."

It was a 3-3 tied vote, resulting in a motion failure.