Inside the cuckoo's nest


“There is no odor so bad as that which arises from goodness tainted.”

Henry David Thoreau

The Windham town councilors met on 12 September and I don’t even know how I should begin to write about that particular meeting.

I guess I should start with a short overview of that meeting. The council passed a moratorium on construction projects on properties within the town that abut Highland Lake. This is only for a period of 180 days and certainly not permanent at this time.

Then the town councilors deadlocked on creating an ordinance which, as far as I am concerned, supercedes Maine statutes on private roads and just might be totally biased by the majority of town councilors that live on private roads in Windham. That leads me to say that the state needs to update its laws on ethics because the best I can see right now is that the state has none. Even Windham should do the same.

The debate on the building moratorium for Highland Lake shows me a huge weakness on how Windham, and probably every other municipality in Maine, approves building permits. At the present time it also shows me that the Maine Department of Environmental Protection is lacking as well. I have no clue as to any data that shows the status of problems with Highland Lake. We hear of algae blooms and bacterial invasions, but what do really mean and how serious is the problem? So I ask, how can any permit be approved without that being known when the possibility exists that runoff from a property could cause problems for any body of water?

But perhaps even far worse is when a sitting Windham town councilor actually attacks a member of the public who attended that meeting. If you want to know which Windham town councilor that was, go to the town website or go to the Windham library and take out the CD for that meeting. What Windham doesn’t need are arrogant town councilors blasting the very citizens they represent. I should have been surprised that other councilors said nothing, but at this point even that is not surprising because they have no clue as to how they should police themselves. I am beginning to wonder what entity keeps them so divided.

Then the town councilors digressed even further when the agenda turned to private roads and the proposed ordinance to shaft anyone who wants to subdivide their property as state statutes allow. I have to add, which is even sadder, that to the best of my knowledge the town did not have any attorney there to explain the options to the town councilors. One should have to think that would seem necessary, but then I realized there probably was a real reason that didn’t happen and I will leave it at that. Oh well, the can containing private road matters was once again kicked down the road to a future to be determined.

The town councilors were scheduled to meet on 19 September to discuss items including TIFs (tax increment financing), which I call the beast hidden in the town hall basement. I have never been in favor of TIFs and I never will. I consider a TIF another slush fund for the any town that has them, especially for the town of Windham. I would have been happier to see the town councilors meet with members of the Planning Board instead as some councilors asked for. I will make a guess that there is no love lost between some members of those two groups.

Finally, I have to wonder how much taxpayer money the town manager is willing to spend again to attempt another bond issue. It’s bad enough to want more money from us, but to use our own tax dollars to do so borders on criminal as far as I am concerned.

Lane Hiltunen of Windham has never seen a cuckoo’s nest until now.