Vassalboro Board of Selectmen
Minutes of the Meeting
April 7, 2016
Members Present: Rob Browne, Lauchlin Titus, and Phil Haines
Others Present: Mary Sabins, Mary Grow, Nate Gray, Jim Hart, Scott Pierz, Bob Nadeau, Debbie Johnston, Dick Dolby, Ray Breton, Bill Browne, John Melrose, and Gene Field
1. Call to order – The meeting was called to order by Chairman Haines at 7:00 p.m.
2. Minutes – On a motion made by L. Titus, seconded by R. Browne, the Board voted unanimously to accept the minutes of the 3/24/16 and 3/31/16 meetings as written.
3. TIF Grant Funding Public Hearing – Chairman Haines declared the public hearing open at 7:01 p.m. and proceeded to accept public comment. China Region Lakes Alliance (CRLA) President Jim Hart introduced the others with him representing the CRLA, and then gave an explanation of what the CRLA’s plans are for the use of the requested $150K in TIF grant funds for the coming year on the alewife restoration into China Lake project. Jim indicated that the priority this year will be to work on breaching the Masse Dam and deconstruction of the Masse saw mill. The Grist Mill at that location will be preserved as an historical artifact. Discussion was also given about the projected $2.2 million budget for the long term project, which includes freeing up stream passageway though six dams for the alewives. Part of the planned project budget includes $150K for administration, which Jim explained is to pay for grant writers and administrators. L. Titus stated he had no problem paying $150K to have someone write $2 million in grants. R. Browne offered that he is concerned about spending this money and he wants to be sure the town gets its money worth. Chairman Haines informed the CRLA group that the town also received an application for funding from the TIF fund this morning from the Vassalboro Sanitary District (VSD), which is another approved project for use of the TIF funds. The VSD is seeking $145K in grant funds, and a public hearing on their request for funding will need to be advertised and held at a future Selectmen’s meeting. Chairman Haines asked VSD Chairman Ray Breton if the Sanitary District can wait for cash for their project. Ray said the funds would be used mostly for engineering costs and core sampling. Brief general discussion about timely funding for both projects was given. There being no more discussion, Chairman Haines declared the public hearing closed at 7:25 p.m., with no decision made and no action taken by the Board.
4. Activities Group for Senior Citizens – Sabins explained that she had recently attended Manager’s training where the subject of helping senior members of communities to age in place was discussed. This training caused Sabins to ponder what social activities the Town of Vassalboro could offer to our seniors to keep their involvement in the community. She explained that she had asked our newest office staff member Debbie Johnston if she would be willing to spearhead the effort to get a program started if the Selectmen endorsed the idea. Deb enthusiastically accepted the assignment. After explanation to the Selectmen at this meeting about the concept being discussed, all three Selectmen fully endorsed the concept and encouraged further development of the idea. Deb Johnston shared with the Selectmen the research she has performed about current offerings by outside agencies, and contacts she has knowledge of, who may help her formulate and organize the offering for our senior citizens in the near future.
5. Other (taken out of agenda order) – Code Enforcement Officer Dick Dolby provided an update to the Board on the Bernie, Jody, and Finn Welch code enforcement case he and the Planning Board are working on. Dick informed the Selectmen that Town Attorney Alton Stevens attended the last Planning Board meeting to provide guidance to them about decisions they were making concerning approving a subdivision for the Welch family at the old Volmer’s Nursing Home facility. The Welches have purchased the property and have made apartments within the structure, the number of which exceeds their permit and level of approval. The offering of a consent agreement with penalties to settle the code violations is being considered by the code officer and town attorney, and will be discussed further with the Selectmen at a later time.
6. Proposed budget revision discussion – This agenda item was placed to give the Selectmen an opportunity to discuss the budget reductions proposed by the Budget Committee, and to discuss alternate solutions. Chairman Haines gave Public Works Director Gene Field an opportunity to provide feedback about the proposed cuts to his budget. Gene stated that he feels the cuts are pretty deep, particularly to the paving budget. Gene offered that the Town of Unity has recently decided to bond for $1.3 million for paving because they failed to maintain their roads, and now they have major work to do. Chairman Haines stated that he is hopeful that the paving bids will come in at a lower price per ton, and that more paving work than initially planned can be accomplished with the $280K that the proposed paving budget has been reduced to. Sabins distributed draft #3 of the budget containing highlighted cells depicting the Budget Committee’s recommended reductions. L. Titus stated he has no heartburn about the proposed budget cuts. R. Browne inquired the status of the proposal to purchase the loader. He is not in favor of financing the loader, and would rather take the money from reserve and match with tax dollars to purchase the equipment outright. Budget Committee Chairman John Melrose stated he believed the status of the loader was in flux and that the Budget Committee has not yet made a decision or recommendation on that piece of equipment, pending the second meeting with the school board about the school’s portion of the town budget. The Board made no changes to the proposed budget reductions, and took no vote on this agenda item.
7. Summer meeting dates – After brief discussion, the Board set July 14th and August 11th as the two summer meeting dates.
8. MMA Executive Committee nomination process – Sabins explained that her 3-year term on the Executive Committee will end in December 2016 and she would like to run for re-election for another 3-year term if the Board approves. She also expressed some interest in submitting her name for the vice-president position. The Selectmen gave unanimous support for Sabins to run for re-election to the Board and also for the vice-president position. L. Titus offered to write letter of support to accompany her statement of interest and application for the positions.
9. Reports – a. Road Report - On a motion made by L. Titus, seconded by R. Browne, the Board voted unanimously to accept the report as presented. b. First Responders’ Report - On a motion made by L. Titus, seconded by R. Browne, the Board voted unanimously to accept the report as presented. c. Police Report - On a motion made by L. Titus, seconded by R. Browne, the Board voted unanimously to accept the report as presented.
10. Treasurer’s Warrants – On a motion made by L. Titus, seconded by R. Browne, the Board voted unanimously to approve warrants #57 and #58.
11. Other – 1. L. Titus stated that the Masonic Lodge has donated $1,500 to the Vassalboro Business Association to replenish the supply of American flags to be erected along Main Street.
12. Adjourn – There being no further business to discuss, the meeting was adjourned at 8:45 p.m.
These minutes were read and accepted by the Board of Selectmen on 4/20/16 with the following amendments: None.