Vassalboro Board of Selectmen
Minutes of the Meeting
April 10, 2014
Members Present: Rob Browne, Lauchlin Titus, and Phil Haines
Others Present: Mary Sabins, Mary Grow, Nate Gray, Dick Phippen, Cathy Coyne, Don Breton and his daughter, Rhonda Lilly, Jodi Goodie, Rebecca Starratt, Bobby Starratt (who left the meeting shortly after it began), Jim Ashton, Mr. Pelletier, Scott Reynolds, Everett Reynolds, and approximately eight more unidentified residents from the Cemetery Street neighborhood.
1. Call to order – The meeting was called to order by Chairman Titus at 7:00 p.m.
2. Minutes – On a motion made by P. Haines, seconded by R. Browne, the Board voted unanimously to accept the minutes of the 3/27/14 meeting as written.
3. Department of Marine Resources Representative Nate Gray asked the Board for funds to pay the volunteer counter who counts the alewives entering Webber Pond and oversees the alewife harvesting site to prevent invasive fish entry, poachers, and vandalism of the fish ladder on Webber Pond during alewife harvest season. He said the State has paid this individual (Don Lettre) in past years, but they are unable to do so this year due to a shortage of funds. Nate suggested if the town was able to do so, to pay the counter in a one lump stipend not to exceed $1,200. After brief discussion and on a motion made by P. Haines, seconded by R. Browne, the Board voted unanimously to pay a stipend to the counter; the funds for which to come from the alewife revenue.
4. Jodi Goodie had requested to be on the agenda this evening to express her concern about her neighbors’ practice of target practicing on their closely abutting property using loud explosive targets for long periods of time on weekends for the last three weeks. Jodi stated the noise is excessive and she is fearful for the well-being of her son and possible damage to his hearing. Several residents from the Cemetery Street neighborhood came to express their concerns along with Jodi. Jodi and her neighbor Rhonda Lilly provided handouts to the Selectmen and requested that they consider adopting an ordinance to “prohibit the intentional, careless and/or negligent discharge of firearms and exploding targets…” There is no town or state law that prohibits the loud target shooting activity now taking place. Chairman Titus stated that enforcement of such a town ordinance would be difficult with only one part-time police officer. The State Police and Sheriff’s Department will not enforce local ordinances. Chairman Titus gave all attendees a chance to speak their concerns, which many of them did. He then gave Rebecca Starratt an opportunity to explain why the shooting is being conducted on her property. She stated that she and her husband invite friends over every Sunday to target practice for fun using tanner-rite explosive targets, and that the target practice starts about noon and lasts for several hours while her son naps. She stated she was willing to compromise if the neighbors came to her driveway to discuss it. The neighbors stated they did not feel comfortable or safe to approach this large group holding guns to register their complaints. Chairman Titus offered the use of the town office conference room for the two parties to negotiate an agreement, but Ms. Starratt refused to participate in a meeting at the town office. All thee Selectmen tried at different times to reason with, and settle down, the arguing parties. As the discussion wound down, the Board encouraged the parties to find a neutral meeting place to discuss the matter and to find an agreeable solution. Chairman Titus encouraged the neighbors to report back to the town if the circumstances do not improve soon, and then pursuit of an ordinance may be considered.
5. Acknowledgement – Chairman Titus informed members of the public remaining in the room that Public Works Director and Road Commissioner Eugene Field has obtained his Road Scholar Certification from the Maine Department of Transportation - Your Local Roads Division. The award was presented to Gene at a Local Roads workshop held in Waterville on April 3, 2014, and recognizes the numerous classes that Gene has attended and years of training he has obtained to reach this level of accomplishment.
6. Reports – a. Road Report - On a motion made by P. Haines, seconded by R. Browne, the Board voted unanimously to accept the report as presented. b. Police Report - On a motion made by P. Haines, seconded by R. Browne, the Board voted unanimously to accept the report as presented.
7. Treasurer’s Warrants – On a motion made by P. Haines, seconded by R. Browne, the Board voted unanimously to approve warrants #52 and #53.
8. Other – 1. The Board agreed by consensus to close the Transfer Station on Easter Sunday, April 20th at the Transfer Station Staff’s request to allow them time to spend with their family over the holiday. 2. The Board agreed by consensus to join the recommendation of the Budget Committee to support the purchase of the Public Works truck through taxation, rather than by borrowing money. Both recommendations will appear below the town meeting warrant article. 3. Sabins distributed a copy of a 2011 town meeting warrant article when the sidewalks in the east village were approved by the voters. She believes the sidewalk and funding issue does not need to be re-voted again this year because the article was already approved and authorized the Selectmen to use surplus funds until reimbursement from the government is received for their share of the sidewalk grant. The Board asked Sabins to verify her assumption with MMA legal staff. 4. Jim Ashton inquired if the Town could put up the flashing “current speed” sign to deter speeders on roads in town. Sabins will ask Gene Field to investigate the possibility. 5. Chairman Titus stated that since the Budget Committee did not support the proposed photovoltaic (solar) project at the town garage during budget deliberations, he was willing to have Sabins remove the Revision Energy article from the town meeting warrant. The other Board members agreed. 7. After brief discussion and on a motion made by P. Haines, seconded by L. Titus, the Board voted two in favor, one abstention (Browne) to approve the town meeting warrant article proposing the creation of a First Responder Service and raising $15,000 toward that effort. The Budget Committee voted last week not to recommend this expenditure.
9. Adjourn – There being no further business to discuss, the meeting was adjourned at 8:15 p.m.
These minutes were read and accepted by the Board of Selectmen on 4/24/14 with the following amendments: None.