Vassalboro Board of Selectmen
Minutes of the Meeting
April 12, 2012
Members Present: Rob Browne, Lauchlin Titus, and Phil Haines
Others Present: Mary Sabins, Mary Grow, Jim Poulin, Don Robbins, George Gould, Richard Phippen, Jane Edwards, Chuck O’Neal, several unknown members of the public including students from Erskine Academy and University of Maine at Augusta.
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 approve the minutes of the 3/29/12 meeting as written. Later in the meeting during review of the Reports Section of the agenda, it was realized that the 3/29/12 minutes approved earlier in the meeting contained an error. The incorrect minutes stated that the Police Report had been reviewed, when in fact it was the Financial Report that was reviewed and approved. On a new motion made by L. Titus, seconded by R. Browne, the Board voted unanimously to accept the 3/29/12 minutes as amended to reflect the change that the Financial Report had been reviewed and accepted.
3. Jim Poulin, who lives on Riverside Drive, expressed concern about his neighbors, which he said includes children, are setting off fireworks at all times of the day and night. Now that the use and possession of fireworks have been legalized in Maine effective January 1, 2012, Mr. Poulin is concerned that fires will be started from the live embers from the firecrackers. Mr. Poulin requested that the Board consider implementing rules to regulate the use of fireworks in town. He suggested a permitting process, so the fire department would know who will be setting off fireworks and when. Mr. Poulin’s neighbors, who have been lighting fireworks, were also in attendance at the meeting and defended their right to use fireworks, stating that they used them safely when it was wet so no fires would result. After discussion with the public in the room about the pros and cons of implementing fireworks rules and regulations, the Selectmen stated that they felt the newness of fireworks availability would soon wear off, and that regulations would not be needed. Some speculated that enforcement of local fireworks regulations would be difficult. The Selectmen encouraged the public present who were in opposition to the new law permitting the use of fireworks to contact their Legislators to repeal the new law.
4. Jane Edwards requested that the Board allow inclusion of a Resolution on the June Town Meeting Warrant. The Resolution entitled “RESOLVE supporting an amendment to the United Sates Constitution to provide that Corporations are not Entitled to the Rights of Natural Persons with Regard to the Expenditure of Money to Influence Elections,” encourages the US Congress to begin the process of amending the US Constitution to abolish corporate personhood, which would limit corporations’ ability to contribute to candidate elections. A motion was made by L. Titus to put the shorter version of the Resolution presented by Ms. Edwards on the warrant. Discussion ensued. Selectman Browne expressed concern how this resolution may affect his business’ ability to contribute to the campaign of the candidate of their choice, and he stated he was disinclined to support putting the Resolution on the Warrant. Selectman Haines stated he felt the voters should have the opportunity to vote on it, so he seconded the motion made by Selectman Titus. The vote on the motion revealed two in favor (Titus, Haines) and one opposed (Browne).
5. Don Robbins explained his request for amendments to the Building Permit, Site Review, and Subdivision Ordinances. As co-owner of the East Vassalboro Water Company, his company seeks to amend the above named ordinances to require that his company be notified and given the opportunity to comment on any applications or requests for permits for development inside the public water supply wellhead protection zone as mapped by the ME Geological Survey and the Drinking Water Program. Don displayed a map depicting the wellhead protection zone. The Planning Board conducted a public hearing on the proposed changes on April 3rd, prior to giving their support to bring the request for changes to the voters at the June Town Meeting. Don added that adoption of these changes will bring the town’s ordinances into compliance with State Law.
6. Excise tax exemption for military personnel – As per new State Law 36 MRSA 1483-A, effective January 1, 2012, municipalities may adopt an ordinance which allows an excise tax exemption to active military duty personnel who are either permanently stationed outside of Maine or deployed for more than 180 days but who still wish to register their vehicles in Maine. On a motion made by L. Titus, seconded by R. Browne, the Board voted unanimously to put the Ordinance on the Annual Town Meeting Warrant to see if it will be supported and adopted by the voters.
At this time, Chairman Haines addressed the Erskine and UMA Students in the audience and provided a brief tutorial on our town government structure and operations.
7. Reports – a. Status Report – On a motion made by L. Titus, seconded by R. Browne, the Board voted unanimously to accept the report as presented. b. Road 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.
8. Treasurer’s Warrants – On a motion made by L. Titus, seconded by R. Browne, the Board voted unanimously to approve warrants #53 and #54.
9. Other – 1. Selectman Titus inquired about the status of the disposal of tax acquired property on the Cushnoc Road, and also expressed an interest in having a Board discussion about disposing of the town-owned island in Webber Pond. Sabins will add these items to the next meeting agenda. 2. Sabins provided an update on the search for a new Public Works Employee to replace Ken Farrell who resigned.
10. Adjourn – There being no further business to discuss, the meeting was adjourned at 8:10 p.m.
These minutes were read and accepted by the Board of Selectmen on 4/26/12 with the following amendments: None.