Vassalboro Board of Selectmen
Minutes of the Meeting
August 14, 2014
Members Present: Rob Browne, Lauchlin Titus, and Phil Haines
Others Present: Mary Sabins, Mary Grow, Jim Hart, and Rick Denico, Jr. (7:30)
1. Call to order – The meeting was called to order by Chairman Haines at 7:05 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 7/17/14 meeting as written.
3. China Lake alewife project update (taken out of agenda order) – China Region Lakes Alliance (CRLA) President Jim Hart provided an update to the Board. He reported that the CRLA has appointed a Steering Committee to put together a master plan to introduce alewife into China Lake. This introduction is desired because, based on experience gained from the introduction of alewife into Webber Pond, when the Alewife return to the ocean later in the season, they will take phosphorus from the lake out with them, thus improving the quality of the lake water. The proposed project completion date is December 31, 2018, and consists of establishing fish passage into the lake while dealing with six dams within Vassalboro that presently serve as obstacles to clear fish passage. Jim stated that with cooperation from the dam owners, a firm plan exists to deal with four of the six dams; plans are still being made for the remaining two dams. Sufficient financing to start the dam projects this year fell short, so he is hopeful the project will commence next year. Without clear stream passage for the alewife to find their own way to China Lake this year, the State Bureau of Marine Resources manually stocked 21,000 alewife into China Lake.
4. Capital Expenses Committee – Capital Expenses Committee Chairman Rick Denico, Jr. explained that he wants to have a one-on-one meeting with the Budget Committee Members to explain the work and the findings of the Committee last fiscal year. He would like to identify a target amount for the reserves. Discussion was given as to when the Budget Meeting would occur, and since the audit report from the new audit firm is expected to be received by the middle or end of October, it was agreed the appropriate time for the meeting would be in late October or first of November.
5. Mil rate for 2014 taxes – In 2007, the Town conducted a town-wide revaluation and property values were adjusted up to reflect the current market price. In 2008, a national recession in the economy reduced market values on real estate, resulting in a trend over the last few years that left the town’s assessed property values higher than 100%, as determined by the State during their annual reviews of the Assessor’s files. To correct this situation, Sabins explained that the Assessor reduced the values of shorefront properties by 25% for land values and 10% for building values. All other off-water parcels were reduced, both land and buildings, by 10%. Properties within the Szady Lane subdivision were also reduced by 25%. This past year’s tax mil rate was $11.20 per thousand. Discussion was then given about the overlay component of the tax commitment and its use to cushion the impact of property tax abatements that may be granted, and to rebuild surplus funds. A range of allowable mil rate samples ranging from $12.70 to $13.20 were provided to the Selectmen for consideration, each rate resulting in a different amount for overlay which increased as the mil rate increased. On a motion made by L. Titus, seconded by R. Browne, the Board voted unanimously to set the mil rate at .01275. More discussion ensued that considered the fact that the overlay amount associated with this new mil rate was far lower than the last two year’s mil rate, and the Board members wondered if they had set the rate high enough with sufficient overlay to achieve rebuilding surplus funds after heavy use in the budget this past year or two. A motion was then made by P. Haines, seconded by L. Titus to reconsider the mil rate they had just set. The vote on this motion revealed two in favor, one opposed (R. Browne). A new motion was made by P. Haines to set the mil rate at $12.80 per thousand, which L. Titus seconded. The vote on this new motion revealed two in favor, one opposed (R. Browne). The $12.80 mil rate includes an associated overlay amount of $49,096.12.
6. Municipal Review Committee (MRC) letter of support – After brief discussion, and on a motion made by L. Titus, seconded by R. Browne, the Board voted unanimously to support the draft letter written by Sabins, and to authorize her to sign and send it to the DEP on behalf of the Board. The letter was written at the request of the MRC to support their application to the Maine Department of Environmental Protection for a landfill license, a component of their plan in pursuit of solid waste disposal options for members of the MRC of which Vassalboro is a part, once our current agreement with PERC in Orrington expires in the year 2018.
7. 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. Financial 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 R. Browne, seconded by L. Titus, the Board voted unanimously to accept the report as presented. d. First Responders Report – On a motion made by L. Titus, seconded by R. Browne, the Board voted unanimously to accept the report as presented, and with appreciation for services rendered.
8. Treasurer’s Warrants – On a motion made by L. Titus, seconded by R. Browne, the Board voted unanimously to approve warrants #9 and #10.
9. Other – 1. Sabins inquired if the Board would be willing to revisit the Town Procurement Policy at an upcoming meeting to consider exempting the mowing contract from the policy. The Board agreed to review the policy at their September 11th meeting. 2. Sabins announced that Deborah Johnston of Winslow, has accepted our offer of employment as a counter clerk to fill the office vacancy that was created after Jim Schad’s decision to retire. Ms. Johnston has prior municipal experience in the Presque Isle Town Office. She will begin work on September 2nd, which will also be Jim’s last day with us. 3. L. Titus announced that the Vassalboro Business Association (VBA) is busy making plans for Vassalboro Days, to be held on September 6th in the North Village area. Tickets are now on sale for the Double Dam Ducky Derby, which is a fundraiser for the VBA. P. Haines stated that the Library also plans to hold their annual book and bake sale at the Grange Hall that weekend.
10. Adjourn – There being no further business to discuss, the meeting was adjourned at 8:30 p.m.
These minutes were read and accepted by the Board of Selectmen on 9/11/14 with the following amendments: None.