Vassalboro Select Board
Minutes of the Meeting
February 15, 2018

Members Present: Rob Browne, Lauchlin Titus, and John Melrose

Others Present: Mary Sabins, Mark Carter, Nate Gray, Matt Streeter, Landis Hudson, Brian Sojkowski, Fred Seavey, Frank Richards, Pete Allen, David Jenney, Ray Breton, Elaine Philbrook, Gene Field, and Mark Brown (7:05)

1. Call to order – The meeting was called to order by Chairman Titus at 6:30 p.m.

2. Minutes – On a motion made by J. Melrose, seconded by R. Browne, the Board voted unanimously to accept the minutes of the 2/8/18 meeting as written.

3. Realterm Energy representative Mark Carter attended the meeting on behalf of his colleague Paul Vesel who was unable to attend. For the benefit of members in the audience not familiar with this agenda item, Chairman Titus gave a background summary on this topic of LED streetlight conversion that the Board has researched over the last year or so and wanted to revisit this evening. Mr. Carter then told of the 170 streetlight conversion projects his company is working on in the United States and Canada. Vassalboro has approximately 110 streetlights and three floodlights in town, using approximately 52K kilowatts of electricity per year. If converted to LED fixtures, Realterm estimates the energy consumption will be reduced to 17K kilowatts per year, with a savings of $15K per year. A question and answer session ensued. Chairman Titus asked about maintenance of the new lights, once they no longer belonged to CMP. Mr. Carter stated that his company has a contract agreement with a firm that would provide a contract agreement to the town to maintain our lights for $1.00 per light per month. He stated On Target will do the initial work to install the necessary fuse, and then an electrician of our choice would install the light fixture. Selectman Browne asked if small towns like Vassalboro have participated in conversion programs like the one Realterm is proposing, to which Mr. Carter indicated they have projects as small as 15 lights to as large as 40 thousand lights. Selectman Melrose inquired if any projects are yet complete, to which Mr. Carter replied no. The City of Portland has about 6,000 lights converted now, but the project is still in progress. Public Works Director Gene Field asked about the use of CMP poles to mount our lights; Mr. Carter indicated that a new ruling by the PUC allows such installation. Resident Ray Breton asked about conversion of privately owned lights, to which Mr. Carter stated that privately owned lights could be converted at the same time as the town project. No further action was taken by the Board at this time, and they thanked Mr. Carter for attending and giving his presentation.

4. Alewife Restoration Initiative (ARI) – Landis Hudson introduced herself and other members of the ARI Steering Committee who have been working on a design for the fishway to allow the return of alewife to China Lake in Outlet Stream. Fishway designer Brian Sojkowski gave a power point presentation with graphics of his proposed fishway design. Next, Matt Streeter described the land survey work that has been done in preparation for the project, and the discovery that the Town owns the land where the fishway is to be installed, but the town tax map lists the abutting Cates family as the owner. Matt suggested a known legal process could be used to claim the ownership of the land, and would need to be undertaken before the project could commence. Matt indicated that the abutting Cates family has been approached about the design of the fishway and they did not express any objection to the design, and they would prefer the town have all of the liability of the fishway (if any). Selectman Browne inquired if there is any general opposition to this proposed project in the community, to which Landis said no. She indicated that neighbors have asked questions while work and surveying was being done in the Outlet Dam area, but no negative objections have been raised.

5. Budget Discussions – Pete Allen, Deputy Chief of the First Responders explained his department’s budget request for the additional $3,500 in funding to reimburse the members of his volunteer department for their mileage to and from the scene of the calls. The volunteers do not get paid for their response time to each call, but would like to receive reimbursement for the mileage expense. Next, Police Chief Mark Brown explained his request for $35K to purchase a new cruiser to replace the 2007 Chevy Impala he is currently using. He’d like the next cruiser be an ATV like the State Police use that he could use to access the back roads in Town. The Selectmen asked both Pete and Mark about their experiences with the use of the outside social service agencies that the Town supports financially at town meeting. Pete stated that in his work as a paramedic, he has made referrals to some of the outside agencies for his patients and families in need. The solid waste budget was also discussed, although the Transfer Station Manager was unable to attend the meeting.

6. Gravel pit in China – Sabins indicated that MMA Legal Services could not provide comment on the matter, since China was a member of MMA, but they did provide a statutory reference about tax exempt property. Sabins researched the State Statute reference given and determined that land owned by the town outside its own borders is not tax exempt. She also consulted with our Assessor and he confirmed that town-owned property outside their borders is taxable. After discussion, and on a motion made by J. Melrose, seconded by R. Browne, the Board voted unanimously to request an appeal of the tax assessment on the gravel pit. The Board suggested the amount of $5,000 per acre should be used to determine the value submitted on the abatement application. Sabins will submit the application for abatement before the Feb. 22nd deadline.

7. Reports – Road Report and First Responders’ Report- On a motion made by J. Melrose, seconded by R. Browne, the Board voted unanimously to accept the reports as presented.

8. Treasurer’s Warrants – There being no warrant to sign, this agenda item was passed over.

9. Other1. Sabins indicated that she had communicated with the cemetery mowing contractor via email and he offered a three year contract for $24,500 each year, or $72,000 for the three year contract. On a motion made by J. Melrose, seconded by R. Browne, the Board voted unanimously to accept the three year contract offer. 2. Sabins reported that she had attended the School Committee meeting earlier in the week to talk with School Committee Members about designating the school as a Red Cross Shelter and applying for a grant for a generator to power the school in an emergency. The School Committee supported the idea unanimously. Sabins will pursue with Kennebec County EMA office and the Red Cross. 3. Sabins also reported that the School Committee discussed Chairman Titus’ suggestion of the services of a consultant to help with AOS92 school district dissolution matters. The School Committee decided that the consultant’s services were not needed as much of the dissolution decisions had already been made. 4. The Board signed the Investment Policy that was approved at the last meeting but not signed.

10. Executive Session – On a motion made by J. Melrose, seconded by R. Browne, the Board entered into executive session at 8:25 p.m. pursuant to 36 MRSA Section 841 to discuss an abatement request. The Board returned to open session at 8:30 p.m. On a motion made by J. Melrose, seconded by R. Browne, the Board voted unanimously to approve the abatement request.

11. Budget recommendations – The Board discussed the proposed budget and made recommendations until 9:00 p.m. when they decided to call it a night. Another budget workshop had already been scheduled and announced for the next morning at 9:00 a.m. to finish the budget recommendations that will be presented to the budget committee.

12. Adjourn – The meeting was adjourned at 9:00 p.m.


These minutes were read and accepted by the Select Board on 3/22/18 with the following amendments: None.