Vassalboro Board of Selectmen
Minutes of the Meeting
January 12, 2017
Members Present: Rob Browne, Lauchlin Titus, and Phil Haines
Others Present: Mary Sabins, Mary Grow, and Jean Poulin
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 12/15/16 meeting as written.
3. January 9, 2017 Special Town Meeting results – The Board noted that the quorum requirement of 125 voters for a special town meeting was met successfully with 143 voters present, and the voters adopted the warrant article to prohibit retail marijuana stores and social clubs in town, rather than the second option of adopting a six-month moratorium to create rules to allow such businesses in town. Given the prohibition that was adopted, no further action needed to be taken by the Selectmen on this matter. Chairman Titus stated that he had not received any complaints about the vote results since the meeting. Selectman Haines stated that Channel 13 News TV station had contacted him the day or two before the Selectmen’s meeting and came to his house to film an interview about the special town meeting vote that was aired that same evening.
4. Kennebec Water District Operations Agreement – On a motion made by P. Haines, seconded by R. Browne, the Board voted unanimously to renew and sign the Outlet Stream Dam Operations Agreement with the Kennebec Water District (KWD). With this annual agreement in the amount of $1,200.00, the KWD employees take regular readings of the lake water levels at the dam house and adjust the dam gates accordingly to assure compliance with the Maine Department of Environmental Protections Lake Level Order.
5. Quarterly property assessment review update – Sabins reported that the contracted firm of RJD Appraisal has completed the second quarter review. This year, Maps 8, 12, 21, 22, and 23 were reviewed and digital photographs taken to update the assessing files. As a result of that work, a net gain in valuation of $604,600 was realized. At the current mil rate of $14.05 per thousand, that equates to $8,494.63 in tax dollar value. The new property values will be used in the August 2017 tax commitment. The Board also discussed RJD Appraisal’s proposal to increase their service fee by $500 for next year’s quarterly review, and to increase the Assessor’s salary fee by $950 for next fiscal year. After discussion, the Board agreed to the increase for the quarterly review, but decided to reduce the Assessor’s number of days in the office from 52 to 50 next year for the current year’s salary price of $26,800 in order to keep the budget down.
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. The Board agreed the format of the new Police Chief’s report was fine with them as it is very similar to the former Chief’s report format. c. First Responders’ Report - On a motion made by P. Haines, seconded by R. Browne, the Board voted unanimously to accept the report as presented. d. Financial 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 #38 and #39.
8. Other – 1. Chairman Titus stated that Bookkeeper Jean Poulin has asked to speak with the Board. He then asked Jean if she needed an executive session to discuss a personnel matter. Jean stated she wanted to discuss an issue with the Personnel Handbook rules and how it affected her during a recent sick leave absence. Chairman Titus determined that an executive session was not warranted, and he proceeded to allow Jean to explain her concerns. Jean distributed copies of the sick leave portion of the Personnel Handbook. She also distributed copies of time cards reflecting her time away from the office for recuperation from surgery, and the sick and vacation time that was used to cover the lost time so a paycheck could still be received during her absence. She stated that her sick and vacation time accrual was suspended while she was out, and she did not interpret the language in the current Personnel Handbook the same as the Town Manager did, and she did not agree with or understand why her leave time was suspended. Jean stated the Handbook referred to FMLA leave, which the town is not required to provide because of the low number of employees, and she felt the sentence “Employees on FMLA leave or extended regular sick leave will not accrue additional sick or vacation leave during such periods, or be eligible for holiday pay” did not apply to her. Town Manager Sabins then offered to contribute to the discussion the information from research she had recently performed. Sabins too, distributed a copy of the page from the Handbook concerning sick time accrual and reiterated that in addition to FMLA leave (if applicable), the above sentence in the policy says “or extended regular sick leave”. She also distributed a spreadsheet summary of Jean’s accrued sick and vacation time that had been stopped during her absence from work. The spreadsheet revealed that, had the accrual rates not been interrupted, Jean would have accrued 11.07 hours of sick time and 16.62 hours of vacation time. In addition to this time, 8.5 hours of sick time was used to cover the Columbus Day Holiday pay. Sabins stated that because she learned today that this discussion was going to come up at this meeting tonight, she had sent emails to the Maine Municipal Association Human Resources Director and to the Town of China payroll clerk earlier in the day to ask what their policies are concerning leave time accrual during extended sick leave absences. Both entities reported that the employees leave time accruals are not interrupted during extended sick leave absences. Based on this information, Sabins suggested it warranted discussion tonight that maybe our current policy, which has not been tested in this capacity since adoption in 2011, was too strict and may need to be amended. After brief discussion and general agreement that is particular section of the Handbook was not as employee lenient and friendly as the rest of the Handbook, the Board agreed by consensus that this section needs amendment. On a motion made by P. Haines, seconded by R. Browne, the Board voted unanimously to restore Jean Poulin’s sick and vacation time lost as outlined on the spreadsheet prepared by the Town Manager. Sabins will bring back the Personnel Handbook for revision discussions at an upcoming future meeting. 2. A possible lack of a quorum for the Feb. 23rd Selectmen’s meeting was discussed. The meeting was rescheduled to Thursday, March 2nd at 3:00 p.m. 3. Discussion was given about a flashing light and “Village Area Ahead” warning sign configuration that could be erected in the East Vassalboro Village area on a test basis to see if it might slow traffic down in the 25 mph zone to promote safety for the pedestrians in the area. Sabins displayed a sample solar-assisted Type B flashing light on loan from MDOT to give the Selectmen an idea of what it would look like. The Board approved the plan and gave the go-ahead to set up the warning signals in the spring when the ground is thawed to allow for post insertion, and after dig safe has marked the area for any nearby utilities. The estimated cost is about $500 for the two sets of signs, lights and orange flags. 4. Brief discussion was given about an off duty employment venture of one of the transfer station staff members.
Reporter Mary Grow left the town office at this time.
9. Abatement request – Since there were no members of the public in the room, an executive session was not called to discuss the abatement request. The applicant did not attend the meeting. After brief discussion, and on a motion made by P. Haines, seconded by R. Browne, the Board voted unanimously to abate the 2014 real estate taxes, interest and costs for case #17-01.
10. 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 1/26/17 with the following amendments: None.