Members Present: Rob Browne, Lauchlin Titus, and Phil Haines
Others Present: Mary Sabins, Mary Grow, Chuck O’Neal, Mike Farrell, John Marden, Joan Pierce, Dean McCausland, Dick Phippen, Jean Poulin, Gene Field, Ken Farrell, Howard Morang, Cathy St. Pierre, Jim Schad, David Barden, George Hamar and daughter Sierra, Tom O’Rourke, J.J. Wentworth, and another unknown male accompanying the Coyote Ridge group.
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 1/5/12 meeting as written.
3. Coyote Ridge discussion – A large majority of the residents living on the Coyote Ridge Road were present for the meeting to discuss the tentative agreement made at the last meeting with Mike Farrell and Chuck O’Neal to sell the nine lots in the subdivision that the Town is about to foreclose on to them. Chairman Haines opened the meeting up for discussion to anyone that wanted to speak. Resident Dean McCausland stated he had read the coverage of the last meeting in the newspaper and wanted to hear directly from the Selectmen what is being proposed. Chairman Haines summarized and recapped the agreement. Mike Farrell stated that the residents of the road have had two meetings recently and a majority of the landowner group has come to a new agreement. Mike stated the group has agreed to allow him to purchase all of the lots for a dollar each, and he will then donate the nine lots to the new Road Association that the group plans to legally form tomorrow morning. He stated that with this new arrangement, no one person will benefit from the land acquisition and all will share the tax payment expense. Coyote Ridge landowner David Barden thanked the Board and Mike and Chuck for all the work done to find a resolution to the problem. He stated that he no longer plans to build a house in the subdivision but would like to increase the size of his lot to market it. Other general discussion was given as to covenants already written in landowner’s deeds and who might enforce the covenants. The Board suggested that the subdivision residents should continue to discuss the land transfer and Road Association formation among themselves until a final agreement is reached. No transfer of land can happen until at least the end of April, 2012 after the 60-day post foreclosure waiting period has expired.
4. Town Employees wage discussion – A large majority of the town employees were present to talk with the Board about their wages that are severely below the average of the rates paid by other municipalities for similar jobs and positions. One-by-one, most of the employees distributed prepared spreadsheets to the Board and the Manager that substantiated their claim. Research was done by most employees for their own positions, or positions of their subordinates, using the 2011 Maine Municipal Association (MMA) Salary Survey. Depending on the job title, the wage deficit of Vassalboro staff ranges from 15% to 31% below the average wage of other towns in Maine in the same population group of 3,500 to 4,999 this fiscal year. After hearing the concerns of the staff for 45 minutes, the Board thanked the staff for making their presentations about a difficult topic matter, and expressed an appreciation to the staff for the work that they do. The Selectmen expressed hope that the employees would be willing to work with them over a period of time to implement wage increases. Selectman Titus proposed a plan to bring the salaries up to the average over a period of three years, to avoid a severe budget impact all in one year. He suggested thirty-five percent of the difference could be budgeted the first two years, with the remainder the third year. No formal Board action was taken on Selectman Titus’ proposal. The Board stated that a budget workshop has been set for Thursday, February 16th where this subject will be discussed again in greater detail.
5. 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. Financial Report - On a motion made by L. Titus, seconded by R. Browne, the Board voted unanimously to accept the report as presented. Sabins will ask First Advisors representative to come talk with the Board about our investment with them on February 2nd.
6. Treasurer’s Warrants – On a motion made by L. Titus, seconded by R. Browne, the Board voted unanimously to approve warrants #35 and #36.
7. Other – 1. The damaged floor tile in the kitchen and front lobby was discussed. The Board approved replacement of the broken and damaged tile pieces. 2. The alewife harvester contract was discussed. No formal action was taken. 3. The Department of Labor Inspector’s report was reviewed. Fines of $5,600 were levied for violations found. Sabins has requested a discussion about the fines with the Labor Board to possibly reduce the amount owed. All department heads have been given a copy of the report and remedial action must be completed by April 15th, 2012. 4. L. Titus inquired if it is time to be thinking about the annual Spirit of America Award. He suggested the prisoner work program that has done so much work in town might be a possible recipient to recognize.
8. Adjourn – There being no further business to discuss, the meeting was adjourned at 9:07 p.m.
These minutes were read and accepted by the Board of Selectmen on 2/2/12 with the following amendments: None.