Vassalboro Board of Selectmen
Minutes of the Meeting
January 21, 2021

Members Present: Rob Browne, John Melrose, and Barbara Redmond

Others Present: Mary Sabins, David Trask (virtual meeting host), and Eric Calderwood (6:33). Other members of the public are anticipated to have observed the meeting being broadcast live online via YouTube; the actual number of which are unknown.

1. Call to order – The meeting was called to order by Chairman John Melrose at 6:32 pm. Due to the Covid-19 (Corona virus) national pandemic with increasingly high infection rates, the Board returned to virtual meetings for an unspecified length of time. A temporary change in State Law passed by the Legislature months ago remains in effect that allows the provision for these remote video-conference meetings to accomplish town business. Each vote taken is required to be taken by roll call vote, which Chairman Melrose asked Sabins to do for each vote taken.

2. Minutes – On a motion made by R. Browne, seconded by B. Redmond, the Board voted unanimously by roll call vote to accept the minutes of the 1/7/21 meeting as written.

3. Natanis Liquor License Renewal (taken out of agenda order while awaiting Eric Calderwood’s arrival) – On a motion made by B. Redmond, seconded by R. Browne, the Board voted two in favor and one abstention (R. Browne) by roll call vote to approve the on-premises and auxiliary liquor license renewal applications for Natanis Golf Club.

4. Engineer Eric Calderwood, of Calderwood Engineering was present at the virtual meeting and indicated he had talked with Nitram Excavation about the contract for the Gray Road culvert replacement project. A plan has been conceived that the pre-cast concrete culvert pieces can be ordered and stored at the Dirigo’s shop yard (the vendor) for up to one year. The cost for the town to purchase the box culvert from Nitram if the town votes not to fund the project would be $73,294, which includes Dirigo delivering it and unloading it at a location in Vassalboro of the Town’s choosing. Eric recommended that the Town sign the contract with Nitram and then a change order after-the-fact for the early culvert purchase. On a motion made by R. Browne, seconded by B. Redmond, the Board voted unanimously by roll call vote to authorize Town Manager Sabins to sign the contract with Nitram. Eric has agreed to continue on with the Town on this project by overseeing the project during construction. He will provide a separate contract agreement in the coming weeks to be paid on a per-hour basis.

5. Town Report – The Board contemplated several suggestions for town report themes that were offered at the meeting. Ideas included: the State of Maine’s 200th birthday, the Town of Vassalboro’s 250th birthday, the community’s response to Covid-19 as it relates to the First Responders, the food pantry, and community service. No theme decision was made at this meeting. Instead, the Board opted to mull over these ideas and possibly come up with others, and made a plan to revisit the topic at the February 4th meeting.

6. Reports – On a motion made by R. Browne, seconded by B. Redmond, the Board voted unanimously by roll call vote to accept the Road Report as presented.

7. Treasurer’s Warrants – On a motion made by R. Browne, seconded by B. Redmond, the Board voted unanimously by roll call vote to approve warrants #40 and #41.

8. Other1. Sabins provided an update on the MRC meeting she had attended virtually this week. The Coastal Plant in Hampden will be sold to Delta Thermal Energy, Inc. The closing on the sale of the plant is anticipated in 30-60 days; restart of the plan will happen in 4-6 weeks. All current MRC contracts with member municipalities will remain in force with no changes in tipping fees. 2. Chairman Melrose asked about a redraft of a resolution that the Vassalboro Conservation Commission (VCC) had asked the Select Board to consider signing at the last meeting about a carbon cash-back program. Sabins explained that the Commission planned to meet this week to revise the resolution for the Board’s consideration at the 2/4/21 meeting. Chairman Melrose explained to the Board the research that he had done on the work of the Maine Climate Council. He had asked Sabins to send out to the Board a one-page synopsis of Maine’s strategy on the carbon footprint issue. Melrose proposes steering in the direction of the Climate Council’s path on this issue since so much effort has been put into the strategy by them. No action was taken by the Board. 3. The upcoming budget process was discussed. Chairman Melrose is proposing to present the budget numbers differently with the use of pie charts and line graphs to provide a bigger picture of facts and figures showing where the money comes from and where it goes. He feels this approach may give guidance to the Budget Committee on the front end, and then go into the details of the budget. The hope is to reduce the amount of time in virtual meetings spent deliberating on the proposed budget. The Board agreed with the Chairman Melrose’s suggestion that he and Sabins work on preparing these charts and graphs that will be presented to the Budget Committee, which will be reviewed by the Select Board at their budget workshop scheduled for Tuesday, February 9th. All agreed to hold the workshop at an in-person meeting at the town office wearing masks and social distancing. Brief discussion was also given about holding town meeting via referendum ballot versus open town meeting. More information needs to be gathered before any decision can be made on that issue. 4. Melrose asked Sabins if an action was needed by the Board on the possible posting of the Leigh Bridge on the Cushnoc Road to 20K pounds. Sabins said it was too early to know just yet; the MDOT gathered information during a recent zoom meeting about how the posting would affect the town and planned to provide that information to their bridge posting committee for a final decision. 5. No update has yet been received from Jim Foster as to any progress made on obtaining approval to reinstate the plunge pool for brook trout at the end of the culvert on the Cross Hill Road by Quaker Lane. 6. Melrose provided an update to the Board that he and Sabins had met with PW Director Gene Field concerning his desired changes in wages and benefits for town staff. Gene has concerns that town employee wages and benefits are out of sync with the school’s town employees. Melrose asked Sabins to present some ideas for change at the budget work session and to focus on health insurance benefits, longevity and pay scale. 7. Chairman Melrose encouraged the other Board members to submit ideas to Sabins for recipients of the Spirit of America Award. Discussion of the topic during a virtual meeting broadcast on the internet is impossible, since we try to keep the name of the recipient a secret until it is revealed at town meeting. 8. Chairman Melrose reported that he had received a call from a constituent regarding paving on Rt. #32. Melrose reported that MDOT plans to come in next year and do maintenance paving (or skinny mix), rather than the large renovation and paving project that had been planned for the last five years or so. The funding for the large project has dried up. The constituent expressed concerns about the condition of Rt. #32 and the sidewalks in the North Village area. Melrose offered to call MDOT to suggest a downsize of the project with a focus on improvements to the North Village area where the road was dug up in the last few years for the sewer line project and also to focus on culverts that are not draining properly. The other Board members agreed to this approach; John indicated he will report back with the results. 9. The topic of the Marijuana Ordinance was discussed at length. All agreed that the proposed Marijuana Ordinance discussed at the January 7th meeting was more complex than the Board wanted or needed. Sabins will contact the town attorney to request another look at the proposed ordinance to take a more bare bones approach that will prohibit adult recreational marijuana use outright and focus on growth regulations for medical marijuana caregivers.

9. Adjourn – There being no further business to discuss, the meeting was adjourned at 7:45 p.m.

/mss

These minutes were read and accepted by the Board of Selectmen on 2/4/21 with the following amendments: B. Redmond noted an error in Section 3 of the minutes concerning the renewal of Natanis’ Liquor License. Barbara noted that she had made the motion, and Chairman Melrose had seconded her motion. Selectman Browne took no part in the vote on this agenda item as he is part owner of the Natanis business and it would have been a conflict of interest. The correction should read as follows:

3. Natanis Liquor License Renewal (taken out of agenda order while awaiting Eric Calderwood’s arrival) – On a motion made by B. Redmond, seconded by J. Melrose, the Board voted two in favor and one abstention (R. Browne) by roll call vote to approve the on-premises and auxiliary liquor license renewal applications for Natanis Golf Club.