Vassalboro Board of Selectmen
Minutes of the Meeting
March 5, 2020

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

Others Present: Mary Sabins, Landis Hudson, Matt Streeter, Lt. Jason Madore, Walker Thompson, Mike Poulin, Frank Richards, Matt Weaver, Laura Comer, Dick Bradstreet, Ray Breton, Richard Green, Mark Brown, Bill Browne, Jim Foster, Mary Grow (6:15), Nate Gray (6:40), Chris French (6:45), Joe Suga (6:49), Doug Phillips (6:50), and Barbie Redmond (6:52).

1. Call to order – The meeting was called to order by Chairman Titus at 6:00 p.m.

2. Minutes – J. Melrose noted that the meeting attendee named Jim Thomas listed on the minutes under “others present” is an error and should have been listed as Jim Foster. On a motion made by J. Melrose, seconded by R. Browne, the Board voted unanimously to accept the minutes of the 2/20/20 meeting as amended.

3. Lt. Jason Madore, Troop C Commander of the Maine State Police, read a prepared statement to address statements that were made at the last meeting by the Sheriff that Lt. Madore felt may have misrepresented the intent of the State Police. Lt. Madore stated that the State Police will not abandon their duties. They remain a full service agency, regardless of call sharing agreements. They have no intention of removing rural patrol, but the coverage time will likely change to 1/3 (State Police), 2/3 (County Sheriff), instead of the 50/50 split it once was. Every six weeks, the State Police will cover 2 weeks. The State Police are still here and will always have a footprint in the community. He further stated that the two law enforcement divisions share information. J. Melrose stated that he is on the County Budget Committee, and at the last meeting, the Sheriff indicated he is requesting an increase in staff to cover the increased patrol time. Melrose asked Lt. Madore if he felt the increase in staff was needed. Lt. Madore indicated he would not comment on the county staffing level. The Board thanked Lt. Madore for coming to provide clarification.

4. Matt Weaver, Chief Investment Officer for First National Wealth Management, attended the meeting to provide the Selectmen and the Town Treasurer the annual update on the progress of the town’s investment portfolio over the previous year. Mr. Weaver provided handouts that stated the rate of return on the town’s investments was 9.44% for the period January 1, 2019 through March 5, 2020. Discussion was given about the current volatile market conditions due to the recent Coronavirus now sweeping the country and causing uncertainty in the stock market. Matt provided assurance that he and his company are watching the market and will make any changes to our portfolio that they deem necessary. Matt also stated that he has reviewed the current investment policy and finds the language in the policy to still be relevant, and that he recommends no changes to the language in the policy at this time.

5. Renewal of Investment Policy – Without discussion, and on a motion made by J. Melrose, seconded by R. Browne, the Board voted unanimously to renew the Investment Policy as presented.

6. Representative Richard Bradstreet stopped by the meeting to provide an update on the work of the Legislature, now in session. He told of how the funding for road projects is inadequate due to high bid prices. However, additional funding for education is proposed, which should help local budgets.

7. TIF Funding Requests – Chairman Titus recognized the fact that the Sanitary District has recently submitted an application seeking $166K in TIF funding for the sewer project, but that a public hearing must be held at a future meeting before a decision can be made on that application. Sanitary District Project Engineer Richard Green of Hoyle Tanner & Associates introduced himself and provided a construction update. The construction work has been halted for the winter but will start again in April. Two-thirds of the system waste product is now flowing to Winslow, so the district is paying to run two systems since the new system is not yet running at full capacity. He further explained that the district needs to start payments of $72K this year for one of the project loans, so they need as much of the TIF funding as they can get. The TIF funding will go toward the project payments and will also assist to reduce user hookup charges. Selectman Melrose offered an alternative method for funding the sewer project payments, based on information submitted by the district for this meeting. His proposed method would help the town schedule the use of TIF funds to the district going forward. Mr. Green seemed receptive to the proposed method, but additional consideration needs to be given to the idea before the next meeting and public hearing.

Landis Hudson, Maine Rivers Executive Director, explained the need for TIF funding for the two remaining fishway projects. She provided handouts to the Board showing the additional recent commitments for project funding that she has acquired from private funding sources. Due to these additional funding sources, she has altered her initial request of $43K from TIF funds to $143K, with the understanding that it would be the final request for TIF funding. After hearing the financial needs of the Sanitary District, Landis offered to provide help to the District with grant funding information, since grant work is a major part of her job responsibility and she has some knowledge that may be helpful to them. Chairman Titus reiterated a point that Selectman Melrose had made to him earlier in the meeting: The Sanitary District plans to use some of the TIF funds to assist the public with sewer hook-up costs and is there a concern that it may violate State law which prohibits the use of public funds for private use? Clarification from the town attorney is needed before funding decisions can be made. Upon inquiry from Chairman Titus, Landis stated that she will appreciate a funding commitment from the town as soon as possible. A June decision will be too late as they need to make a commitment with a construction contractor now, but the cash won’t be due to the contractor until summer. The Board agreed that a decision will be made at the next meeting.

8. Gray Road culvert update – Selectman Melrose stated he has done some research and learned that the Town has received a $95K culvert grant for a proposed structure that the DEP won’t accept. Melrose suggests we request a proposal from a bridge engineer. We need someone to walk us through the bank full width requirement. Melrose requested that the Board give him authorization to contact Calderwood Engineering for a proposal to get us to a point where we have concurrence. Melrose stated that the project is above his pay grade and that he has appreciated the assistance of Jim Foster who has helped him with bank measurement for this culvert. On a motion made by L. Titus, seconded by R. Browne, the Board voted unanimously to approve J. Melrose’s request.

9. Quit Claim Deed – On a motion made by J. Melrose, seconded by R. Browne, the Board voted unanimously to sign the Quit Claim Deed for Keith Sylvester to deed the tax-acquired mobile home back to him after payment of all back taxes.

10. Reports – On a motion made by J. Melrose, seconded by R. Browne, the Board voted unanimously to accept the Road and Treasurer’s Reports as presented. No Police Report was available for acceptance.

11. Treasurer’s Warrants – On a motion made by R. Browne, seconded by L. Titus, the Board voted unanimously to approve warrants #49 and #50.

12. Other1. On a motion made by J. Melrose, seconded by R. Browne, the Board voted unanimously to sign the MDOT agreement to issue overweight permits for specified road projects. 2. Sabins asked the Board to be thinking about a recipient for the Spirit of America Award, which will be presented at town meeting in June.

13. Adjourn – There being no further business to discuss, the meeting was adjourned at 7:07 p.m. A Budget Committee Meeting immediately followed this meeting.

/mss

These minutes were read and accepted by the Board of Selectmen on 4/2/20 with the following amendments: None.
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