Vassalboro Select Board
Minutes of the Meeting
December 6, 2018

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

Others Present: Town Manager Mary Sabins, Town Line Reporter Mary Grow, Sentinel Reporter Meg Robbins, Police Chief Mark Brown and his wife Charlene Brown, First Responder Chief Dan Mayotte, Rick Denico, Don Pomerleau, Mike Vashon, First Responder Assistant Chief Pete Allen, Fire Chief Eric Rowe, Sue Vashon, Holly Weidner, Dick Phippen, Walker Thompson, one unknown male, and Public Work Director Gene Field (7:10).

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 R. Browne, seconded by J. Melrose, the Board voted unanimously to accept the minutes of the 11/15/18 meeting as written.

3. Rick Denico – Having served as Budget Committee Chairman last year and anticipating he may serve in that capacity again this coming year, Rick asked the Selectmen to give the Budget Committee an overview of basic ground rules and expectations at the start of the new budget deliberation season. There are new members on the Board that will need to know the purpose of the Committee. Rick stated that last year, the Committee spent a lot of time on the issue of law enforcement when they should have only approved a dollar amount, not policy. Rick also inquired if any changes are expected after the separation from the AOS School district, and the meeting and discussion with the auditor a few months ago concerning the appropriate surplus fund balance for Vassalboro. Rick also noted that last year, he saw roadside signs in Fayette announcing the date, time, and location of their town meeting, and Rick thought it was a good idea to implement in Vassalboro. J. Melrose stated he thinks the Budget Committee is caught in between the school and town budgets, and he would like a more detailed review of the school budget to match the level of review done on the town budget. R. Browne stated the Budget Committee must balance between the two budgets, while the Town budget is easy to read and understand; the school budget is not as easy. R. Denico stated he would like to know the framework that constitutes the school budget. Chairman Titus stated that he is optimistic about working with new Superintendent Al Pheiffer during budget preparation time. Resident Holly Weidner stated that she would like a better understanding of the increasing needs for the school special education budget. She suggested a planning session or a forum prior to town meeting to help citizens understand why the increase and why the Town has to pay more for what the State used to pay for.

4. Dispatch options – M. Sabins provided an update to the Board on the discussion and research that she and the department heads from the town emergency response teams had completed prior to the Selectmen’s meeting. The group decided to attempt to get on the agenda for the next County Commissioner’s meeting on December 18th to discuss this dispatch issue. Sabins also indicated that a Kennebec County area managers’ meeting is also scheduled for December 17th in Gardiner, where this topic could possibly be added to the agenda for more discussion and brainstorming. Chairman Titus stated that he felt the Kennebec Sheriff did not understand the budget impact of his proposal when he told of a plan to switch dispatch service and that 21 towns in Kennebec County must agree to sign on. Additional discussion was given about the current radio infrastructure and the expense to replace it with digital radios in order to be compatible with the new proposed dispatch provider.

5. Police Chief Job Description – Brief discussion was given about the proposed draft job description created by Chairman Titus after blending the previous two versions. All agreed to remove the words “Examples of work (illustrative only)” on the first page. Without further discussion, and on a motion made by J. Melrose, seconded by R. Browne, the Board voted unanimously to adopt the job description as amended.

6. Solar array – Selectman John Melrose reported on research he has been performing on solar energy panel installation at the public works garage. Revision energy originally made a proposal to the town in 2014 that included a tax credit program. The updated proposal would have a 16-year payback if the Town purchased the array outright, with a projected lifespan of 40 years for the panels. John stated the idea needs further research, and he suggested the Board consider including an article in the annual town meeting warrant to authorize the Selectmen to pursue the concept and set parameters on the negotiation process. R. Browne stated he will listen, but is not sold on the idea yet. No formal action taken.

7. Photocopier bid specifications – Sabins explained that a new copier is needed at the public works garage that will scan documents. The Town Officer copier is six years old and does the scan function. The proposed plan would be to replace the copier at the town office either by purchase or lease and relocate the current copier to the public works garage. While the Board did not fully embrace the idea, they approved moving forward with the bid process, with the understanding that the plan to buy or lease a new large copier may be rejected during the budget process and replaced with a plan to purchase a smaller less expensive tabletop copier with a scan function for the public works garage.

8. Public Works Director Gene Field stopped by the meeting to update the Board on repair options for the grader. Gene said a new grader is expected to cost about $240K, and he cannot find a vendor interested in our old broken grader unless we buy a new one from them. A vendor named Dick Condon from Chelsea is scheduled to look at our grader tomorrow. A company named Anderson has given an estimate of $23K to fix our grader, plus trucking costs of $700 each way. If repairs are opted for, Gene would also have the vendor fix the injector pump and the oil seal that is leaking, which would add an additional $5-$10K. Gene has located a used 2007 grader in the $60K-$75K range, or he could rent a grader for $9,200 per month. He needs a grader to grade dirt roads one week in the spring, one week in July, and two weeks in the fall for shoulder work after paving, for an estimated total of $12K to rent by the week if a machine is available. No decision made on this issue at this time. The large culvert under the Cross Hill Road was also discussed. Gene stated he had met with abutter Jim Foster this morning, who also has MDOT culvert replacement experience, now retired. Jim offered assistance to Gene to help formulate repair and replacement options, and to prepare estimates for each. Rough estimates for culvert replacement is between $300K and $400K. Grant assistance may be available, but the maximum grant value is $95K. Gene briefly mentioned a large culvert on the Gray Road that is rusting out on the bottom and will need eventual replacement. Gene also informed the Board that the transmission in the 2009 Wheeler (truck #5) is being rebuilt now at O’Connor’s in Augusta at an estimated cost of $8K.

9. Holiday Luncheon – The Board approved the proposal to have a holiday luncheon at the town office for staff on Friday, December 21st at noon.

10. Reports –On a motion made by R. Browne, seconded by J. Melrose, the Board voted unanimously to accept all reports as presented from the Road, Police, and First Responder Departments, as well as the Financial Report.

11. Treasurer’s Warrants – On a motion made by R. Browne, seconded by J. Melrose, the Board voted unanimously to approve warrant #33.

12. Other1. A summary of the fourth quarter review of property valuations as presented by RDJ Appraisals was read. A net gain in valuation of $630,400 was realized this year. 2. The Board cast their MRC ballot for Irene Belanger as their choice for the Board of Directors. 3. J. Melrose described a rebate being offered by Efficiency Maine for swapping florescent light bulbs for LED bulbs. 4. J. Melrose stated that the snowmobile club in town is reactivating. 5. The vacancy at the transfer station was discussed at the inquiry of Chairman Titus. The Transfer Station Manager has not yet made a decision about filling the vacancy.

13. Adjourn – There being no further business to discuss, the meeting was adjourned at 8:03 p.m.


These minutes were read and accepted by the Select Board on 12/20/18 with the following amendments: None.