Vassalboro Select Board
Minutes of the Meeting
December 14, 2017

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

Others Present: Mary Sabins, Mary Grow, Dick Dolby, and Jody Kundreskas

1. Call to order – The meeting was called to order by Chairman Titus at 7:02 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 11/16/17 meeting as written.

3. Joe Presti – Sabins announced that Mr. Presti and his title attorney are not yet ready to finalize the purchase of tax acquired property on Ilona Drive. They will be rescheduled for the January 11th meeting.

4. Building Permit Ordinance – Code Officer Dick Dolby presented suggested amendments to the existing Building Permit Ordinance that he has drafted. The current Ordinance does not contain any reference to the MUBEC or IBC codes that are now mandated by the State of Maine for a town of our population over 4,000 residents. Dick then explained the sections of these codes that pertain to Vassalboro and which do not, and he listed those sections in the draft Ordinance. The Planning Board’s involvement in the process was discussed, with a desire expressed to have the input of the Planning Board Members before a final version is brought to the voters for adoption. After discussion, and on a motion made by J. Melrose, seconded by R. Browne, the Board voted unanimously to initiate a review of the Building Permit Ordinance in consultation with the Planning Board seeking their recommendation, and invite them to participate in a public hearing. CEO Dolby also spoke briefly with the Board about tiny house training he received today. Tiny houses are becoming very popular and currently there are no codes to regulate them in the existing building code in Maine. CEO Dolby indicated that the State plans to add tiny house rules into the building code as an addendum for now, and will likely become a chapter in the rules in the future.

5. Land use violation enforcement cases – Code Officer Dolby explained the process that he had used to attempt to gain compliance by sending letters to the homeowners who were in violation. Extended discussion was given about the need for staff’s reliance on the town attorney to provide guidance in these enforcement cases, and sometimes the wait time for responses is long. It was suggested to have Sabins return at the next meeting with options for discussion to obtain timely legal services as needed.

6. Cemetery repair work – Cemetery Committee Member Jody Kundresdas described the cemetery stone repair training she had received from the preferred conservator named Joe who works with the Maine Old Cemetery Association. The Cemetery Committee would like to have Joe with his expertise work in the Cross Hill Cemetery next summer. The projected fee for a week of his services at $700/day will exceed the Town’s existing Procurement Policy. The Selectmen are authorized to waive the provisions of the Procurement Policy if it is in the best interest of the Town. Jody is concerned if we put the stone repair work out to bid, the low bidder will repair the stones improperly; the Committee would like to have Joe come to do the work. There is a chance he will teach others how to do the correct stone repairs in our cemetery and many others will also help with the project. After discussion, and on a motion made by R. Browne, seconded by J. Melrose, the Board voted unanimously to waive the Procurement Policy in this instance, with lodging and travel expenses for Joe to be determined.

7. Solid waste hauling bids – The Board reviewed the draft bid specifications prepared by Sabins and suggested an amendment to include a request for at least one municipal reference from each bidder. Then, on a motion made by J. Melrose, seconded by R. Browne, the Board voted unanimously to approve the solid waste hauling bid specifications as amended.

8. Review of Elected Officials Workshop – On November 30th, all three Selectmen and the Town Manager attended the Elected Officials Workshop at the Maine Municipal Association (MMA) in Augusta. Much cautionary discussion was given at that training session about the use of emails to communicate, and the fact that emails are subject to the freedom of access law. For that reason, MMA staffers suggested at the training meeting that the Selectmen should use only town-provided computers and town-provided email addresses to email town business on, to help keep personal emails private. During this review of the workshop contents, Chairman Titus stated that he does not want to purchase separate computers. Selectman Melrose indicated he was having second thoughts about listing his home email on the town website for the public to use. He would prefer the public contact him by use of the phone number listed on the site. Email retention and storage was also discussed. The Board asked Sabins to contact MMA to see if they have a sample email retention policy that could be used as a template to develop our own policy. The idea of the development of a town Facebook page was presented by Chairman Titus. Sabins indicated that she does not participate in Facebook, but from MMA training she has received, she understands there are two different types of Facebook pages that can be created: a one-way account where information can be disseminated one-way; the other is a two-way account where public can comment on what has been posted, thereby effectively creating a chat room. The challenge with two-way pages is when a person posts a less than desirable comment, removal of the comment can be perceived as an infringement on the poster’s first amendment rights. Selectmen Melrose and Browne both indicated they are not interested in creating a town Facebook page.

9. Postcard mailing costs – Sabins presented the cost estimate of just under $1,000 to mail 2,000 postcards that she had obtained from the printer who prints our town reports. By consensus, the Board agreed not to pursue this idea due to the cost, and the concern that the expense may not generate the desired result of increased attendance at town meeting.

10. Tentative timeline for Budget Committee Meetings – A brief review of the tentative list of budget meetings for the upcoming budget season was given. It was agreed that the list should be emailed to the Budget Committee now that the Board has seen and approved it.

11. Holiday staff luncheon – The Board approved Sabins’ proposal to have a staff holiday luncheon at the town office on Friday, December 22nd at noon after the town office has closed for the day. The Board approved the purchase of a three-foot deli sandwich at Subway, with chips and refreshments to accompany it from Hannaford. The Board members stated they would try to attend the event, if possible.

12. December 28th meeting – The Board agreed by consensus not to meet on December 28th because of the close proximity to the Christmas holiday. The next meeting will be on January 11th. Selectman Melrose inquired if there was an interest in starting the meetings earlier than 7:00 p.m. After discussion, the Board agreed to change the meeting times to 6:30 p.m. beginning on January 11th. Given this new decision, it was suggested by Reporter Mary Grow that the list of budget meetings just approved would need to have corrections to several meeting’s start times on the list. Sabins will make the corrections before sending the list to the Budget Committee.

13. Reports – On a motion made by R. Browne, seconded by J. Melrose, the Board voted unanimously to accept the Road, Police, First Responders, and the Financial Reports.

14. Treasurer’s Warrants – On a motion made by R. Browne, seconded by J. Melrose, the Board voted unanimously to approve warrants #41 and #42.

15. Other1. On a motion made by J. Melrose, seconded by R. Browne, the Board voted unanimously to accept and renew the annual Payroll and Education related disbursement policies. 2. After considering a request made by office staff to close the town office on Tuesday, December 26th to extend the Christmas holiday that would match the State’s holiday observance plans, the Selectmen agreed by consensus not to honor the request, due to the fact that the Transfer Station would also be closed, and the Board wanted the transfer station to be open the day after the holiday. The Board did agree to close the transfer station at noon on Sunday, December 24th to allow transfer station staff time to enjoy the Christmas Eve holiday with family. 3. The Board reviewed and signed a warrant calling for special referendum election on Tuesday, March 13th to consider the question of whether to end the AOS92 school consolidation agreement. 4. Selectman Melrose asked about any emergency planning that the town has done in cases of severe storm or other emergencies similar to the severe wind storm that happened at the end of October 2017. He asked Sabins to arrange for the town’s emergency planners and responders to come to the January 11th meeting to discuss disaster planning.

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


These minutes were read and accepted by the Select Board on 1/11/18 with the following amendments: None.