Vassalboro Select Board
Minutes of the Meeting
February 18, 2021

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

Others Present: Mary Sabins, David Trask (virtual meeting host), Paul Mitnik, Rick Denico, Melissa & Zack Olson, Attorney Kristin Collins, Tina Wood, and Engineer Al Hodsdon. 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 6:31 pm. Due to the Covid-19 (Corona virus) national pandemic, the Board continues to hold 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 – Chairman Melrose stated that the minutes in section 6 concerning the MaineDOT work got a little garbled up. He made suggestions for the paragraph to be amended and to read as follows:

Rt. #32 North Village Rehabilitation projectChairman Melrose explained that MaineDOT will maintenance pave Rt. #32 from China through North Vassalboro this year. He reported that he had received a call recently from Ray Breton who lives in the North Vassalboro village area who was upset that a more substantive rehabilitation project planned by MaineDOT was being deferred knowing that flooding has occurred in the North Vassalboro area in the past and needs to be rectified. The road has also been dug up in multiple locations in the last two years for the sewer main project, leaving very rough surfaces. Melrose felt MaineDOT could modify this deferred rehabilitation plan to give priority to the North Village area at much less cost than attempting to rehab all of Rt. #32 in Vassalboro and the north end in China. Chairman Melrose suggested that the Board write a letter to MaineDOT to request a meeting to discuss the matter, and that he was willing to work with Sabins to compose the letter. After discussion and on a motion made by B. Redmond, seconded by R. Browne, the Board voted unanimously by roll call vote to support Chairman Melrose’s plan to submit a letter to MaineDOT requesting a meeting to discuss increasing the priority in the North Village area.

On a motion made by B. Redmond, seconded by R. Browne, the Board voted unanimously by roll call vote to accept the minutes of the 2/4/21 meeting as amended.


3. Marijuana Ordinance – Attorney Kristin Collins reviewed with the Select Board the list of comments that was submitted by Barbara Redmond about the latest version of the proposed ordinance. After discussion, Kristin agreed to make a few more amendments to the draft ordinance during this meeting as the Board took up other business. Chairman Melrose agreed to table formal action for the moment and to circle back to Kristin after the next agenda item for a Board vote and final acceptance of the proposed ordinance which will set the retroactivity date.

4. Transfer Station Renovations – Engineer Al Hodsdon joined the virtual meeting by phone. He explained that he had contacted the vendors for solid waste compactors and learned that the manufacturer’s selling price for compactors has increased dramatically since receiving the initial estimates due to COVID-19. Prior to the meeting, Al had emailed his proposed renovation plan for the layout at the transfer station. He suggests swinging the compactor 45 degrees from the present location, which will allow space for a second compactor positioned at the same angle to be located beside the existing compactor. Implementing the plan as presented, Al estimates the cost would be $318K. Al said he could prepare the bid specifications and be prepared to put the work out to bid in 3-4 weeks. Chairman Melrose asked Al if he could prepare a phased plan for this project that could be implemented over a few years that would make the project more budget friendly. R. Browne stated that he prefers to wait to see if prices will decrease once the virus subsides. Al encouraged the Board to think about doing all of the project now, even if it meant borrowing funds because money is cheap to borrow right now at 2.5% to 2.75%. After discussion, Chairman Melrose suggested Sabins could set up a meeting with Transfer Station Manager George Hamar, Engineer Hodsdon, Sabins, and Chairman Melrose to develop a phase-in plan.

5. Marijuana Ordinance (revisited) – Attorney Kristin Collins visually presented on her computer screen so all meeting participants and observers could view, the changes she made to the purpose statement and other changes as discussed and requested earlier in the meeting. After review and approval of these last amendments, Chairman Melrose asked for any public comment. Tina Wood asked about the sale of marijuana businesses as referenced in Section K2. Attorney Collins addressed her concerns. Tina then stated that she liked the draft ordinance and appreciated the work of the Board and Collins. As discussion wrapped up, Attorney Collins reminded the Board that they would need to certify this document as the official copy of the ordinance when the town meeting warrant is signed. On a motion made by R. Browne, seconded by B. Redmond, the Board voted unanimously by roll call vote to accept this final document as the version of the Marijuana Business Ordinance to be presented to the voters at the annual town meeting or by referendum election in June.

6. Other (taken out of agenda order) – Code Officer Paul Mitnik stated that he had received a complaint about an abandoned mobile home that was attracting feral cats and rats. Since then, Paul has discovered that there a several abandoned mobile homes in town that appear to be uninhabitable. Paul stated that his plan was to write the assessed owners a letter asking them to remove the trailers. If he receives no response with no action taken, Paul stated he needed direction from the Board and questioned if the Board wants him to pursue the matter legally. There is a dangerous building statute and an abandoned building statute that may help address the matter. After discussion, the Board suggested Paul pursue the cooperative approach with a letter to the owner; if that was not successful to return to the Board for more discussion.

7. Budget deliberations – The Board reviewed the latest draft version of the proposed budget for next fiscal year and made a few more adjustments. Sabins will make the final revisions and prepare a set of budget documents for the Budget Committee’s first meeting to be held on March 4th.

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

9. 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 #45 and #46.

10. Other1. The Board discussed the proposal provided by Engineer Eric Calderwood for the Phase III Inspection stage for the Gray Road project. The inspection work is estimated to be about $13K, charged on an hourly rate. After discussion and on a motion made by B. Redmond, seconded by R. Browne, the Board voted unanimously by roll call vote to direct the town manager to enter into a contract agreement with Calderwood Engineering to approve his proposal for inspection oversight of the Gray Road project. 2. Melissa & Zack Olson asked about the cost of insurance for spring sports and why the cost had increased. Melissa stated that she had spoken with Former Recreation Director Danielle Sullivan who stated that the town could not afford the insurance for the older kids to play so the older kids had to go to Augusta to play. Neither Sabins, nor any Board member could answer Melissa’s question. To our knowledge the insurance is required by the Dirigo league. Melissa and Zack said they would research the issue more and report back.

11. Adjourn – There being no further business to discuss, the meeting was adjourned at 8:10 p.m.


These minutes were read and accepted by the Select Board on 3/4/21with the following amendments: None.