Vassalboro Board of Selectmen
Minutes of the Meeting
January 19, 2023

Members Present: Barbara Redmond, Chris French, and Rick Denico
Others Present: Aaron Miller, George Hamar, Brian Lajoie, Lauchlin Titus, Doug Phillips, Tim Dutton, Karen Hatch, Mary Grow, Mark Brown, Holly Weidner, Nate Gray, John Melrose, Mike Poulin, David McCarthy, Jerry Hill, Lennea Ash, Ann White, Harlan White, Pam Lemieux, Bernard Lemieux, Suzanne Putnam, Cathy Coyne

1. Call the Public Hearing to order – B. Redmond called the Public Hearing regarding Tax Increment Finance (TIF) and Alewife funds to order at 6:30 p.m.
L. Titus noted that he was one of the selectmen who helped put together the TIF ordinance 30 years ago. He noted that these funds should be used for economic development, brining in jobs, training, “sprucing” up the town, etc. B. Redmond said that the fund has about $177,000.
H. Weidner noted there had been a proposal in the fall about making sure the water quality in Webber Pond is maintained by catching problems before they escalate like it did this summer. One recommendation is to see if the town will help with buying equipment to monitor the water quality. B. Redmond noted that the Select Board will be meeting with the Webber Pond Association on January 25.
J. Hill suggested spending money to connect trails across the stream. B. Redmond added that the town’s trails committee has done a great job working on that.
N. Gray said he was involved with the alewife restoration initiative. Those projects are since complete. He is working with Atlantic Streams Commission and focusing on the fishway and cage structure at Webber Pond which is grossly undersized and needs to be redeveloped. Gray, a Vassalboro resident and biologist for the state’s Department of Marine Resources, added that this year was the most “rugged” water quality he has seen. “Never have I seen it this bad,” he said. “We saw a huge heat wave. We have a grant in with NOAA. We are going to seek out more monies, but we would like some money from the town to help with that.”
He was unable to provide any figures, but said that the fish ladder must be rebuilt as well as “dealing” with a six-vertical-foot gate system. Gray added funding for replacement of a culvert on Whitehouse Rd. is in the works.
M. Poulin pointed to a handout that noted TIF funds are limited to seven areas: traditional commercial business development loan/grant; China Lake Cleanup project; sewer extension/renovation project; administrative and professional services costs; economic development program costs; public safety costs and training/scholarships. The handout also noted that the alewife harvest on Webber Pond generally produces about $18,000 a year in revenue. Poulin suggested the board consider new opportunities to benefit Vassalboro citizens, as well as modifying the controlling document through the Department of Economic Community Development amendment process.
C. French asked about an Economic Development Committee. L. Titus said the Select Board thought about it, but it proved difficult faced with competing needs and promising money out one year in advance. R. Denico suggested allocating funds for reopening the Country Store on Bog Rd.
T. Dutton said he is entertaining opening the store in June, however there are a few obstacles such as a handicapped entrance that must be addressed, according to the Planning Board. Dutton said he was wondering if there is assistance for that. B. Redmond noted that parking is also an issue. Dutton said he has received guidance from Vassalboro resident and DOT traffic engineer David Allen who came “up with a good idea that should appease the Planning Board.”
H. Weidner noted past discussions with DOT have focused on safer passage for pedestrians in that location.

2. Adjourn Public Hearing

C. French, who suggested looking at assisting business such as Duratherm in offsetting energy costs, motioned to close the public hearing, seconded by R. Denico; 3-0; 7:15 p.m.

3. Call the Select Board meeting to order

B. Redmond called the regular selectboard meeting to order at 7:19 p.m.

4. Minutes: Review and approve the minutes of the January 5, 2023 meeting

R. Denico motioned to approve the minutes, seconded by C. French; 3-0.

5. Discuss ARPA fund distribution

B. Redmond explained this is an opportunity for the public to share ideas. The board has already agreed on using the federal funds for exterior lighting and a handicapped accessible entrance at the Town Office; installing a 200 amp service ($2,000) and basement lighting at the Historical Society ($350). J. Melrose noted that the building also needs insulation. B. Redmond motioned to approve $3,400 for insulation at the building, seconded by C. French; 3-0.

K. Hatch requested up to $15,000 for field maintenance. R. Denico motioned to approve the request, seconded by C. French; 3-0.

The board also approved Chief Brown’s request of $5,000 to replace an aging mobile data terminal and hotspot in the police cruiser. In addition, the Select Board approved H. Weidner’s $11,400 window dressers event; $300 for a glass memo board outside the town office and asked the Town Manager to solicit quotes for installation of a generator at the town office.

6. Discuss Transfer Station Compactor Cover

G. Hamar presented information regarding a metal compactor cover. Safety is a concern, however with people backing up vehicles to the hopper. D. Phillips suggested a “drive around” similar to China’s transfer station. Other ideas included hiring another employee, looking at abutting properties and adjusting hours. A. Miller will meet with George and reach out to our local senators to see if there are any grants available. R. Denico motioned to table the discussion, seconded by C. French; 3-0.

 

7. Discuss Personnel Policy.

C. French suggested changing the anniversary date language in section four, which would go into effect after the first full two weeks for the pay cycle. B. Redmond will work on that language. She also suggested mandatory direct deposit for employees. A. Miller noted that Section 16 does not allow for overtime for Town Office employees. C. French said the board is looking to change that. B. Redmond recommended removing percentages in Section 9 regarding MainePERS. A. Miller suggested changing Columbus Day to Indigenous Peoples Day and noted erroneous page numbers in the index.

8. Discuss generator at Town Office

A. Miller will solicit quotes for the generator at the town office.

9. Reports:

a. Road Report
C. French motioned to approve, seconded by R. Denico; 3-0.
b. Finance Report
R. Denico motioned to approve, seconded by C. French; 3-0.

10. Approve Treasurer’s Warrants

R. Denico motioned to approve warrants 37-38-39, seconded by C. French; 3-0.

11. Other items as may be presented by the Town Manager or Select Board

C. French asked the Town Manager to see if the town needs a contract with Delta Ambulance. He’d also like to know where is Delta on expanding its Board of Directors and whether all towns committed to the per capita cost.

12. Executive Session if needed.

None

13. Adjourn

A. Redmond motioned to adjourn at 9:28 p.m., seconded by C. French; 3-0.