Vassalboro Select Board
Minutes of the Meeting
July 12, 2018

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

Others Present: Mary Sabins, Mary Grow, Dick Dolby, Thomas Harville, Cathy Coyne, and Neil Farrington (6:45 p.m.)

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 J. Melrose, seconded by R. Browne, the Board voted unanimously to accept the minutes of the 6/28/18 meeting as written.

Since Mr. Farrington was net yet present at the start of the meeting, the Chairman decided to take the agenda items out of order.

3. CEO Dick Dolby informed the Board that the situation with the failed septic system in Brock Trailer Park has not improved now 42 days after the initial order to correct the failing system was issued, and the owner Carl Brock, has not taken any action to rectify the problem as he does not have the financial means to install a new system estimated to cost $8K-$10K to replace. Meanwhile, the tenants are still in the building, and the tenants have successfully taken the park owner to court because of the poor conditions, to fight an eviction notice that was executed by the park owner for non-payment of rent. CEO Dolby reported that the Manufactured Housing Board has given Mr. Brock another 10 days to remedy the problem, while pollution of the neighborhood continues. CEO Dolby explained to the Selectmen that they have the option to declare the building a dangerous building because it is unsanitary, but a public hearing must be held first before the declaration can be made, to give Mr. Brock an opportunity to rebut the proposed declaration and action. Mr. Dolby stated that the public hearing should be held sooner, rather than later, as the Manufactured Housing Board will be meeting in mid-August to discuss Mobile Home Park Licensing, and this dangerous building declaration would be impactful to the discussion at their meeting concerning Mr. Brock’s mobile home park license. At the suggestion of Mr. Dolby, and on a motion made by J. Melrose, seconded by R. Browne, the Board voted unanimously to hold a Special Selectmen’s meeting on Thursday, July 26th at 6:30 p.m. to conduct a Public Hearing on this dangerous building matter.

4. Quitclaim Deed – Sabins introduced Thomas Harville, the winning bidder for property located at 1005 Main Street formerly owned by Todd Overlock. She confirmed that Mr. Harville has paid the remaining balance on the bid price of the property, and that the proceeds were used to pay off the taxes, and the water and sewer utility bills to give the new owner a clean slate. The Board then signed the quitclaim deed and the Real Estate Transfer Tax form as prepared by Sabins, which was notarized by Town Clerk Cathy Coyne. The Board welcomed Mr. Harville to the tax rolls in Vassalboro, and thanked him for his participation in the tax sale.

5. China Selectman Neil Farrington asked for time on the agenda to inform the Board about the work the China Selectmen are doing with Peter Hussey of Hussey Communication to improve broadband service to residents in China, particularly those living on the camp roads on China Lake. Mr. Farrington stated that internet service is imperative for economic development, and to sustain those now working and furthering their business from home. Mr. Farrington said they are putting up towers in town to improve service, and he wanted the Vassalboro Selectmen to be aware of it.

6. Certificate of Deposit (CD) reinvestment – The Board reviewed the list of CD investment rates offered by area financial institutions as collected by Sabins. J. Melrose made the statement that he liked the Key Bank 18 month option at 2%. Lauchlin stated he was leaning toward the Maine Federal Savings Credit Union offer of 18 months at 1.8% or 2 years at 2.0%, because they are a local bank. J. Melrose made a motion to invest $50K at Key Bank for 18 months at 2%. There was no immediate second to the motion, and more discussion ensued. R. Browne asked about the amount of money the Town has invested in the Credit Union and if it was covered by FDIC insurance. Chairman Titus then stated he was not opposed to going elsewhere to another banking institution, he was just considering convenience of investing at the nearby bank. J. Melrose offered that investing these funds at another bank and developing a relationship with another bank may be beneficial to the Town in the future. After discussion, R. Browne seconded J. Melrose’s motion, which was voted unanimously by the Board.

7. Personnel Handbook revisions – The Board reviewed the Personnel Handbook changes that were prepared for them by Sabins. Several minor clerical changes to clarify intent were proposed, along with a substantial change in the drug and alcohol policy section to deal with medical and adult-use marijuana, which was legalized in the last year or two. Among the minor changes was a proposed clarification in the longevity bonus section to clarify when employees are eligible and when bonuses are disbursed. Town Clerk Cathy Coyne stated her objection to the change in the longevity bonus section stating that she still feels she is due an additional $100 because of the prior wording, now that she reached her twentieth anniversary of working for the town on June 1st. She states instead of the $600 she did receive, she should have received $700. Chairman Titus attempted to explain the policy language to Ms. Coyne, and J. Melrose gave a personal example of how one of his new employees abused a personal spending plan policy and left the company after a short period of time once the benefit had been exhausted. After discussion, J. Melrose moved to accept the recommended Personnel Handbook changes as presented. Shortly thereafter, Melrose withdrew his motion, and it was suggested to table the subject until the special July 26th meeting that was established earlier in the meeting. More discussion was given about the timeframe of Cathy’s 20th anniversary, until Chairman Titus stated that Cathy had convinced him and that he sees her point. J. Melrose introduced the idea of prorating the longevity bonus to avoid having to wait until the last pay period in the year before the bonus is received. Other Selectmen stated they felt the year-end bonus was similar to a Christmas bonus and should be given in the larger sum all at once. There were long pauses in the discussion as the Board pondered their options. R. Browne then stated that the changes made sense to him as prepared by the Town Manager. On a motion made by J. Melrose, seconded by R. Browne, the Board voted unanimously to table consideration of the Personnel Handbook amendments until the next meeting on July 26th.

8. Long Range Planning – Prior to the meeting, J. Melrose had prepared a page of talking points to guide tonight’s discussion. Topics of discussion on the prepared list included Energy Conservation, Solid Waste Management, Paving, Public Safety, High School Tuition costs and transportation, and tax base enhancement. At the start of the conversation, J. Melrose stated that he wants the Board to think about planning now, rather than at budget season. When discussing solid waste management, J. Melrose said there are more towns than he thought that are participating in Pay As You Throw (PAYT) programs where residents need to purchase special garbage bags to dispose of their household waste, which generates revenue for the town. He said in other towns, many businesses sell the garbage bags for the convenience of the customer, and he felt we could ask area supermarkets to carry and sell our bags for us if we went with a program like that. Chairman Titus said he was initially against the PAYT program when it has been discussed in the past, but now is for it. R. Browne stated he is fundamentally opposed to the idea and always will be. The lack of good options for disposal of recyclables right now was also discussed. As for public safety, J. Melrose wants to explore an option to contract with an established police department for police coverage to see what we can buy for the price we are budgeting now. If we can buy the same amount of coverage for the same price, a contract will save us from having to replace the town cruiser going forward. Chairman Titus stated he is not opposed to looking at other options, but he wants a dedicated person assigned to cover the town, not just a random officer filling a shift. High School tuition costs were discussed. Ideas were shared about cost savings if Erskine were to pay for bus transportation to get our High School kids to school, and also the idea of asking Erskine if they could reduce their tuition fee was discussed. Chairman Titus proposed the need to have a meeting with the School Committee to discuss these ideas and others, and to keep the lines of communication open between the two governing boards, now that the school is no longer a part of the AOS. The others agreed, and Chairman Titus agreed to contact the School Committee Chairman Kevin Levasseur to see if the Selectmen could be placed on an upcoming School Committee meeting agenda. Chairman Titus asked Sabins if she had anything to add to the long range planning discussion, to which she answered the creation and appointment of an Economic Development Committee might be considered to help expand the future tax base.

9. Fund Balance Policy – The Board reviewed the first rough draft of the Fund Balance Policy. The auditor has suggested that the policy should include a reference to education funds, but the auditor has yet to provide some sample policies containing education funding language for us to work with. After review and discussion, the Board suggested adding this topic on to the July 26th meeting, to which Sabins stated that several months ago, the Board eliminated the July 26th meeting so that summer vacation plans could be made, and she had made other plans for that week. Adding this topic to that agenda, along with the Personnel Handbook topic, makes a full meeting and she expressed concern about getting the ground work done and the agenda packets out in a timely manner. Selectmen Browne agreed, stating that adding a full meeting on July 26th posed a problem for him as well, and all agreed to just conduct the Dangerous Building Public Hearing on July 26th, and to push the rest of the items to the previously scheduled August 23rd agenda.

10. Reports a. Road Report - On a motion made by J. Melrose, seconded by R. Browne, the Board voted unanimously to accept the report as presented. b. First Responders’ Report - On a motion made by J. Melrose, seconded by R. Browne, the Board voted unanimously to accept the report as presented. c. Police Report - On a motion made by J. Melrose, seconded by R. Browne, the Board voted unanimously to accept the report as presented. b. Transfer Station Report - On a motion made by R. Browne, seconded by J. Melrose, the Board voted unanimously to accept the report as presented.

11. Treasurer’s Warrants – On a motion made by J. Melrose, seconded by R. Browne, the Board voted unanimously to approve warrants #2 and #3.

12. Other1. A proposal has been received from Conservation Commission Member Laura Jones who works at Fieldstone Gardens to donate and plant trees in the Civil War Monument Park. The Board Members expressed no opposition to this idea. J. Melrose will work with Laura and her brother Steve Jones to identify suitable locations for the tree(s). 2. Sabins informed the Board that due to increases in steel prices, the price for the needed transfer station roll-off container has gone up. An extra $1000 to $1500 will be needed over what was approved at town meeting. Sabins will email the Town Auditor to seek opinion on continued purchase. 3. It was noted that the MMA Annual Election Ballot will arrive next week and must be returned to MMA by Friday, August 17th, 2018. The Board will not have another meeting before that date. On a motion made by J. Melrose, seconded by R. Browne, the Board voted unanimously to designate Town Manager Mary Sabins as the Town’s municipal official who is authorized to complete the MMA ballot on behalf of the Board. 4. Chairman Titus stated he was asked by his wife who is the President of the Vassalboro Business Association (VBA), to inquire why the town had not paid the annual VBA dues renewal fee of $25 after being sent two notices. Sabins responded that she had not received either invoice and asked where the correspondence was being sent. L. Titus stated he did not know, but would let his wife know that the invoice has not been received by the Town Office. 5. Chairman Titus stated that the VBA is interested in contributing money to the Town toward the purchase of a lighted digital message sign to post meeting events, etc. Sabins stated she had received phone calls from residents who complained about a similar signed erected in the last year or so at a church in the North Village area. Chairman Titus agreed and said he lives in the area of that sign and understands the concern. 6. Chairman Titus reminded Sabins that September 8th is the VBA’s Vassalboro Days and that two porta-potties will need to be ordered and paid for by the Town. 7. J. Melrose stated that there is no sign in the recreation parking lot to indicate the whereabouts of the Town forest trail head. Sabins suggested it could be a project of the Conservation Commission to create or obtain a sign.

13. Adjourn – There being no further business to discuss, the meeting was adjourned at 9:07 p.m.


These minutes were read and accepted by the Select Board on 8/23/18 with the following amendments: None.