Vassalboro Select Board
Minutes of the Meeting
July 23, 2020

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

Others Present: Mary Sabins, Town Manager; Mary Grow, Mike Poulin, Gene Field, and two unknown residents.

1. Call to order – The meeting was called to order by Selectman Rob Browne at 6:30 p.m. He welcomed new Select Board Member Barbara Redmond. Discussion ensued as to who would be willing and interested in assuming the Chairman’s role for the year. B. Redmond said she is not interest because of her newness to the Board. After further discussion between the two remaining Selectmen, John Melrose agreed to accept the position. On a motion made by R. Browne, seconded by B. Redmond, the Board voted 2 yes, one abstention (Melrose) to elect John Melrose as Chair of the Board for the current year.

2. Minutes – The minutes of the June 25, 2020 meeting were read and accepted by the Select Board on 7/23/20 with the following amendments:

J. Melrose noted that in Section 5, a correction is needed where reference is made to “Line item #6” while referring to the Fire Department (FD) budget carry forward money on the spreadsheet. The FD budget was actually listed as item number 5 on the spreadsheet, not six.

Prior to noting this error, R. Browne had made a motion to accept the minutes as presented, but then accepted J. Melrose’s suggested correction to Section 5 as a friendly amendment. The motion was then seconded by J. Melrose and approved by the Board. (B. Redmond abstained as she was not a member of the Board at the time of that meeting.)

3. Tax mil rate – Sabins distributed handouts containing a letter of explanation from the Assessor and four different options for the new mil rate for 2020 taxes. Sabins explained to members of the audience and new Board Member B. Redmond the process and calculations used by Assessor Ellery Bane in creating the options presented before the Board tonight. After discussion and on a motion made by R. Browne, seconded by B. Redmond, the Board chose Option #2 with a mil rate of .014350 for fiscal year 2020-21 and 2020 tax bills.

4. Recreation Department snack shack metal roof bid specifications – The Board reviewed the bid specifications as drafted by Sabins. Discussion was given about the existing roof system and whether stripping the existing layer(s) of shingles should be required in the bid documents or not before applying the new metal roof system. Sabins read a sentence from the bid documents that required the contractor to specify in their bid whether they planned to strip the shingles off or not, along with other details of their work plan for the price submitted. After discussion and on a motion made by R. Browne, seconded by B. Redmond, the Board voted unanimously to approve the bid document and to give Sabins the leeway to rework the bid to include roof stripping. The bid specifications will be mailed to a list of nearly 20 invited contractors. The bid submission deadline is August 18th; the bid results will be reviewed at the August 20th Board meeting.

5. Town’s 250th Birthday party planning – R. Browne stated that mass gatherings are tough to think about and plan right now during the Covid-19 pandemic. Chairman Melrose stated that he felt the Board should at least think about appointing a Committee to start planning the celebration events to be held in 2021. It was suggested that possibly former Select Board Members Lauchlin Titus and Libby Mitchell might be willing to co-chair the Celebration Committee. All members agreed by consensus that these were good suggestions and that Sabins and Chairman Melrose could prepare a list of other’s names to possibly be appointed as Committee Members by the Board at the next meeting.

6. Treasurer’s Disbursement Policies – Chairman Melrose explained to new Board Member Redmond that the disbursement policies allow designated Selectmen, acting alone on behalf of the full Select Board to review, approve, and sign the municipal treasurer’s disbursement warrants for state fees and payroll. A third disbursement policy for education funds authorizes the school finance committee and the superintendent to approve the school warrants in lieu of review and approval by the Select Board. The Board has approved these three separate policies annually for many years. Because of the change in Select Board membership, the Board must adopt new policies, updated with current Board Member names. R. Browned moved to continue the process and to sign the disbursement policies as presented. The motion was seconded by B. Redmond, and voted unanimously by the Board.

7. Other (taken out of agenda order)1. Public Works Director Gene Field appeared at the meeting seeking authorization from the Board to pave the Bog Road instead of the Lombard Dam Road this year. Because of the needed culvert work that may require Army Corp permits, the Lombard Dam Road will not be ready for pavement this summer but the Bog Road is good to go. After discussion, and on a motion made by R. Browne, seconded by B. Redmond, the Board voted unanimously to accept Gene’s recommendation to pave the Bog Road this year. 2. An email request from China Lake Association President Scott Pierz was read. Mr. Pierz was seeking to start a conversation about the Town of China taking over operations and possibly ownership of the China Lake Outlet Stream Dam. Gene provided details about the operations and maintenance work that he does at the dam, now that we are no longer under operations contract with the Kennebec Water District. The Maine DEP has set forth a Lake Level Order that the Town must strive to adhere to, which requires adjustment of the dam gates regularly in anticipation of and as a result of weather events, among other considerations. The fact that a fishway is set to be installed by Maine Rivers at Outlet Stream Dam in the next year or so was also discussed. Selectman R. Browne stated that he was not inclined to make an agreement with the Town of China now. He prefers to wait and see what happens. The other Board members agreed. Brief discussion was also given concerning an email received recently from Webber Pond Lake Association President Frank Richards. The Webber Pond Dam is owned by the Lake Association. Current President Richards maintains and operates the Webber Pond dam to maintain the lake level and is concerned who will take over the duties and responsibility once he steps down as President. No volunteers are stepping forward to take the President’s position. In his email, Frank eluded to the fact that the Town may need to take ownership of the dam over time and properly maintain/operate it. No further Board action taken at this time.

8. MMA Legislative Policy Committee (LPC) ballot – Sabins provided a summary of the work of the LPC and the time commitment requirements for those serving on the LPC. There are currently no candidates vying for a position on the LPC to represent our District 15 in the State. None of the Select Board Members expressed an interest in serving on the Committee. No action was taken on this agenda item.

9. Treasurer’s Warrants – Sabins explained to the new Board Member and members of the audience that the Treasurer’s Warrants are the mechanism by which the Selectmen authorize the Treasurer to pay the town’s bills. A copy of the summary sheet for each payroll and accounts payable warrant is provided to each Board Member at their place setting at the start of the meeting. Sometimes the Board requests that Sabins read aloud the summary list of payments to be made; other times, the Board reviews the summary list quietly by themselves, and asks questions on any warrant items they would like more details on. Many of the transactions are repetitive at every meeting, or every other meeting (like utility bills). Sabins read the summary sheet aloud at this meeting and provided details about each transaction listed to help newcomer Redmond become familiar with the process. After discussion and on a motion made by R. Browne, seconded by B. Redmond, the Board voted unanimously to approve warrants #5 and #6.

10. Reports – On a motion made by R. Browne, seconded by B. Redmond, the Board voted unanimously to accept the Road and Police Reports as presented.

11. Other1. Sabins informed the Board that Adam Daoust of Vassalboro has been hired as the new Transfer Station Attendant. He will start work on Tuesday, July 28, 2020. 2. Sabins also informed the Board that Deputy Town Clerk Debbie Johnston-Nixon’s last day with us will be on Friday, August 21st. She and her husband are relocating to Florida. The planned position vacancy is now being widely advertised. 3. Chairman Melrose asked Sabins to arrange for Engineer Al Hodsdon to come to the August Board meeting to provide an update on the Transfer Station Layout Revision Plan he is working on. 4. At Chairman Melrose’s inquiry, the Board agreed they would like to have auditor Ron Smith attend the August meeting to discuss the 6/30/19 audit results. 5. The upcoming TIF Fund distributions to be issued after the new tax commitment this fall were discussed. It was decided to advertise and hold another public hearing on the matter in September. Planned disbursements to both Maine Waters for the fish ladder project and Vassalboro Sanitary District for the sewer project will both be discussed at that public hearing.

12. Adjourn – There being no further business to discuss, the meeting was adjourned at 8:00 p.m.


These minutes were read and accepted by the Select Board on 8/20/20 with the following amendments: None.