Town of Vassalboro
Select Board Meeting
6:30 P.M. Vassalboro Town Office
Thursday, June 8, 2023

Members Present: Barbara Redmond, Chris French
Members Missing: Rick Denico
Others Present: Aaron Miller, Mary Grow, Mike Poulin, Laura Jones, Brian Lajoie, Jay Bonenfant, Adam Bonenfant, Melissa Olson, Doug Phillips, Amy Davidoff, Joe Presti, Becky Goodrich, John Goodrich, Cathy Coyne.

1. Call the Select Board meeting to order – The meeting was called to order by Chair B. Redmond at 6:30 p.m.

2. Minutes: Review and approve the minutes of the May 25, 2023 meeting – C. French motioned to approve the minutes, seconded by B. Redmond; 2-0.

3. Open Tax Acquired Property Bids – A total of 18 bids were received for property Map 011 Lot 025. The Town Manager explained after consulting with the Town attorney, funds should pay off the existing obligations to the town and the remainder placed in escrow.

C. French motioned to accept GP Investment LLC’s bid of $112,000, pay off outstanding taxes, fees and costs to the Town and place the remainder in escrow until further guidance from the Town Attorney, seconded by B. Redmond; 2-0.

4. Discussion on Broadband – A. Davidoff presented an update on broadband in Vassalboro. There is a portion of Vassalboro that falls within the blackhole of fiber optics. The area involves the eastern side of Vassalboro that is within the Classic China telephone line district. The big high speed internet providers are staying away from this area, because of some complications with who owns the poles and that the population density is too low for them to bother.

Fidium has built out fiber to service areas of Vassalboro down from Waterville and up from Augusta. She reached out to Fidium/Consolidated and was initially encouraged about engaging them to expand fiber into the underserved areas of Vassalboro. Consolidated decided against it since it was not cost effective for them. She reported she has also been in discussions with Chris Lynch (Matrix Group) and Jayne Sullivan (UNITEL/Direct Communications) and is enthusiastic because of the company’s record in keeping costs low, their record of reliability, and their ability to acquire State funding. In addition, they have been working with China and other towns in our area and are planning to re-submit their grant. Direct Communications is interested in including the underserved areas of Vassalboro in this next grant application.

C. French motioned to have the Town Manager send a letter to Unitel showing support for the engineering study but committing zero funding from the town, seconded by B. Redmond; 2-0.

5. Follow up discussion:

a. DOT paving in North Vassalboro – A. Miller reported there will be a meeting held at the Town Office with the Sanitary District at 1 p.m. June 14 to discuss paving.

b. Factoring impact on school revenue – A. Miller reported the Assessor will attend the June 22 Selectboard meeting to discuss this matter.

c. Year-end budget - A. Miller presented an expense report.

6. Discuss Personnel Policy – B. Redmond noted “longevity” was removed from the policy and the board is expected to make direct deposit mandatory. The Town Manager will reach out to the Fire Chief to see if this will be a problem from those who are not using this method. C. French also noted that “mandatory comp time” has been removed, adding that overtime can be a choice for some employees. In addition, the board agreed pending discussion that direct deposit will be mandatory as well. The policy will take effect on July 1, 2023. The board is expected to sign this at their next meeting on June 22. C. French motioned to approve the personnel policy as written, seconded by B. Redmond; 2-0.

7. Discuss Community Resilience grant – A. Miller reported he plans to submit a Community Resilience Grant by July 7. This is a zero-match grant to the town, which could provide up to $50,000. He is hoping to install new heat pumps at the Town Office and fire station at 682 Main St.

8. Reports - Town Manager; Roads; Fire Department – C. French motioned to approve the reports, seconded by B. Redmond; 2-0.

9. Approve Treasurer’s Warrants – C. French motioned to approve warrants 70 & 71, seconded by B. Redmond; 2-0.

10. Other items as may be presented by the Town Manager or Selectboard

a. BYOB Permit – The board signed the permit for Megan Smith for a function at St. Bridget Center for June 24, 2023.

b. Culverts – C. French motioned to purchase culverts from Paris Farmers Union, seconded by B. Redmond; 2-0.

c. B. Redmond Farewell – C. French expressed thanks to the Chair for her service to the community and she will be missed. She expressed how well a small crew takes care of the town.

11. Executive Session pursuant to 1 MRSA, section 405 (6)(A) – Personnel Matter.

C. French motioned to enter executive session, seconded by B. Redmond; 2-0.

C. French motioned to exit executive session, seconded by B. Redmond; 2-0.

12. Adjourn - B. Redmond motioned to adjourn, seconded by C. French at 8:20 p.m.; 2-0.
These minutes were read and accepted by the Selectboard on June 22, 2023 with the following amendments: none.