Town of Vassalboro
Select Board Meeting
6:30 P.M. Vassalboro Town Office
Thursday, June 22, 2023

Members Present: Chris French, Rick Denico, Michael Poulin

Others Present: Aaron Miller, Mary Grow, James Kilbride, Becky Goodrich, Al Roy, Carol Roy, Doug Phillips, Tom Richards, Robert Shorey, Don Breton, Holly Weidner, Suzanne Putnam, Pam Lemieux, Bernard Lemieux, Ann White, Harlan White, Jean Finley, Dan Michaud, Ben Gidney, Denise Gidney.

1. Call the Meeting to order – C. French called the meeting to order.

2. Elect Chair – M. Poulin motioned to elect C. French to serve as chair, seconded by R. Denico; 2-0-1. C. French abstained.

3. Minutes: Review and approve the minutes of the June 8, 2023 meeting – R. Denico motioned to approve the minutes, seconded by C. French; 2-0-1. M. Poulin abstained.

4. Discuss Townwide factoring – Assessor Ellery Bane reported he plans to add a 20-percent factoring on assessed real estate values based on changes in the real estate market. He noted that there would be an increase in real estate taxes for those who have made additions or changes to their properties. Overall, however, the 20-percent factoring doesn’t mean there will be a property tax increase.

He reported that if he doesn’t add the 20-percent increase he would not be able to give a full exemption for veterans. In addition, the town could lose an estimated $100,000 in tax revenue because he wouldn’t be able to tax Central Maine Power, the pipeline and other personal property at 100-percent. The assessor is looking at doing the same in other towns including Wiscasset, Litchfield and Pittston. He said the measure is a “band-aid” until the town looks at doing a full revaluation. He added that the town should consider putting money away soon, as the cost could be at least $250,000.

5. Discuss East Vassalboro Water District’s request to pay arrearage on tax acquired property – The Town Manger reported the East Vassalboro Water District Company requested on October 12, 2022 for the Town to pay off interest in property located at 83 South Stanley Hill Rd. (Map 011, Lot 025) as it was expected to fall under foreclosure. Since the Town took possession in 2023 and sold the property by a Quit Claim Deed, the water district resubmitted their request to cover $2,625.62 in water arrearage. R. Denico motioned to pay off the arrearage using proceeds from the property sale, seconded by M. Poulin; 3-0.

6. Sign Quit Claim Deed – R. Denico motioned to sign a Quit Claim Deed on property located at 83 South Stanley Hill Rd., to Grenier Properties LLC., seconded by M. Poulin; 3-0.

7. Discuss Sanitary District Meeting - The Town Manger explained the sanitary district held a public hearing at the town office last Thursday to discuss a rate increase. Residents were vocal about their concerns about this increase, which has been attributed to the Town of Winslow raising rates 25%; two pump stations that require to be pumped out prior to repairs due to pumps getting clogged with hair, grease and clothing. After listening to the customers, the Board of Trustees Thursday voted to keep the sewer prices as they are for this quarter’s billing which will be mailed the first week in July. They expect to discuss increasing rates with the October billing, he said.

According to the district’s audit, the district does not have a sufficient unrestricted net position to sustain government operations for a period of at least three months or maintain significant reserve accounts for future capital and program needs.

The Town Manager also met with the Sanitary District regarding DOT paving the north end. According to a representative of DOT, it is expected to cost approximately $1,500 to match the grade for each manhole cover. There are three that will need to be addressed this year. More paving is expected next year, he said.

C. French asked whether the Sanitary District has any other position other than a rate increase. B. Goodrich said that the Sanitary District owes about $3.1 million in loan payments. She has a call into Maine Rural Water Association and will meet in July however there doesn’t seem to be any funding available. Ray Breton added that the systems were previously failing and the state required the district to update the system or get fined.

The selectboard will revisit the issue and the Town Manager will reach out to legislators and follow up.

8. Sign Community Resilience Proclamation – C. French motioned to sign the proclamation, seconded by M. Poulin; 3-0. This is one step that will aid the Town in applying for grant monies.

9. Appointments – The Town Manager recommended tabling recreation committee members until further discussions with the recreation committee, Community Program Director and the selectboard. R. Denico motioned to approve appointments as presented, tabling recreation committee members, seconded by M. Poulin; 3-0.

10. Discuss Summer Selectboard Agenda – The board agreed to meet on July 13th and August 10th only during those months due to summer vacations.

11. Sign Personnel Policy – This was tabled after the Town Manager noted language about the anniversary date of employees.

12. Review Budget – The Town Manager presented year end budget numbers.

13. Review ARPA Fund Balance – The Town Manager presented a spreadsheet showing $107,000 balance as of June 16, 2023.

14. Reports: Town Manager & Roads – R. Denico motioned to accept both reports, seconded by C. French; 3-0.

15. Other items as may be presented by the Town Manger or Selectboard – D. Breton thanked the town for purchasing flags for veterans’ graves. One resident expressed concern regarding trash on a Priest Hill Rd. property, while another enquired about an Oak Grove Rd. building hanging over the river.

16. Adjourn – R. Denico motioned to adjourn, seconded by C. French at 8:53 p.m.; 3-0.

These minutes were read and accepted by the Selectboard on July 13, 2023 with the following amendments: none.