Vassalboro Select Board
Minutes of the Meeting
March 7, 2019

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

Others Present: Mary Sabins, Mary Grow, Dan Mayotte, Billy & Roxanne Pullen, Matt Weaver, Mike Vashon, Walker Thompson, Eric Rowe, Tom Richards, John Mosher, several other fire department members, Sue Vashon, Ben Gidney, Pete Allen, Mark Brown, Don Breton, George Hamar, Holly Weidner, and Meg Robbins.

1. Call to order – The meeting was called to order by Chairman Titus at 6:00 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 2/21/19 meeting as written.

3. Investment Advisor Matt Weaver came for his annual visit to share with the Board the progress of the investment portfolio. Due to fluctuations in the market, the portfolio balance was down 1.45% at year end. Matt is optimistic about the coming year as he does not see an economic recession on the horizon. Matt also informed us that his firm’s name has been changed to First National Wealth Management. As for the annual review of the investment policy, he recommended a small wording change on page three of the document in the Investment Quality section to say that “The investment portfolio will be invested in investment-grade securities”, rather than “high-grade” securities. The Board accepted the proposed changes and thanked Matt for coming to the meeting.

4. Investment Policy – On a motion made by J. Melrose, seconded by R. Browne, the Board voted unanimously to accept and adopt the Investment Policy as amended and suggested by Matt Weaver. Sabins will bring the amended version of the policy back to the next meeting for signatures.

5. Fire Department training update – Fire Chief Eric Rowe stated that there are 20-22 members now on the fire department, but new members are not breaking the doors down. The department has a new training officer, John Mosher, who has been providing new training opportunities recently. Mr. Mosher described a new search and rescue drill that the members have been practicing. Mike Vashon also offered that the department has an annual training day for required Bureau of Labor (BOL) policies, plus annual CPR training. Chief Rowe stated that Central Maine Power representatives are coming next week to provide training as well. Vashon stated that training cannot be done every week, because it is only a volunteer department, but they are trying to do more and everybody seems happy now. Selectman Browne asked if the Department was meeting the BOL standards, to which the chief stated they met the BOL Safety Works Division’s requirements from about 3 years ago. Selectman Melrose inquired if the Select Board could help with recruitment or anything else, to which the Chief stated the department has a few new young members now and hopefully they will get some more. The Board thanked the fire department members for what they do.

6. Solid Waste hauling bids – The Board reviewed the bid summary handout provided by Sabins. Discussion was given about dividing the work of hauling municipal solid waste (MSW) and hauling cardboard to two separate contracts. R. Browne stated the vendor may not old the price if we divide the work and he suggested the contract be awarded to Bolsters even though their price to haul cardboard was not the lowest price. Rob then made his suggestion a motion to award all aspects of the hauling contract to Bolsters Rubbish Removal, which was seconded by J. Melrose and voted unanimously by the Board.

7. Kennebec Water District Outlet Dam operations agreement – The Board reviewed the proposed agreement amendments as provided by the water district and provided feedback to Sabins to share with the District Manager. Sabins will talk with the District Manager and report back at a future meeting.

8. Sidewalks in the North Village area – This topic was placed on the agenda due to an earlier question posed by Public Works Director Gene Field as to whether we should ask MDOT not to replace the sidewalks in the North Village area, since maintaining the sidewalks in the winter months will be expensive. Chairman Titus stated that feedback on Facebook on this issue is plentiful on both sides. Public comment at the meeting tonight was provided by many in the audience. Some felt that plowed five foot shoulders could be easier to walk in the winter than sidewalks that are not properly cleared. Ben Gidney stated that he walks the road shoulders every day without an issue. Holly Weidner stated that drivers think they own 5’ shoulders and go faster, and that crosswalks cannot be installed without a sidewalk landing area for the crosswalk to connect to. Chairman Titus stated that he was not comfortable signing an agreement with MDOT for continued sidewalk maintenance if we can’t commit to it. Selectman Browne stated that it is not practical to buy sidewalk plowing equipment, and that we would likely need to contract with someone to clear the sidewalks. Others cautioned that if the Board eliminates the sidewalks now it will be a permanent decision. After a time of pro and con discussion, the Selectmen agreed they wanted more time to think about the decision.

9. Reports – On a motion made by J. Melrose, seconded by R. Browne, the Board voted unanimously to accept both the road report and the police report as presented.

10. Treasurer’s Warrants – On a motion made by J. Melrose, seconded by R. Browne, the Board voted unanimously to approve warrants #50 and #51.

11. Other1. A member of the public in the audience asked to be able to speak with the Board about the proposed sewer rate increase to pay for the new sewer line that will be installed over the next year by the Vassalboro Sanitary District. He stated that the increase is four times what Winslow residents pay, and he wanted to know if town taxes could be increased to help pay for this rate increase. Chairman Titus explained that it would take a vote of the town to raise tax money for this project that would benefit only a few in town. He stated that he personally was not interested in sharing the cost of the district’s line because he had his own expensive private septic system to maintain. He explained to the resident that there are two ways to get this items on the town meeting warrant: The Board could put an article on the warrant voluntarily for action to be taken by the voters, or the resident could force the inclusion of the warrant article by circulating a petition and collecting 211 signatures of Vassalboro registered voters. Chairman Titus reminded the resident that the Town Selectmen have already approved financial aid in the form of $290K in TIF funds toward the project, and that TIF funds will be available in future years if future Boards of Selectmen approve the distribution of TIF funds for such cause. The Board agreed to put the topic on the next agenda for more discussion. 2. Sabins reminded the Board that they need to be thinking about a theme for this year’s town report, and to whom the book will be dedicated. This topic will also be discussed at the next meeting.

12. Adjourn – There being no further business to discuss, the meeting was adjourned at 7:02 p.m.


These minutes were read and accepted by the Select Board on 3/21/19 with the following amendments: None.