Vassalboro Select Board
Minutes of the Meeting
May 13, 2021

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

Others Present: Mary Sabins, Kayla Krause, Mary Grow, Mike Poulin, Brian Stanley, Melissa Olson, and Jean Poulin (6:45).

1. Call to order – The meeting was called to order by Chairman John Melrose at 6:30 pm.

2. Minutes – On a motion made by B. Redmond, seconded by R. Browne, the Board voted unanimously to accept the minutes of the 4/29/21 meeting as written.

3. Discuss the future vision and planning for the town recreational program began with M. Sabins introducing Vassalboro Librarian Brian Stanley. Sabins explained she had been having discussions with him about the possibility of him playing an active role in the leadership of the Recreation Department, and she invited him to the meeting to hear the discussion and future planning of the recreation department. Chairman Melrose recapped the fact that Sabins had proposed a full-time recreation/activities director during budget preparation seasons both this year and last, and it was rejected by the Board. J. Melrose further stated that he had within the last few months, reached out to Library Association Treasurer Art Kingdon and Sue Haines, Library Association President, looking for an opportunity to enter into a contract agreement with the Library Association to utilize their part-time Librarian who has the time and ability to take on a role with the Rec. Department. The intent was to possibly form a collaboration, and therefore create more of a full-time position with shared costs. R. Browne stated that what is required is more of a coordinator, not a coach, and explained that the scope of the work for such a contract would need to be laid out clearly so results could be measured. Brian Stanley expressed interest, but said he was concerned about the lack of communication within the existing recreation department and the existing Recreation Director’s low annual stipend amount of $1,000 for the volume of work involved, which is estimated now by the existing recreation director at 40-60 hours per week. Brian said he just cannot volunteer that amount of time for $1,000 a year. It was brought to the Board’s attention that there is a scheduled Rec. Committee meeting on May 19th at 7:30 pm at the fields. The Board members discussed that it would be good for members of the Select Board to attend that meeting in hopes to open up communication. Jean Poulin announced her official retirement to the Select Board and expressed how much she will miss her job. J. Poulin also voiced her concern from the Bookkeeper’s perspective, that there is no accountability for the Rec. Department and that they spend money excessively. All agreed that more discussion and planning will be needed.

4. Discuss fireworks display to celebrate the town’s 250th birthday - Chairman Melrose began the discussion by stating that he had earlier agreed to help the Vassalboro Business Association (VBA), the Fire Chief and the Recreation Director find a safe location in town to discharge the fireworks. Possible locations such as the ball fields, the Criminal Justice Academy grounds, and Ray Manocchio’s field have all been identified, and all have been eliminated for one reason or another. Liability, safety, parking, nearby farm animals, and Covid-19 concerns were mentioned as reasons not to hold fireworks at those identified locations. K. Krause mentioned that a neighboring town has in the past set them off over/near a body of water for safety. Debris and clean-up were also discussed as things that would need to be planned for. After discussion, Chairman Melrose stated that he was concerned the Board may be in over their heads planning this fireworks display, and the others agreed. A consensus was reached among the Board members to pursue other ideas instead of a fireworks display to celebrate the town’s birthday, possibly putting the funds toward the parade the VBA is already planning. Chairman Melrose will advise VBA President Linda Titus of the Board’s decision.

5. Discussion of possible Creation of Mass Gathering Rules- The topic was discussed again as to whether the Town of Vassalboro would like to start the process of creating and adopting a Mass Gathering Ordinance. Sabins restated that Town Office staff have received a call from an events promoter who would like to hold a country western concert with well-known artists in July of 2022 on private property on the Bog Road, which has the potential to draw a large crowd. M. Sabins provided an example of a Mass Gathering Ordinance from the Town of Readfield that was provided by the Town Attorney. The Board had questions about the town’s liability if a mass gathering were to happen on private property, such as a concert. It was decided that B. Redmond would look into the issue further and get together with M. Sabins to discuss. It was also decided that since J. Melrose’s term on the Board is about to expire in June, that further conversations and any action that should be taken should wait for the new member to join the Board after the June election. Consensus was made that if the Board chose to pursue the adoption of a Mass Gathering Ordinance, it could be presented to the townspeople for adoption at the November 9th, 2021 written ballot election.

6. Notice of Fundamental Matters or Changes per MRC Bylaws received from the Municipal Review Committee- The Board did not object and agreed to let it be. No formal action was taken.

7. Discuss possible future uses for the America Recovery Plan (ARP) Act funds- M. Sabins distributed a copy of the federal guidelines each municipality needs to follow when determining uses for the Federal ARP funds. One allowable use of the funds is to assist businesses in town that experienced economic hardship due to the pandemic. Sabins has reached out to VBA President Linda Titus to determine if she is aware of any Vassalboro businesses that were economically disadvantaged by the pandemic and is awaiting a response. J. Melrose stated that Kennebec County will also be receiving federal funds as well and that at the Kennebec County Budget Committee meeting, disbursement of such funds once received has also been discussed. No formal action was taken by the Board on this topic.

8. Reports- On a motion made by B. Redmond, seconded by R. Browne, the Board voted unanimous to accept the reports from the following departments: Road, Police, Transfer Station, and the First Responders.

9. Treasurer’s Warrants – On a motion made by B. Redmond, seconded by R. Browne, the Board voted unanimously to approve warrants #63 and #64.

10. Other – 1.) M. Sabins received an e-mail from Frank Richards requesting a security camera be placed at the Webber Pond Dam. The Board will take it under advisement. 2.) J. Melrose had earlier requested a presentation from the auditor. The auditor is not available to come to a meeting until June 10th, which is after Chairman Melrose’s last Board meeting. Board Members R. Browne and B. Redmond decided it was important for the auditor to make the presentation for the benefit of the newest Board member who will be present at the June 10th meeting. 3.) J. Melrose thanked Eugene Field and his crew for putting in the fishing docks near the China Lake Boat Landing and he reported there were kids fishing on the docks the day they were put in. 4.) It was briefly noted that the alewife run to China Lake is blocked at the Outlet Stream Dam because the fish way is not yet installed. We assume that the Department of Marine Resources staff will be netting or bucketing the alewives and lifting them up over the dam manually into China Lake for the last year. The Outlet Stream fish way is anticipated to be installed this summer. 5.) The shortage in the funding for the school generator grant project was briefly discussed. Sabins has spoken with Superintendent Pfeiffer about the shortage to see if there are possible funds in the school budget or reserve. 6.) Chairman Melrose stated that the work of the County Budget Committee that he serves on is still continuing. Discussion is being given to take $300K from county surplus funds to lower the tax assessment to county member towns. No final decisions are made yet.

11. Adjourn – There being no further business to discuss, the meeting was adjourned at 7:50 p.m.


These minutes were read and accepted by the Select Board on 6/10/21 with the following amendments: None.