Vassalboro Select Board
Minutes of the Meeting
November 15, 2018

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

Others Present: Town Manager Mary Sabins, Town Line Reporter Mary Grow, Augusta RCC Director Cliff Wells, KSO Lt. Chris Read, Kennebec County Sheriff Ken Mason and his wife Joann, Vassalboro First Responder Assistant Director Pete Allen, Police Chief Mark Brown, Fire Chief Eric Rowe, Firefighter Walker Thompson, Firefighter Mike Vashon, State Police Lt. Don Pomerleau (retired), KSO officer Frank Hatch (6:40), and KJ Reporter Meg Robbins (6:42).

1. Call to order – The meeting was called to order by Chairman Titus at 6:29 p.m. and introductions around the room were given by those present.

2. Minutes – On a motion made by J. Melrose, seconded by L. Titus, the Board voted unanimously to accept the minutes of the 11/1/18 meeting as written.

3. Dispatch options – Kennebec County Sheriff Ken Mason offered an explanation as to the changes coming in dispatch services that will affect many towns in Kennebec County. The current dispatch provider, Augusta RCC, uses a program called Spillman while many of the towns including the Sheriff’s department, use a program called IMC. The RCC would need to spend $250K - $300K to interface with the IMC program to dispatch all departments who would need it, and they don’t have the resources to do that. Sheriff Mason stated that he has made a plan with Augusta Police Department to dispatch the Sheriff’s department deputies beginning July 1, 2019, but all 21 affected towns, including Vassalboro, must also agree to switch to Augusta Police Department for dispatch services, in order for the negotiated deal to come to fruition. The proposed annual price for Vassalboro to switch to Augusta Police Department dispatch service is $33,254. The current price that Vassalboro pays for dispatch service with the RCC is $27,418 per year, and that price includes PSAP answering service for E911 calls. The Augusta Police Department price does not include PSAP service and would need to be arranged elsewhere for an additional price. It was suggested Somerset County might be willing to provide PSAP services, which will need to be researched. After discussion, it was also determined that new radios for all Vassalboro emergency responders would be need to be purchased if we swapped to Augusta Police Department for dispatch service. Chairman Titus asked the three chiefs of Vassalboro’s emergency response departments to count the number of radios that would need to be replaced and to report that number to Sabins to determine the expense that will be required. No decision was made and no formal action taken. The Board thanked Sheriff Mason and his lieutenant for attending.

4. Riverside Fire Station – Chairman Titus read aloud the email correspondence Sabins had received from Town Attorney Kristin Collins in regard to whether the Vassalboro Riverside Hose Company could deed over the Riverside Fire Station to the town, given the language in the original deed. Attorney Collins stated the Hose Company could gift the land and buildings to the Town, and the Town could lease the building back to the Hose Company. Firefighter Mike Vashon questioned the need to lease the building back to the Hose Company, given that there is no similar agreement for the North Fire Station. Sabins offered that the attorney may have misinterpreted the intent, but it could be clarified if all agreed to pursue the change in ownership agreement. Vashon confirmed the membership of the fire department voted to give the Riverside Fire Station and land to the town. All agreed to move forward toward that goal, and to present the article to the voters at the June town meeting.

5. Police Chief job description – Selectman Rob Browne announced at the start of this discussion that he had received a phone call from former Vassalboro Police Chief Dick Phippen who said that he would like to have some input on what is being decided tonight, but he is currently in PA. Chairman Titus stated that the Board has spent a lot of time on this issue, and that he would like to get something adopted tonight. Selectman Melrose stated that he wanted to put his thoughts to paper as he created his draft of the job description. J. Melrose explained that his version didn’t give more of an explanation other than the Chief reports to the Manager. He stated he purposely struck work examples made more prescriptive. He further stated that he doesn’t want (Police Chief) Mark (Brown) to go to court. Selectman Browne specified that he wants Mark to do community outreach and make connections in the public. Chief Mark Brown voiced his concern about eliminating the enforcement functions of the job description. Chief Brown stated he was hesitant to limit the responsibilities of the officer, and felt Selectman Melrose’s version of the job description was not appropriate. Chief Brown also questioned Selectman Melrose about the entry in his draft job description about recruiting volunteers. Melrose stated that he felt it was a public safety function and that he wants the Police Department representative to encourage youngsters to become firefighters or members of the police profession. Chief Brown stated that while he does do that anyway, he does not think being a recruiter belongs in the written job description. Selectman Melrose stated he put out the best description he knew how, and that is why he wanted a meeting to get other’s input. Assistant First Responder Chief Pete Allen stated that motorists passing stopped school buses is a problem and is a law enforcement issue. He thinks Mark should be doing that. Chairman Titus reiterated that he wants to get this done tonight. Chief Brown stated that the job description that he and Town Manager Sabins did is correct, and that he stands behind the proposed job description they created together. Selectman Rob Browne offered that rules beget rules. J. Melrose said the Police Chief only has 15 hours on the job per week, and he wants the Board to have a say as to what those duties are. Pete Allen asked if a mission statement might be more appropriate, to which Chairman Titus agreed was a good idea, if earlier in the process. J. Melrose stated that Sabins and Chief Brown could revise the description again with ideas from tonight and bring it back again. He suggested they “bulk up one and lean down the other”, and give him a policy as well as a good job description. No further action was taken on this item at this time.

6. LED streetlight conversion – The Board reviewed a new LED streetlight conversion option. This one was from Central Maine Power (CMP). In the email proposal, CMP stated they would swap out Vassalboro’s existing streetlights for new LED fixtures at no cost to the Town. CMP would still own and maintain the light fixtures, and pay taxes on them back to the town. J. Melrose stated that CMP’s proposal was attractive, and the town wouldn’t have to put the work out to bid. R. Browne stated the CMP proposal would be his choice, with no up-front cost to the town. With little discussion, and on a motion made by R. Browne, seconded by J. Melrose, the Board voted unanimously to instruct Sabins to proceed with CMP to convert the Town’s streetlights to LED streetlights.

7. Cable Franchise renewal – Sabins provided an update on email conversations she had had with the Cable representative. Sabins is still waiting on responses from the representative about the services and benefits they can provide to the town in a renewal agreement. This subject will need to be revisited at a future meeting(s).

8. Budget meeting dates and timeline- The Board briefly reviewed and discussed the list of upcoming budget meeting dates for FY2020, which starts in January. No formal action taken.

9. Reportsa. Road Report - On a motion made by J. Melrose, seconded by R. Browne, the Board voted unanimously to accept the report as presented. b. Police Report - On a motion made by R. Browne, seconded by J. Melrose, the Board voted unanimously to accept the report as presented. c. Transfer Station Report - On a motion made by R. Browne, seconded by J. Melrose, the Board voted unanimously to accept the report as presented. d. First Responders Report – not available.

10. Treasurer’s Warrants – On a motion made by J. Melrose, seconded by R. Browne, the Board voted 2 in favor, one abstained (Melrose) to approve warrants #28 and #29 as presented. Selectman Melrose’s wife’s payment for election clerk work was on the warrant, so J. Melrose abstained from the vote to avoid any potential conflict of interest.

11. Other1. Receipt of thank you letters from Hospice and Sexual Assault Crisis & Support agencies for our annual contribution were noted. 2. Sabins informed the Board that the town committee named Friends Advocating for Vassalboro’s Older Residents (FAVOR) held a game board event day on November 14th. Attendance was low, but those who attended enjoyed themselves. 3. J. Melrose stated he had received a request from a resident who views the town website regularly to post a summary report of the Public Works department projects. It was noted that a complete summary of the department’s work is included in the town report each year. 4. J. Melrose updated the Board briefly on research he has been performing on a possible location for a solar array in town. This item will be placed on the December 6th agenda for more complete discussion. 5. At the inquiry of Chairman Titus, Sabins updated the Board on a meeting that she and Fire Chief Rowe and First Responder Chief Mayotte had attended recently with Augusta RCC officials concerning inconsistent dispatch service for EMS calls.

12. Adjourn – There being no further business to discuss, the meeting was adjourned at 8:15 p.m.


These minutes were read and accepted by the Select Board on 12/6/18 with the following amendments: None.