Vassalboro Select Board
Minutes of the Meeting
November 16, 2017

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

Others Present: Mary Sabins, Mary Grow, Joe Presti, and David Jenney

1. Call to order – The meeting was called to order by Selectman Lauchlin Titus at 7:00 p.m. and he welcomed John Melrose to the Board. Given new composition to the Board, nominations for Chairman were sought. A motion was given by Rob Browne, and seconded by John Melrose, to elect Lauchlin Titus as Chairman. The vote revealed all in favor of the motion.

2. Minutes – On a motion made by R. Browne, seconded by J. Melrose, the Board voted unanimously to accept the minutes of the 10/19/17 meeting as written.

3. Tax-acquired property on Ilona Drive – At the request of Chairman Titus, Sabins provided an explanation of the background behind this agenda topic. The Town tax-acquired 12 parcels in an undeveloped subdivision on Ilona Drive in February 2017. After a failed attempt to sell the parcels together in one lot in a sealed bid process in April 2017 with a minimum bid price of $15,000, the Board decided to put the sale process on hold. A few months later, Joe Presti approached the Board about buying the parcels to accompany the house on the one developed lot within the subdivision. The house was under a foreclosure auction by the bank holding the mortgage. At that time, the Board agreed to sell the acreage to Joe if he was the successful bidder in buying the house at the bank auction. Mr. Presti came to the meeting this evening and reported that after multiple postponements, the bank held the foreclosure auction and he became the winning bidder. He is still interested in buying the land from the Town. After discussion, and on a motion made by R. Browne, seconded by J. Melrose, the Board voted unanimously to move forward with the process to sell the 12 parcels to Joe Presti for the price of $15,000, and to have Joe & Mary work out the details and report back to the Board. Mr. Presti indicated he will be in contact with his title attorney, and together they will communicate with Town Manager Sabins and outline a timeframe to finalize the transfer.

4. David Jenney attended the meeting to talk with the Board on three separate issues. He first spoke about the Cross Hill Cemetery and the recent survey and mapping work that was done in the new section of that cemetery. The work was paid for through funds (approximately $12K) given to the Town by the former Cross Hill Cemetery Association, of which he was President, when ownership of the cemetery was accepted by the Townspeople at Town Meeting a few years ago. David serves on the Town Cemetery Committee and has knowledge that the recent survey and mapping work did not use all of the $12K in funds that was planned for in the budget this year. David reported that many broken and fallen stones are located within the Cross Hill Cemetery, and he requested that the remainder of the funds be used within the Cross Hill Cemetery for stone repair. By consensus, the Selectmen agreed to this concept and practice. 2.) For the next subject, David stated that he had a recent conversation with a friend from Massachusetts who suggested the Town should mail postcards to residents to announce the Annual Town Meeting date. David felt this was a good idea and it might encourage attendance and participation. Discussion was given as to the possible prohibitive cost to such a mailing. David questioned why we have town meeting at all, given the practice in recent years of combining multiple articles together into one vote. This practice shortens the meeting, but eliminates discussion on budget articles. David suggested if the voters don’t want to discuss the articles, why don’t we just vote the budget by referendum? Chairman Titus pondered if adoption of a town charter would be necessary to change to adopting the town budget by referendum. He indicated that 10 years or more ago, an article failed at town meeting that would have created a charter commission. After discussion, the Board asked Sabins to get a price for a one-time postcard mailing for consideration. 3.) Lastly, David stated that he was upset by a recent article in the Morning Sentinel where one of the candidates running for Selectman was critical of the Town’s communication efforts with its citizens, implying it was in sufficient. Since David is the webmaster of the town’s website, he took the comment personally and inquired if the Board shares the same sentiment as the candidate. Chairman Titus stated that he was offended by the candidate’s statements as well, so he reviewed the town’s website thoroughly for about three hours, and was satisfied with what he saw. David asked if we need to do something different, to which Lauchlin responded that he thinks the statement about the need to improve communication was a campaign pitch with little meaning. Selectman Browne stated that he was not concerned, and encouraged David not to take the comment personally. After more general discussion on this topic, the Board told David they are very pleased with his website work and thanked him for his effort.

5. Waste hauling contract – Sabins explained that the current municipal solid waste hauling contract to PERC in Orrington with Bolsters will expire mid-January. She sought the Board’s authorization to negotiate a contract extension through March 31st, when the PERC contract to receive our waste will expire. A new agreement with Fiberight in Hampden will begin on April 1st, and a new bid process with amended bid specifications should be conducted for the different hauling destination. On a motion made by J. Melrose, seconded by R. Browne, the Board voted unanimously to authorize the Town Manager to negotiate a contract extension with Bolsters through March 31st.

6. MRC election ballot – Without discussion, and on a motion made by J. Melrose, seconded by R. Browne, the Board voted unanimously to vote for Sophie Wilson to serve as a member of the Board of Directors for the Municipal Review Committee. Selectman Browne completed the ballot. The Town is a paid member of this organization, run by elected municipal officials, who create and maintain options for member towns for solid waste disposal.

7. Status of November 30th meeting – After discussion, Selectmen Titus and Browne agreed to attend the MMA Elected Officials Workshop on November 30th at 4:30 along with Selectman Melrose who had already registered for the class. The Board agreed to tentatively set 3:00 p.m. on November 30th as a time for the Selectmen’s meeting, if needed. Sabins stated that she had no agenda items at this time, but would wait to hear from Mr. Presti and his title attorney to learn if they will be ready by November 30th to purchase the tax-acquired property discussed earlier in the meeting.

8. Update on Window Dressers Community Build project – Chairman Titus and Sabins explained that Window Dressers is an organization out of Rockland that builds wooden window inserts to a premeasured size for specific customers requesting them. The Vassalboro Community Build is being conducted by the Town-appointed FAVOR Committee (Friends Advocating for Vassalboro Older Residents) will take place on December 16-19 at the old Woolen Mill in North Vassalboro. The success of the build depends on volunteer labor from both the insert recipients, as well as volunteers from within the community.

9. Reportsa. Road Report - On a motion made by R. Browne, seconded by J. Melrose, 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. First Responders’ Report - On a motion made by R. Browne, seconded by J. Melrose, the Board voted unanimously to accept the report as presented. d. Financial Report - On a motion made by R. Browne, seconded by J. Melrose, the Board voted unanimously to accept the report as presented. During discussion, J. Melrose requested a copy of the Town’s Investment Policy to review.

10. Treasurer’s Warrants – On a motion made by R. Browne, seconded by J. Melrose, the Board voted unanimously to approve warrants #36 and #37.

11. Other – 1. Payment of the $1,100 Selectmen’s annual stipend for Phil Haines and John Melrose was discussed. The Board agreed to pro-rate the stipend and split it four months payable to Phil Haines’ widow Sue Haines, and eight months payable to John Melrose. 2. Sabins informed the Board that representatives from FEMA and MEMA came to the office today to collect data on expenses the town and sanitary district incurred during the recent severe wind storm. Federal financial assistance in the form of reimbursement of expenses during this storm may become available in the future. 3. Chairman Titus gave a report on the storm damage to Ray Breton’s roof on the old woolen mill. Several fundraisers are underway to help with the estimated $250K in repair costs. 4. It was mentioned that Lewis Devoe stated that he has energy conservation concerns at the school during his recent campaign run for the seat on the Select Board. 5. Chairman Titus asked Sabins to follow up with the communities that had converted their streetlights to LED streetlights with the help of RealTerm. Sabins stated that she had a conversation that day with a representative of RealTerm who happened to call, and she requested that same information. Once the representative provides the information, Sabins will forward it to the Board. 6. Receipt of three items of correspondence were noted: a thank you letter from the American Lung Association for our $100 donation in memory of Phil Haines; a thank you note from Sue Haines for the flowers sent to Phil during his illness and stay in the hospital; and a request for any written comments on the Kennebec Land Trust’s accreditation application. No action was taken.

12. Adjourn – There being no further business to discuss, the meeting was adjourned at 8:55 p.m.


These minutes were read and accepted by the Select Board on 12/14/17 with the following amendments: None.