Vassalboro Select Board
Minutes of the Meeting
October 18, 2018

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

Others Present: Mary Sabins, Mary Grow, Mark Brown, Mike Vashon, Eric Rowe, Nicole Wasilewski and her daughter and friend, and Jane Aiudi (6:50).

1. Call to order – The meeting was called to order by Chairman Titus at 6:30 p.m.

2. Minutes – John Melrose announced that he felt a few corrections in the minutes were needed in Sections 5 and 6 and he outlined them. On a motion made by J. Melrose, seconded by R. Browne, the Board voted unanimously to accept the minutes of the 10/4/18 meeting as amended as follows:

5. Dispatch service – The town had received a letter from Cliff Wells, the Director of the Consolidated Emergency Communications Bureau (also known as the RCC), announcing that some changes to the dispatching equipment and software in their office may affect their ability to provide dispatch services to Vassalboro public safety departments. Vassalboro Fire Department members at the meeting stated that the Vassalboro Fire Department will not be affected by the planned change, and they are very satisfied with the dispatch services of the RCC. Vassalboro First Responder Chief Dan Mayotte stated that they were not as satisfied with the RCC services as multiple dispatch errors have occurred over time that have affected his department’s ability to respond efficiently to EMS calls in Town, but Dan said he had no immediate plans to make changes in the dispatch vendor. He would need to do some research to learn what his department’s options were. Police dispatching may experience a change – not certain at this time. After discussion, it was decided that the emergency response teams would gather contact names and give the information to Sabins for additional research. A representative of the Town will attend a meeting hosted by the Sheriff’s office on the dispatch change issue when the meeting date in October is announced.

6. Public safety/law enforcement expectations for the Town – Selectman Melrose explained that the Police Chief’s job description is all inclusive with many expectations. He would like to see a review done of the job description to pare it down after a discussion is given to identify the town’s priorities for the job. He suggested forming a task committee brain-storming session comprised of talent in town with law enforcement experience to help with the discussion and planning of where to apply the 15 hours per week of law enforcement labor we budget for now. Selectman Browne stated that the Police Chief’s responses and appearances at the school, and community outreach are important to him. He further stated that with only 15 hours of work per week, Chief Brown may not have time for speed enforcement; he may need to report speeding offenses to other police departments. Chief Brown indicated he planned to attend the upcoming staff safety meeting as well as fire prevention week activities at the school. J. Melrose offered that if the Board doesn’t want an exterior group meeting and wants to rework the job description on its own first, he would be okay with that. Mike Vashon stated that Chief Brown is more involved with the fire department than former Chief Phippen used to be in the past, and he felt much of Chief Phippen’s time was spent on speeders. After discussion, the Board and Sabins agreed by consensus to work on revising the Police Chief’s job description at the next meeting.

(Underlined text are additions; strike-through text are deletions.)

3. Public Hearing on Junkyard/Hobbyist permits – Chairman Titus called the public hearing to order at 6:32 p.m. and asked for any public comment. There being none, the hearing was immediately closed, and on a motion made by R. Browne, seconded by J. Melrose, the Board voted unanimously to approve and sign the list of permits as prepared by the Code Enforcement Officer as follows:

Automobile Graveyard and Junkyard Permits:
Location Business Name Map Lot
Dale Clement 471 Taber Hill Rd. Bondo’s Garage 008 013
James Cogley 510 Main St. Ron’s Parts Inc. 012 003
Stanley Garnett 1616 North Belfast Ave. Garnett Motors 009 090
William R. Pullen 163 So. Stanley Hill Rd. Freddies Service Center 012 022
Voit Ritch Rt. 3 N. Belfast Ave Autowerkes Maine Inc. 009 105

Hobbyist Permits:
Location Map Lot
Robert Dore 919 Church Hill Rd. 001 174
James Jurdak 7 Baker Rd. 019 017/018
Keith Lemieux 79 Priest Hill Rd. 008 151

Chairman Titus recognized that students were in the audience fulfilling a homework assignment by being present at the meeting. He then proceeded to explain our town government format.

4. Quitclaim Deed – On a motion made by R. Browne, seconded by J. Melrose, the Board voted unanimously to sign the Quitclaim deed for Gerard and Elaine Grenier for the purchase of tax acquired property on Harmony Lane.

5. Revisit grant funding for fire truck – Mike Vashon explained again to the Board that he plans to file a grant application with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for a fire truck. He’d like to list on the grant application, the $25K in matching town funds (surplus) that was approved by the voters at town meeting this past June. Vashon explained that he felt this may improve his chances of getting the grant application approved for funding, as it will lower the price of the truck. He plans to seek other private funding contributions for the truck as well to be combined with the town funds. After discussion, and on a motion made by J. Melrose, seconded by R. Browne, the Board voted unanimously to approve the fire truck grant application submission, and the allocation of $25K to reduce the cost of the truck.

6. Cemetery Rules – Cemetery Committee Member Jane Aiudi gave a brief summary of the work the Committee has done to revise the earlier set of Cemetery Rules that was designed for just the North Vassalboro Village Cemetery. This new set of rules would be for all cemeteries in Town. J. Melrose asked about the language used in Section 6A regarding the placement of headstones, and the allowable width for one stone to be set on two adjoining lots. Once the intent of the language was explained by J. Aiudi, Selectman Melrose stated he understood the intent but felt the paragraph needed some wordsmithery to clarify it more. After discussion, and on a motion made by J. Melrose, seconded by R. Browne, the Board voted unanimously to approve the Town of Vassalboro Cemetery Rules as proposed by the Cemetery Committee with the understanding that there would be clarification in the language in Section 6a.

7. Police Chief job description – J. Melrose expressed his thoughts about needed revisions to the Police Chief job description to include the special town services needed like posting tax acquired property notices, etc. that has been done recently. He also stated that he felt if we don’t need the law enforcement functions, then possibly we don’t need a cruiser, and the officer doesn’t need to be armed because that’s what we pay the State Police and the Sheriff’s Department for. Selectman Browne had a differing opinion saying we need the officer as backup for the fire department and Emergency Medical Technicians, and he may need to be armed for that work as well as have a cruiser to respond in. He also stated the officer may not need to be running speed patrol, but he would like the officer’s presence at ball games and Vassalboro Days, and he wants the officer to assist the State Police and the Sheriff’s Department personnel. When asked, Officer Mark Brown stated he does not agree with having an unarmed officer on duty, and he is already working with the school, the fire and EMS departments, and the other police departments. He considers himself to be an extra body in our town for the other police departments when he is on duty. He needs his firearm and vehicle; it’s not proper to be without them. Vashon stated he thinks it is a small price to pay to have a cruiser for the officer to respond in. He is in favor of keeping the position the way it is. The young male guest student in the audience offered that he, too, felt the officer should have a cruiser and a weapon; the officer needs to be able to respond in all situations and could not do that without those two items. J. Melrose contended that the position is still only 15 hours a week. He is not in favor of a 24-hour police department, and he is uncomfortable with the position the way it is set up now. Chairman Titus stated he could see the situation two ways. The Officer is going to have to get involved in situations if they occur while the officer is on duty. The public expects performance. Officer Brown explained that he calls the other law enforcement departments if he needs help while on duty. After extended discussion, and at Chairman Titus’ suggestion the Board agreed by consensus to have Sabins and Officer Brown work on revisions to the job description to include school response work, assistance to town department heads, and to be a liaison with the Sheriff’s Department and the State Police. J. Melrose ended by stating that he wants to be sure that we are getting the services from the State Police and the Sheriff’s Office that we are already paying for.

8. LED Streetlight meeting update – Chairman Titus reported on an informational meeting he attended on 10/10/18 in Randolph, where representatives from the towns of Randolph, Chelsea, Farmingdale, Gardiner, Hallowell, Belgrade and Vassalboro gathered to discuss the possibility of a joint venture in conversion to LED streetlights. China and Windsor also expressed interest in participating, but representatives from those towns were unable to attend the meeting. Chairman Titus stated that if we join this group, our conversion savings would be greater than when we considered going it alone a few years ago. He stated he is very interested in pursuing this matter. Additional information will need to be gathered from CMP about our streetlights before the next group meeting, which Sabins will attempt to collect. This subject will be revisited on the next meeting agenda.

9. Historical Society meeting update – Chairman Titus reported on the Historical Society meeting that he and Selectman Melrose had attended on 10/9/18 to discuss their lease agreement with the Town for the old red grammar school building in the East Village on Main Street. The Society is requesting a lump sum of money be placed in a town meeting warrant article each year so they will know the amount of funding they will receive, with their maintenance expense lines included elsewhere in the municipal budget. The current practice is to appropriate an amount for the Society, and maintenance expenses are subtracted from it, with the year-end balance being sent to the Society as a contribution. This contribution amount can vary every year, depending on the expenses. After extended discussion, the Board agreed by consensus to have Sabins email the draft lease agreement to Selectman Melrose, who will then revise the draft and bring it back again to the next meeting for more discussion.

10. School Committee meeting update – Selectman Melrose updated the Board on the School Committee meeting he had attended on 10/16/18 to open the lines of communication between the two Boards. The other two Selectmen were unable to attend the meeting. Topics discussed during the meeting included the Selectmen’s request for periodic reports on the school facility for budgeting purposes, consideration of tuition expenses, generator grant update, police chief attendance at school events, the use of the Police Academy for emergency shelter for kids in a school emergency, among other items.

11. 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. Financial Report – J. Melrose inquired if the 2018 tax payments were listed on the report. Sabins stated that she had erroneously left out the tax payment amount on the spreadsheet and showed the Board where to find the information on the TRIO reports that were included with the Financial Report. On a motion made by R. Browne, seconded by J. Melrose, the Board voted unanimously to accept the report as amended. c. Transfer Station Report - On a motion made by J. Melrose, seconded by R. Browne, the Board voted unanimously to accept the report as presented.

12. Treasurer’s Warrants – On a motion made by R. Browne, seconded by J. Melrose, the Board voted unanimously to approve warrants #23 and #24.

13. Other1. The Board approved a request from the Transfer Station Manager to post a sign at the transfer station to prohibit payloads after 4:00 p.m. to help him close the station in a timely manner at 4:30 p.m. 2. On a motion made by J. Melrose, seconded by R. Browne, the Board voted unanimously to approve and sign an abatement for 2017 taxes on real estate accounts #2487 and #2488 in the name of Shane Wood. The buildings on these accounts have no value. 3. Sabins reported that the brakes on the town grader have failed and a large repair bill is expected. PW Director Gene Field will obtain price estimates and report back. 4. J. Melrose inquired about an agreement with EcoMaine for single stream disposal. Sabins asked transfer station manager George Hamar to research this topic. Nothing to report just yet. 5. The term abatement was explained and clarified for the students in the room.

14. 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 11/1/18 with the following amendments: None.