Vassalboro Select Board
Minutes of the Meeting
September 6, 2018

Members Present: Lauchlin Titus, John Melrose, and Rob Browne (7:26)

Others Present: Mary Sabins, Mary Grow, new School Superintendent Alan Pfeiffer, Frank Hatch, Police Chief Mark Brown, Kevin Levasseur (6:50), Gene Field (6:55), and Cathy Coyne (7:10)

1. Call to order – The meeting was called to order by Chairman Titus at 6:35 p.m.

2. Minutes – J. Melrose suggested wording changes to Section 9 in the minutes of the August 23, 2018 meeting as follows:

*Recreational Park beside Historical Society – J. Melrose told of the historical information that he had learned about the park area around the Civil War Monument on Route #32. He stated that historic photos of the site revealed that trees were once located on the site as a border between the school yard (now Historical Society) and the monument park. Also in the historical photos, he noted that there was a bandstand/gazebo located in the northeast corner of the monument park at one time. According to former Historical Society President Kent London, early on, the First Baptist Church was located on this site up to and around 1848 and it served as a burial grounds for them. It was not a burial ground for Civil War Veterans. The headstones were removed, but it is uncertain if the buried remains were moved. Before the Civil War Monument went up, but after the church left, the land was apparently tilled and seeded for farming in spite of its use as a burial grounds. J. Melrose further stated that Fieldstone Gardens owner Steve Jones has some trees that he would like to donate to the Town for planting in the park at the border of the two former sites as was done in years past. In preparation for that work, the tree stumps from the old plantings have been removed by Mr. Jones and/or his stump removal contractor. J. Melrose read a list of maintenance and enhancement projects in the park area that have been suggested and approved by the Vassalboro Conservation Commission that included removal of the old chain link fence, removal of dead trees and limbs, planting of new trees, and a few other maintenance items. On a motion made by R. Browne, seconded by L. Titus, the Board voted unanimously to approve the list of park improvements as recommended by J. Melrose and also the Conservation Commission.

On a motion made by J. Melrose, seconded by L. Titus, the Board voted to accept the minutes of the 8/23/18 meeting as amended.

3. Tax Sale – After brief discussion and on a motion made by J. Melrose, seconded by L. Titus, the Board voted unanimously to set the minimum bid price at $5,000 for the property located at Tax Map 004, Lot 027E-2 on Harmony Lane.

Due to the fact that Selectman Browne’s arrival was delayed due to work commitments, the Board chose to take the agenda items out of order in the hope that Mr. Browne would arrive in time to discuss the public safety/law enforcement agenda item along with the other Board members.

4. New School Superintendent Alan Pfeiffer attended the meeting to meet and greet the Board and the Town Manager. Mr. Pfeiffer reminded the Board Members that he has met them before separately in other networking circles in the past. Mr. Pfeiffer explained that he will be working for the Vassalboro School one day a week; the other days he works for the Department of Education doing training. He has Superintendent experience in both the Belfast and Rockland school systems. Chairman Titus expressed a desire for frequent and open discussions and planning sessions with the Superintendent and the School Committee. He stated that since the school is no longer part of a district and is considered a municipal school, Chairman Titus wants the Selectmen to be included in the planning and budget discussions for the school, and not just at budget season. Mr. Pfeiffer responded that he hopes and intends to be more visible and will work with the Selectmen. He noted that he has a record of past cooperation with the municipal officials in other communities he has worked in. J. Melrose stated that he had performed research this past spring regarding the future management of the school when separation from the AOS92 was imminent. He had requested a meeting of the Selectmen with the School Committee through the Town Manager to share his research and ideas, and the School Committee did not respond to the request. J. Melrose stated he was not interested in picking a fight; he just wanted to do what is right for the school.

School Committee Chairman Kevin Levasseur arrived at this time.

Sabins gave background information on the generator grant project for the school that she and others have been working on for several months. The deadline for grant submission is November 2, 2018. Superintendent Pfeiffer supported the idea of a generator being installed at the school and he expressed a desire to participate in the grant application process.

5. Reportsa. Road Report - On a motion made by J. Melrose, seconded by L. Titus, the Board voted unanimously to accept the report as presented. b. Police Report - On a motion made by J. Melrose, seconded by L. Titus, the Board voted unanimously to accept the report as presented. c. First Responders Report – Not available.

6. Paving – Public Works Director Gene Field explained that during the paving process he plans to instruct the paving company to cut the shim to ½” rather than the ¾” the vendors bid on. This process may result in some savings of material and costs. If so, Gene will need a plan on hand for a location to place the extra material. Gene suggested he could place the material on the Whitehouse Road, or pave a half mile section on the south end of the Cross Hill Road, or if only a small amount is left, he could pave the Evans Road. There is no way to know at this point how much will be left and how large a section could be covered, but the decision will need to be made quickly on paving day, as the pavers will likely not return for a small job on another day. After discussion and on a motion made by J. Melrose, seconded by L. Titus, the Board voted unanimously to give Gene Field the authority to make the decision of where to place any extra paving material.

7. Other1. Sabins noted that the Town has received an insurance dividend check from MMA in the amount of $2,579. 2. The Board signed a clean version of the revised Personnel Handbook as adopted at the last meeting. 3. Sabins explained she had received an email from Matt Zetterman regarding a request he has received from Ray Breton to adjust the Outlet Stream Dam gates to allow an increase in outflow of water to ensure ample water supply downstream at the Box and Leonard’s Mill Dams for the annual Duck Derby on Saturday, September 8th. M. Zetterman expressed concern about releasing a large amount of water, as the China Lake water level is already below the DEP mandated lake level order. After discussion, and on a motion made by L. Titus, seconded by J. Melrose, the Board voted unanimously to authorize the Water District to adjust the dam gates to allow a maximum of an additional 10 cfs of water for up to four hours during the time frame of 5:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. on the morning of the Duck Derby race on Saturday, September 9, 2018. 4. It was determined that discussion was not needed on a request to waive the permit fee for the new sanitary district sewer main project. There are no town road opening fees or plumbing permits needed for this project.

8. Public Safety/Law Enforcement Expectations – J. Melrose began the discussion on this topic by saying he was not uncomfortable with the money being spent on the town police department, but he worries that the expectation level is too high based on the current job description for our one part-time police officer who works 15 hours per week. He would like to propose that the Selectmen utilize the strength of knowledge that we have in town to help develop a plan for public safety in town. He named several town residents that have years of experience who are currently employed in law enforcement, which he feels would contribute much to the conversation in a group setting. J. Melrose would like to have a plan in place before the start of the new budget season in January. When asked, Police Chief Mark Brown stated that he encourages this type of planning. Chairman Titus indicated that he would like to have Mark come to a Selectmen’s meeting from time to time for a status update, and he also stated that he was pleased to read from the Chief’s monthly report that he visited the schools last week on open house and first day of school. J. Melrose then offered that he would prefer to have the input of Selectman Browne before any further action is taken, so the Board agreed to put this topic on the next agenda.

Selectman Rob Browne arrived at this time (7:26), and Chairman Titus reviewed much of the agenda material covered previously in the meeting for the benefit of Selectman Browne.

9. Treasurer’s Warrants – On a motion made by J. Melrose, seconded by R. Browne, the Board voted unanimously to approve warrants #13 and #14.

10. Other (revisited)1. J. Melrose suggested that a thank you note should be sent to Fieldstone Gardens for their donation of trees and labor in the park next to the Historical Society. On a motion made by L. Titus, seconded by R. Browne, the Board voted unanimously to send a thank you card. 2. Sabins informed the Board that she has filed a probate court claim for the outstanding real estate and personal property taxes for Paul Morneau. 3. Sabins reported another letter and invoice has been sent to the uninsured driver who damaged the guardrail on Bog Road a few months ago. 4. Unofficial word has been received from the Town of China that the Board of Assessors will be denying our request for an abatement of taxes on the Town’s gravel pit located in that town. The Vassalboro Selectmen will consider appealing the decision once official word of the denial is received. 5. Chairman Titus stated that he was asked by Sabins to attend the October 9th meeting of the Historical Society to discuss our proposed lease of the old school building to the Society. Sabins is unavailable that evening. He has agreed to attend and J. Melrose has stated that he will attend as well. Discussion was given that if John attended the meeting, it would create a quorum of Board members and thus a meeting of the Select Board. Chairman Titus stated that there would be no problem as long as the meeting was announced to the public and the paper was notified. Townline reporter Mary Grow was in the audience and noted the plan for both to attend this Historical Society meeting at 5:30 p.m. on October 9th. 6. The date and time of the next Selectmen’s meeting was discussed. Because Sabins will be on MMA Executive Committee business at a two day meeting in South Portland on the next regularly scheduled meeting time, the meeting was changed several months ago to Wednesday, September 19th at 7:00 p.m. 7. Town Clerk Cathy Coyne asked about the status of her request for the additional $100 she feels she is due to receive for her 20 years of longevity pay. After extended discussion, and on a motion made by L. Titus, seconded by R. Browne, the Board voted unanimously to give Cathy Coyne the additional $100 in longevity pay retroactive to last year, based on her perception of her entitlement and her interpretation of the language in the Personnel Handbook prior to the recent amendment. Let it be so noted that this decision tonight is a one-time exception to the rule, and that the new Personnel Handbook policy stands as amended at the August 23rd, 2018 meeting.

11. Adjourn – There being no further business to discuss, the meeting was adjourned at 8:10 p.m.


These minutes were read and accepted by the Select Board on 9/19/18 with the following amendments: None.