Communication was the theme at the Vassalboro selectmen’s Sept. 6 meeting, as board members talked with new Vassalboro School Superintendent Alan Pfeiffer and School Board Chairman Kevin Levasseur about better information-sharing between school and town officials and with Police Chief Mark Brown and audience members about Vassalboro’s law enforcement needs.
Pfeiffer, newly-hired as Vassalboro’s one-day-a-week superintendent, came to introduce himself to the board. He promised to return as his schedule permits; a former principal and superintendent, he now works as a consultant to the state education department and travels throughout Maine.
Selectmen Lauchlin Titus and John Melrose expressed frustration at hearing from school officials only while the annual budget process was underway. They would like more frequent information, especially now that dissolution of the regional school unit makes the school more clearly a town department.
Titus called for out of the box thinking to find ways to fund tuition, transportation, special education and other essentials without taking money away from elementary education programs at Vassalboro Community School.
Town Manager Mary Sabins brought Pfeiffer up to date on her efforts to have the school designated a Red Cross emergency center and equipped with a powerful generator.
Melrose raised the law enforcement issue. He pointed out that Vassalboro hired Brown for 15 hours a week, supplementary to his full-time job elsewhere, but gave him the title of police chief, implying, Melrose thinks, more policing than the town really provides.
Melrose recommends either using a more accurate job description or creating something more like a local police department, perhaps by contracting.
Brown told board members he works closely with state and county law enforcement and the state Drug Enforcement Agency. They take on the extended, time-consuming cases, he said; he focuses on local issues, including spending time with students at Vassalboro Community School.
Selectmen agreed to continue the discussion at their next meeting, which they scheduled for 7 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 19 (instead of the usual 6:30 p.m. Thursday). Sabins asked Brown how the police cruiser is holding up. Brown, whose request for a new vehicle was shot down during spring budget discussions, said it is costing money for repairs, as he forecast.
In other business Sept. 6, selectmen agreed to offer for sale a tax-acquired lot on Harmony Lane, with a minimum bid of $5,000.
Road Foreman Eugene Field suggested additional road repaving if there is money available. Selectmen approved his suggestions and left decisions to him once he sees how much, if any, money he has.
Board members asked Sabins to send a thank-you letter to Steve Jones, of Fieldstone Gardens, for trees donated to the East Vassalboro park.
They approved a plan to provide enough water for the Sept. 8 Double Dam Ducky Derby, worked out by Kennebec Water District authorities, a representative of the Alewife Restoration Project (ARI) who is working on dismantling Lombard Dam and Vassalboro Days organizers.
Titus said he and Melrose plan to attend the Oct. 9 Vassalboro Historical Society meeting to discuss issues involving the society’s lease of the former East Vassalboro schoolhouse.