Vassalboro selectmen agree to give sanitary district TIF funds

by Mary Grow

Vassalboro selectmen spent part of their May 31 meeting talking about money for the Vassalboro Sanitary District’s sewer extension to Winslow.

Three VSD board members attended the meeting to ask for money from Vassalboro’s TIF (Tax Increment Finance) fund. They wanted the entire amount on hand; after a public hearing on the request, selectmen voted unanimously to give them $91,628.92, leaving $20,000 in the TIF fund.

The TIF gets its money from taxes paid on the Summit natural gas pipeline that runs through town. Town Manager Mary Sabins said Summit pays about $100,000 a year, an amount that will gradually decrease as the pipeline depreciates.

So far selectmen have approved TIF funds for the sewer connection and for the Alewife Restoration Project.

They reminded VSD Chairman Ray Breton and Treasurer Rebecca Goodrich that TIF money has to be spent on the sewer expansion, as an economic development project, not on VSD’s day-to-day operations.

Breton and Sabins said the project also was awarded a $975,000 state Community Development Block Grant. Sabins said the grant requires two things from the town, which administers it:

• A public hearing, which selectmen scheduled for Thursday evening, June 28; and
• An advisory committee, primarily to answer questions from residents if there are any. Selectmen unanimously appointed Breton, Goodrich and their own board Chairman Lauchlin Titus.

VSD officials’ plan is to create a connection between the sewers in East and North Vassalboro and Winslow, so that Vassalboro’s sewage will go to the Waterville treatment plant and the town’s aging sand filter beds can be closed down. Total cost is estimated at more than $7 million, Breton said.

In other business, Codes Enforcement Officer Richard Dolby reported on numerous issues, especially properties that qualify as unlicensed junkyards. Most of the property-owners had at least started to clean up, some under threat of court dates, and several had made good progress, he said.

He reported on a failed septic system in a mobile home park. Selectmen unanimously approved a formal notice to the park’s owner.

They also approved Sabins’ proposed notices to a North Vassalboro resident who failed to pay back taxes to reclaim his duplex, and to his tenants, who do not need to move out but should plan to pay rent to a new owner. The property will be offered for sale, with bids due at the town office by 4 p.m. Wednesday, June 27.

Public Works Foreman Eugene Field talked with selectmen about paving, the sagging fence at the Three Mile Pond boat landing, a potentially expensive culvert replacement and chainsaws. Selectmen approved his seeking expert advice on the culvert and unanimously authorized replacing one of the chainsaws he bought after the 1998 ice storm.

The next regular Vassalboro selectmen’s meeting is scheduled for Thursday evening, June 14.


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