Vassalboro voters quickly approve 39 articles
VASSALBORO, ME — Vassalboro voters chose Richard Thompson to moderate their annual town meeting Monday evening, June 6, for more than the dozenth time, Thompson said. But for the first half hour after his election, his role was more master of ceremonies.
First, Thompson introduced School Superintendent Alan Pfeiffer, who was joined by school board members in recognizing Kevin Levasseur, retiring this year after 21 years on the board.
Pfeiffer commended Levasseur for his long and helpful service, especially as board chairman during the last two unusually difficult years. Board members presented him with a plaque from the school staff, parents and community.
Levasseur has been on the town school board under four superintendents: Elaine Miller, Hugh Riordan, Eric Haley and Pfeiffer.
Assisted by a cameo appearance by one of Senator Susan Collins’ staff members, Thompson next read a series of congratulatory letters to retiring select board chairman Robert Browne from Governor Janet Mills, Senator Collins, Senator Angus King and Representative Chellie Pingree.
State Representative Richard Bradstreet, of Vassalboro, presented a legislative sentiment – not an official one, he explained, because to earn an official one requires 20 years’ service and Browne just missed, so Bradstreet made up his own.
Former select board member Lauchlin Titus, who served with Browne, said Browne is nonetheless Vassalboro longest serving select board member: a man named Isaac Fairfield held office for 18 years in the early 1800s, but Browne’s 19 years in the early 2000s beats Fairfield.
Titus praised Browne for the smoothness of the relationships on the board over the years, commenting that disagreements were amicable and mutually respectful, and for his generosity to residents in need. He drew chuckles from the audience with comments on Browne’s well-known positions, like his aversion to town debt.
Select board members Barbara Redmond and Chris French presented Browne with this year’s Spirit of America Award for volunteerism and a photo montage of select board members and town staff he has worked with.
Browne’s reply commending townspeople for their willingness to work out local problems and for their volunteerism brought a standing ovation.
After the ceremonies, the 100 or so voters attending the meeting in the Vassalboro Community School gymnasium settled to business and quickly approved the 39 articles before them. Three were amended.
Select board members and Town Manager Mary Sabins had agreed before the meeting to reallocate sources of funds in two articles, because the fire truck reserve and the plow truck reserve funds have lost money in the market. The changes had no effect on proposed spending or on 2022-23 taxation.
Resident Holly Weidner proposed increasing the allocation for the China Region Lakes Alliance (CRLA) from the $9,000 recommended by the select board and budget committee to the $11,500 requested. The additional money would help fund additional lake protection services from the organization, she said.
Voters approved the amendment by a vote of 41 in favor to 27 opposed.
Budget committee members Bradstreet, Doug Phillips, Mike Poulin and Frank Richards were re-elected, and Nate Gray was elected to fill the seat being vacated by Rick Denico, Jr., who is an unopposed candidate for the select board in local elections.
The meeting recessed a little before 8:30 p.m. until 8 a.m. Tuesday, June 14, when polls will open in the town office for written ballot voting, including a second vote on the $8.7 million school budget approved June 6; a straw poll asking if voters want the select board to draft a new ordinance to regulate the number and locations of solar arrays in town and their decommissioning; local elections (uncontested); and state primary elections (also uncontested).
Responsible journalism is hard work!
It is also expensive!
If you enjoy reading The Town Line and the good news we bring you each week, would you consider a donation to help us continue the work we’re doing?
The Town Line is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit private foundation, and all donations are tax deductible under the Internal Revenue Service code.
To help, please visit our online donation page or mail a check payable to The Town Line, PO Box 89, South China, ME 04358. Your contribution is appreciated!