District #15 State Senator Matthew Pouliot visited the Vassalboro select board’s Feb. 16 meeting to speak briefly about legislative issues and to ask what’s important to Vassalboro officials and residents.
He began with the state-wide need for affordable housing and the problem of balancing responses to state issues with local control. The example he gave is the 2022 Maine law allowing auxiliary housing and duplexes on lots zoned for single-family residences.
In response to an earlier email from board member Chris French about the difficulty of finding licensed codes enforcement officers, Pouliot said legislators have no proposals yet, but there is talk of an incentive to Maine community colleges to provide training.
Board members, town manager Aaron Miller and audience members told the senator local issues include upgrading the transfer station (Miller suggested a state infrastructure grant); municipal staffing, as town employees retire or deal with health issues; and ambulance service, as Delta Ambulance joins others in Maine in asking municipalities for an annual payment.
Pouliot said one bill about ambulance service has been introduced.
He added that he has introduced legislation about siting solar farms. The purpose, he said, is to encourage solar development on sites like capped landfills, ledgy areas and PFAS-contaminated land, rather than on good farmland.
Pouliot offered his email address, firstname.lastname@example.org, and said he welcomes constituents’ emails.
Select board members’ main decision Feb. 16 was to create a new transfer station task force and appoint its seven members: Dan Bradstreet, Amy Davidoff, select board member French, Doug Phillips, Zach Smith, Maggie Stickle and Jim Webb.
Miller and transfer station manager George Hamar will be advisors to the task force. French said the group will examine facility operations and equipment, recycling options, grant opportunities and other relevant topics.
Vassalboro’s trash hauling contract was on the Feb. 16 agenda; the current contract expires in August, select board chairman Barbara Redmond said. Miller had two quotes. Action was postponed to the board’s March 16 meeting; Miller asked Hamar to see if he could get figures from additional haulers.
Also postponed for a month were further discussion of:
- Changing the town office entrance to make it handicapped-accessible, while Miller gets more information on alternatives;
- Bids for a generator at the town office, until other budget figures become more definite;
- Revisions to Vassalboro’s Marijuana Business Ordinance, until Miller and board members make sure it matches state law and consider whether to recommend additional changes; and
- Revisions to Vassalboro’s No Parking Ordinance, pending consultation with the state Department of Transportation.
Further discussion of the proposed 2023-24 town budget is scheduled for a March 9 meeting.
In other business, selectmen unanimously authorized road foreman Eugene Field to buy a $9,000 bush hog for roadside mowing, with the intention of adding to the 2023-24 budget another $9,000 for the currently-unavailable flail mower Field said does a better job. Field reported he was unable to find a roadside mower to rent this summer.
Select board members have canceled their March 2 meeting, because only one member was available that evening. The March 9 and March 16 meetings are scheduled to start at 6 p.m. in the town office meeting room.
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