VASSALBORO: Funds added to budget for church razing

by Mary Grow

VASSALBORO, ME — Vassalboro Budget Committee members continued their pre-town-meeting work at a March 15 meeting. They reviewed the third draft of the proposed municipal budget, and heard more details about the Vassalboro Public Library trustees’ plans.

Town Manager Mary Sabins had amended the earlier budget proposal by increasing recommended amounts for heating and vehicle fuel, and adding $25,000 to demolish the former church on Priest Hill Road, in North Vassalboro, designated a dangerous building.

Sabins had also increased the expected income from state revenue sharing, based on a revised estimate from the state that she said is still not final.

Librarian Brian Stanley and library trustees Susan Taylor and Liz McMahon explained plans to expand library hours and services.

The library on Bog Road is currently open 24 hours a week, from noon to 6 p.m. Mondays and Fridays and from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesdays and Saturdays. Weekly programs for children and home-schoolers are listed on the library’s website.

The trustees recommend adding another six hours, opening either Sundays or Thursdays, and expanding program offerings. They propose paying Stanley for an additional 12 hours a week, half for another day at the check-out desk and half for program planning.

They would like to present additional programs for residents of all ages, when possible in cooperation with Vassalboro Community School staff and other town groups.

“There’s so much more we could be doing that doesn’t rely on people checking out books,” Taylor said.

Town funds pay staff salaries, she said. Trustees do fundraising and seek grants for building maintenance, programs and all other expenses.

Budget committee members asked many questions. They were not ready to make decisions.

The library presentation was followed by another discussion of employee compensation, another topic on which conclusions would be premature.

Budget committee member Douglas Phillips raised objections to the employees’ salary scale select board members are considering (see The Town Line, March 10, p. 3), sparking discussion that covered the need for financial flexibility, employees’ expectations and the competitiveness of Vassalboro’s employee compensation package compared to other towns’.

Lacking information on the 2022-23 school budget, budget committee members canceled a meeting scheduled for March 17, hoping to have more to talk about the following week. The Vassalboro School Board was scheduled to meet Tuesday evening, March 22.

Sabins told committee members the final deadline for making their recommendations to the select board is Tuesday, April 12. Select board members are scheduled to review the town meeting warrant at their April 14 meeting.

Vassalboro’s annual town meeting will be in two parts as usual, an open meeting beginning at 6:30 p.m. Monday, June 6, and written-ballot elections and perhaps other questions on Tuesday, June 14. Polls are scheduled to be open from 8 8 p.m. June 14.

Nomination papers for local elective office are available at the town office. They must be returned with at least 25 registered voters’ signatures by noon, Friday, April 8, for a candidate’s name to be on the June 14 ballot. Positions to be filled are one seat on the select board and two seats on the school board.


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