Vassalboro library, town-sponsored rec coordination gets conditional interest

by Mary Grow 

At their May 13 meeting, Vassalboro selectmen talked about coordinating Vassalboro’s town-sponsored recreation program with the Vassalboro Public Library, with library Director Brian Stanley expressing conditional interest.

The recreation program, which focuses mainly but not entirely on organizing use of the town ballfields in East Vassalboro, is run by a director, who receives a modest stipend, and a committee. Leadership changes often – not surprising, selectmen said, because as children age out of the program, their parents also move on.

John Melrose, chairman of the selectboard, said the president and treasurer of the library’s board of trustees are willing to explore options. No commitments have been made, and Melrose, who will leave the selectboard after June 8 local elections, is handing the issue to the next board.

Barring unexpected events, that board’s members will be incumbents Robert Browne and Barbara Redmond and Christopher J. French. French is the only candidate for selectman on the June 8 local ballot.

Selectmen reached no conclusion on another issue, where (if anywhere) to hold fireworks in September as part of Vassalboro’s 250th anniversary celebration. Possibilities they discussed included a town-funded display, somewhere, or a contest among private displays.

Yet another undecided issue was how Vassalboro can spend federal funds allocated to the town, or its share of the Kennebec County allocation. Town Manager Mary Sabins said only specific purposes are eligible, and she is not sure Vassalboro can meet any of the criteria.

For example, money could be used to “make whole” businesses damaged by the pandemic, if a Vassalboro business can show damage. Expansion of broadband service or water or sewer systems are also possibilities, but with limitations.

Addressing his fellow board members, Melrose said, “You guys have an unusual problem. You’re going to receive $435,000, and you need to figure out if there’s anything you can spend it for.”

Selectmen did make a decision on one agenda item: they should try to develop a new town ordinance to govern mass gatherings, like the requested music festival in July 2022 that Sabins told them about at their April 29 meeting (see The Town Line, May 6, 2021, p. 8).

Town Attorney Kristin Collins had provided a copy of Readfield’s ordinance as a guide. Redmond volunteered to work with Sabins and Collins to adjust it to Vassalboro.

In other business, Melrose thanked Road Commissioner Eugene Field and the public works crew for installing a dock off Monument Park, in East Vassalboro. Sabins said East Vassalboro resident Holly Wiedner, who asked for a safe place for fishing, called the town office to express her appreciation.

Sabins said School Superintendent Alan Pfeiffer will work to find money in the school budget to help the town pay for the generator that will make the school usable as an emergency shelter. The sole bid for installing the generator, accepted by selectmen at the April 29 meeting, was over $6,000 more than available funds.

Board members agreed the town auditor should be invited to the June 10 selectmen’s meeting to review the audit for the year ended June 30, 2020. Melrose proposed the presentation, on principle, not because he saw any problem, he said.

The next two regular Vassalboro selectmen’s meetings are scheduled for 6:30 p.m., May 27 and June 10, in person at the town office.

The annual town meeting will begin at 6:30 p.m., Monday, June 7, in person, at Vassalboro Community School, with decisions on Articles 1 (election of a moderator) through 37 (the final school budget article). The meeting continues at 8 a.m. Tuesday, June 8, with written-ballot voting on Articles 38 through 41. Polls close at 8 p.m.

The warrant for the June 7 and 8 town meeting is on the Town of Vassalboro website,, after several other items in the center column, under the heading “Town Meeting and Election Information.”


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