Vassalboro revised lease sent to historical society

by Mary Grow

Vassalboro selectmen took care, at least temporarily, of one of the three repeat issues on their Nov. 1 agenda.

The two board members present voted to send a revised draft of the town’s lease agreement with the Vassalboro Historical Society for the former East Vassalboro schoolhouse to the Historical Society, with a request for approval or suggested changes by the end of the year.

The agreement deals with what costs the town pays and what the Historical Society pays and the way the annual town allotment to the society is handled. The revisions are intended to clarify respective responsibilities and make it easier for the Society to budget.

Board Chairman Lauchlin Titus and member John Melrose discussed updated information on converting to LED streetlights and concluded the situation is still evolving, so a decision should be postponed.

At Melrose’s suggestion they tabled without discussion a revised draft description of the town police officer’s duties, which Melrose said he could not accept and assumed Titus could, creating a tie vote.

Their other decisions were to close the town office Monday, Dec. 24, as well as Christmas Day, and to schedule selectmen’s meetings for Nov. 15, Dec. 6 and Dec. 20. The transfer station will be open as usual the weekend before Christmas.

The future of emergency services dispatching generated a long discussion with Police Chief Mark Brown, Vassalboro First Responders member Peter Allen and resident Frank Hatch, who works for the Kennebec County Sheriff’s Office.

Currently several dispatch centers serve the Central Maine area, using two different systems. The systems have two parts, a public safety answering point (PSAP) that receives emergency calls and the dispatch center or centers, like the state’s Regional Communications Center (RCC) in Augusta, the sheriff’s office and the Waterville Police Department, to which PSAP employees forward the calls. The dispatch center in turn calls the appropriate law enforcement or medical service.

Vassalboro firefighter Mike Vashon thinks Maine needs to get its act together. New Hampshire has one system for the entire state, plus a backup system, he said.

Changes are impending at the state level. Towns will have a chance, and some might need, to contract with a different service, in or outside Kennebec County. Several people at the Vassalboro meeting think any change is likely to increase costs.

The state’s deadline for changes is June 30, 2019. Vassalboro is all set through the current fiscal year, which ends that day.

Selectmen agreed to invite Kennebec County Sheriff Ken Mason and RCC Director Cliff Wells to their Nov. 15 meeting to continue the discussion.


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