Vassalboro select board advised investments lost money

by Mary Grow

Vassalboro select board members covered varied topics at their March 16 meeting.

Matthew Weaver, chief investment officer at The First Bancorp, in Damariscotta, updated board members and Town Manager Aaron Miller on Vassalboro’s investment funds. Last year was “a very difficult year,” he said, and Vassalboro lost money, primarily because bonds had “their worst year ever” – and he emphasized “ever,” not just in the last few years.

Since Vassalboro officials contracted with The First in 2011 to improve their 0.25 percent return on invested funds, the annual average return has been around three percent, Weaver said. The investment portfolio has been “very conservative, based on town policy.”

Weaver’s advice was “sit tight.”

He also recommended that when officials intend to use a reserve fund promptly, they transfer money to a no-risk bank savings account, however low the interest, to ensure the full amount needed will be available.

On another topic, Miller reported two experts looked at the Vassalboro town office doorway and said it meets handicapped access requirements. Select board member Chris French repeated his concern about cold air in the lobby when both doors open simultaneously; Miller said staff members are not worried.

Board members therefore unanimously accepted the low bid of $5,215 from American Glass, of Waterville, to install two door openers and four buttons to operate them. They reaffirmed spending $500 for an electrical outlet (see the Feb. 9 issue of The Town Line, p. 3).

Turning to an earlier request to extend no-parking regulations on Bog Road near the East Vassalboro four corners, board chairman Barbara Redmond said a state Department of Transportation (MDOT) staffer told her there is no safety issue there. She and Frederick “Rick” Denico, Jr., therefore opposed amending the town parking ordinance.

Audience member Douglas Phillips suggested lowering the speed limit on that end of Bog Road from 35 to 25 miles an hour, to match Main Street (Route 32). Miller will ask MDOT, which sets speed limits, for a review.

Board members unanimously approved a liquor license for the Parsonage House, on Dunham Road.

Miller and board members briefly reviewed updates to the draft 2023-24 budget prior to talking with budget committee members.

The next regular Vassalboro select board meeting is scheduled for 6:30 p.m., Thursday, March 30.


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