Vassalboro select board discusses improvements to town office, other on-going issues
by Mary Grow
At their Feb. 2 meeting, Vassalboro select board members continued discussion of better outside lighting and handicapped accessible front doors at the town office; improvements at the transfer station; and other, mostly on-going, issues.
They made a decision on the town office lighting, and expressed approval of Ben Gidney’s suggestion regarding parking at the East Vassalboro four corners.
Town Manager Aaron Miller reported, and board members unanimously accepted, a price quote from AMP Electric, LLC, of Augusta: $2,100 for new outside lighting on the town office building, plus $500 to install electrical connections so the new door controls can be plugged in.
Mindful of neighbors, Miller said the lights will be shielded, downward-directed and on timers.
The manager had two bids for handicapped buttons at the front door, for $5,300 and $5,800. Board and audience members discussed maneuvering a wheelchair into the space between the two outward-opening doors and then into the building and decided it would be difficult, perhaps impossible.
Alternative suggestions included putting the handicapped access at the building’s back door or remodeling the entranceway to lengthen the distance between the doors. Board members postponed action while Miller explores options and costs for the latter proposal.
Gidney raised the East Vassalboro parking issue because Tim and Heather Dutton seek planning board approval to re-open the former East Vassalboro Country Store. The store is in the northwest corner of the intersection of Bog Road (coming from the west), Main Street (Route 32, running north-south) and South Stanley Hill Road (coming from the east).
Gidney, who lives across Bog Road from the store, recommended parking be banned on the south side of the road as far west as Vassalboro Public Library.
If the store re-opens and customers park across Bog Road, he sees two potential safety issues: pedestrians crossing the road, and parked vehicles blocking the view of the stop sign at Main Street.
Dutton had no objection; he has maximized parking on the north side of Bog Road behind the store, he said.
Following the board’s Jan. 19 discussion of the transfer station on Lombard Dam Road (see The Town Line, Jan. 26, p. 3), transfer station manager George Hamar and select board member Chris French developed three proposals for changes. Board members again considered appointing a working group or committee to consider improvements.
They also discussed Vassalboro’s solid waste disposal contract with the waste to energy facility in Hampden that hasn’t operated for almost three years, while waste is landfilled in Norridgewock. They asked Miller to review it to see if the town can exit.
After almost another hour’s discussion of the town personnel policy, board chairman Barbara Redmond said she will review the new draft, looking especially at changes that will have budgetary consequences.
In other business, board members canceled their March 2 meeting, because two of the three will be out of town. They might schedule a special meeting the prior week, depending on how fast 2023-24 budget discussions progress.
Vassalboro Public Library Director Brian Stanley asked if the library could be added to the list of potential recipients of federal ARPA (American Rescue Plan Act) funds developed at the Jan. 19 select board meeting. Redmond said she and Miller will review available funds and requirements for using them.
French praised Vassalboro’s plow drivers for their hard work in recent storms.
Vassalboro select board members had preliminary budget reviews scheduled for Feb. 7 and for 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 9. Their next regular meeting is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 16.
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