Vassalboro select board discusses many issues; no decisions

by Mary Grow

At their Nov. 16 meeting, Vassalboro select board members talked again about the fire station roof, a generator for the town office and recording board meetings (theirs and other town boards), and revived a topic not discussed for years, membership in Kennebec Valley Council of Governments (KVCOG).

They made no final decisions.

KVCOG executive director Matthew Underwood said of the 62 municipalities in the area his organization covers, 55 are members. Vassalboro used to be; no one could remember when or why membership was dropped.

Underwood provided information on KVCOG’s services to members. Many involve drafting documents, like new or revised comprehensive plans and ordinances. For example, he said, a new state law requires Maine municipalities to update their housing ordinances; KVCOG staff can help.

His organization assists non-member towns, too, he said, but at a much higher cost, like twice the hourly rate for work done for member towns.

Underwood estimated Vassalboro’s annual dues would be around $6,000. Some members make up for the dues in savings, he said, for example by joining KVCOG’s collective buying programs for things like road salt.

Board members want to find out why Vassalboro left KVCOG and consider what town needs the organization can help meet before they make a decision.

The fire station roof question was, again, whether to repaint (the initial plan, until it turned out to be expensive), replace or repair. Town Manager Aaron Miller said he had a roofing company representative inspect it; the main problem seems to be the chimney and immediate surrounding area.

Board member Frederick “Rick” Denico, Jr., thought chimney repairs would suffice. The roof has places where the paint has peeled, but aerial photos show no rust or pitting, he pointed out.

Miller will talk with fire chief Walker Thompson about the chimney and funding for repairs, and will try to find out whether the roof leaks.

Turning to the generator issue, Miller said the two bids received in February are still valid. After almost half an hour’s discussion of how and how often the generator would be used, board members asked Miller to seek price quotes from the same companies for a smaller generator.

The Nov. 16 meeting was recorded, like the Nov. 2 one (see the Nov. 9 issue of The Town Line, p. 3). Miller is still acquiring equipment for putting meetings on line. Denico described a “frame-grabber” that will make it possible to display documents as they’re discussed.

Board chairman Chris French reminded his colleagues of the need for a policy to regulate on-line public participation. The topic was proposed for the board’s Dec. 7 meeting.

There was a brief discussion of the pending bridge posting on Mill Hill Road, but none of other topics in what Miller labels the “Parking Lot” at the bottom of the agenda: review of Vassalboro’s marijuana and Tax Increment Financing ordinances, the recreation committee bylaws and the town personnel handbook.

The next Vassalboro select board meeting is scheduled for Nov. 30. It will begin with a 6:30 p.m. public hearing on seven applications for 2024 auto graveyard and junkyard permits and one for an auto hobbyist permit. They are shown in the graphic below.


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