Vassalboro selectmen hear Growth Council representatives

by Mary Grow

Vassalboro selectmen hosted representatives of the Central Maine Growth Council (CMGC) at their Sept. 5 meeting to hear about potential advantages of CMGC help with town projects.

Senior Economic Development Specialist Garvan Donegan, accompanied by Development Coordinator Elaine Theriault-Currier, explained that CMGC is a Waterville-based public-private regional economic development organization funded by area municipalities – it serves as the economic development department for Waterville, Winslow, Fairfield and Oakland – and more than 90 colleges, hospitals and businesses.

The organization helps members attract and site new businesses, expand existing businesses, develop a workforce, implement solar power, do land use planning (including recreational trails), and apply for grants – all items of interest to Vassalboro selectmen.

Board Chairman Lauchlin Titus commented that the town is so much a bedroom community that, “You can’t buy a drop of gasoline in Vassalboro,” to fill your lawnmower.

Membership in CMGC would cost Vassalboro about $14,000, Donegan estimated. Membership fees are based on a formula that combines population and state property valuation. Vassalboro officials could also use CMGC services on an hourly-fee basis.

Donegan gave selectmen figures on grants received by CMGC members that substantially exceeded membership fees. New businesses would increase tax revenue, Titus added.

Board members postponed decisions to a future meeting. Residents’ comments and suggestions are welcome before and at the next discussion.

The other major topic Sept. 5 was whether, and if so, how to redesign the Vassalboro transfer station to make it safer. Board members decided they want to continue to use the present compacter-plus-roll-off-containers disposal system, instead of changing to, for example, large open-top tractor-trailers; and they probably want to move the entrance off Lombard Dam Road farther east, to gain more sight distance.

Town Manager Mary Sabins is in touch with the companies that made and sold the town’s compacter in 1988 and plans to schedule an inspection, with an eye to replacing the aged machinery. Selectmen asked her to ask Road Commissioner Eugene Field to develop a plan and a cost estimate for a new entrance.

Rather than redesign the interior traffic pattern, they proposed using cones and other barriers to create temporary patterns for station Manager George Hamar to experiment with.

In other business, selectmen unanimously approved Recreation Director Danielle Sullivan’s request to add a cheerleading program for third- through sixth-graders to the Vassalboro recreation program. Sullivan said she has a coach lined up and permission to practice in the school gym; registration fees will cover the cost of uniforms.

By another unanimous vote, selectmen added school board member Jessica Clark to the Solar Energy Project Committee.

Sabins reported two former town officials have returned. Paul Mitnik is the codes officer after Richard Dolby resigned and Peter A. Nerber is animal control officer after Christina LeBlanc resigned. Mitnik’s town office hours are scheduled to end at 3:30 p.m., half an hour earlier than closing time, Sabins said.

Titus commented, a propos of residents’ complaints about lack of law enforcement, that he saw state police blue-lighting speeders in two different parts of town on two consecutive days.

The next regular Vassalboro selectmen’s meeting is scheduled for Thursday evening, Sept. 19. Board members voted unanimously to cancel an Oct. 3 meeting, due to conflicts for Sabins and Selectman Robert Browne. Should early-October decisions be needed, they can schedule a special meeting.


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