Vassalboro selectmen OK request to allow fishway construction

by Mary Grow

Vassalboro selectmen had a variety of ideas on their Dec. 12 agenda, and their reactions were similarly varied.

They unanimously approved a request from Maine Rivers (leading the Alewife Restoration Project [ARI]), represented by Matt Streeter, to sign an access and construction license agreement allowing construction of a fishway at the town-owned China Lake Outlet Dam in East Vassalboro.

Streeter said the work will be on the east bank of Outlet Stream below the dam. The Cates family has allowed access over their property.

Streeter met with representatives of several engineering firms and asked for bids on the work by Jan. 21. He expects to have a near-final design for selectmen’s review in March and a final design by the end of April to submit to the state agencies whose approval is needed.

Resident Michael Poulin asked selectmen to amend Vassalboro’s Tax Increment Financing (TF) program to allow additional uses for TIF funds. Selectmen turned the request into a unanimous decision to hire the Central Maine Growth Council to advise on amendments to the TIF that would provide wider benefits.

The TIF fund is financed by taxes paid on the gas pipeline running through Vassalboro. In recent years most available TIF funds have gone to the Vassalboro Sanitary District’s sewer extension project and ARI.

Selectmen voted unanimously to table – effectively deny – a request from resident Arthur Kingdon to endorse a proposed resolution supporting LD 1431, a Resolve to Support Municipal Recycling Programs by requiring producers of packaging to share costs of recycling it. Selectmen appreciated Kingdon’s involvement in the effort but Board Chairman Lauchlin Titus believes it would add to Maine’s reputation as a state unfriendly to business.

Turning to solar power, Selectman John Melrose reported the town’s Solar Array Committee recommends four possible sites for solar panels: behind the North Vassalboro fire station, the Vassalboro Community School grounds, the Vassalboro Sanitary District site in East Vassalboro and the town office lot west and north of the building.

Committee members suggested asking the school board to join the town in developing solar power; the school board had the item on its Dec. 17 agenda. The Vassalboro Sanitary District is also to be invited to participate.

In other business Dec. 12, selectmen unanimously approved a BYOB event at St. Bridget Center on Jan. 11.

They listed several examples of cooperative community events. Titus commended Raymond Breton and Donald Breton for their work preparing for the annual Christmas tree lighting. Melrose reported the Trails Committee is working with a rejuvenated snowmobile club. Titus added that the Vassalboro Business Association is working with multiple other town groups including the library, the Masons and the Recreation Committee.

The next regular Vassalboro selectmen’s meeting is scheduled for Thursday evening, Jan. 9.


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