Vassalboro selectmen wrap up financial matters as new fiscal year begins

by Mary Grow

Vassalboro selectmen spent most of their June 27 meeting, the last in the 2018-19 fiscal year, wrapping up financial matters and starting FY 2019-2020.

For the new year, selectmen approved a long list of committee and other appointments. Most appointments were re-appointments; the main exception was the Recreation Committee, which has six new members out of eight.

Town Manager Mary Sabins explained retiring Recreation Director Dan Ouellette recommended making the people in charge of each sport, known as “commissioners,” committee members, instead of having two different groups. Danielle Sullivan is the new director, and the 2019-2020 committee members are Stephen Polley, secretary; Jacob Marden, treasurer; Marc Cote, in charge of fundraising; Sarah Lavallee, in charge of the snack shack; Jamie Willette, soccer commissioner; Mary Presti, softball; Kyle Allen, baseball; and Scott Fitts, basketball.

At the June town meeting voters appropriated $15,730 for the recreation department.

The list of appointments includes a revived Trail Committee, composed of caretakers for various town recreational and conservation lands. Members are Selectman John Melrose, whose idea it was, and Maverick Lowery, Richard Behr, Phil Allen, Holly Weidner and Kevin Wood.

Paul Begin is the new assistant director of Vassalboro First Responders. Sabins said he succeeds Peter Allen, who moved out of town.

As required by town ordinance, selectmen met with budget committee members who need to approve all year-end transfers of funds from one department to another. This past year, Sabins said, the streetlight account was over-expended by $335.07 (in June 2018 town meeting voters appropriated $18,250; in June 2019, $18,500).

The manager recommended covering the deficit with unspent money from the 2018-19 solid waste account. Selectmen and budget committee members unanimously approved.

Budget committee member Peggy Schaffer suggested at the next town meeting, voters be asked to authorize selectmen to transfer up to a certain amount – $500 or maybe $1,500 – without budget committee approval.

In other business, Rick Denico, Jr., sought permission to dispose of a mobile home on his family property. The mobile home is empty and Denico said appears to be uninhabitable; if it is deemed abandoned, he would like approval to demolish it. Sabins said owner Roger Frost has overdue property taxes, and the town has no desire to acquire the mobile home for unpaid taxes.

Since the abandonment question might be resolved before their next meeting July 18, selectmen agreed to abate 2017 taxes and charges if Denico acquired and got rid of the building. The assessor has authority to abate 2018 taxes, Sabins said.

After South China resident Bob Bennett’s critical letter (see The Town Line, June 20), Selectmen have had inquiries and comments about the outhouse at the East Vassalboro boat landing. Sabins said the building is on Kennebec Water District land, but maintenance is Vassalboro’s responsibility.

The manager said the facility is a holding tank that does not leach into China Lake. Central Maine Disposal Company pumps it annually. After visiting it, she called CMD and was told pumping should be done early in July.

The boat landing has a carry-in carry-out policy, so there are no trash cans and people leave trash in the outhouse. Sabins intends to look into having the building cleaned and perhaps repainted.

She said a review of town records and conversations with past town managers and Water District officials gave no information on why the town has maintenance responsibility.

Board Chairman Lauchlin Titus said he had been asked to install a bench at the Webber Pond boat landing. He plans to donate one that needs some of its wooden slats replaced, and Sabins plans to see what the public works crew can do to restore it.


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