VASSALBORO: Two reserve accounts have lost money in market

by Mary Grow

VASSALBORO, ME — Vassalboro select board members discussed two main topics at a short May 26 meeting: plans to offer amendments to warrant articles at the June 6 town meeting, and two proposals from resident Amy Davidoff.

Town Manager Mary Sabins explained that because of the national economic downturn, two of Vassalboro’s reserve accounts have lost money. The town meeting warrant asks voters to appropriate a specified sum from each, and that sum might not be there on June 6 or later when the money is needed.

The first problem is with Art. 4, which lists anticipated revenue from sources other than taxation that would help fund the 2022-23 budget. Of the total of more than $2 million, the article proposes using $71,991 from the fire truck reserve, to make a lease payment due in July, and $200,000 from surplus (the town’s unassigned fund balance).

Sabins said the fire truck reserve fund has $70,954.90 in it. On the recommendation of the town’s investment advisor, it has been moved from investment to savings so it won’t lose any more.

The manager recommended taking another $1,036.10 from surplus (for a total of $201,036.10) to make up the difference. Select board members agreed, and plan to offer an amendment to Art. 4 at the meeting.

The other article that will likely need amending, for a similar reason, is Art. 11, which calls for $125,000 from the plow truck reserve to help buy a new plow truck. Again, select board members approved Sabins’ recommended amendment, which would add a note authorizing use of surplus funds if needed (see also the article on the Vassalboro town meeting in this issue of The Town Line).

Davidoff’s first request concerned broadband service. She wants Vassalboro officials to join representatives of other Kennebec County towns in asking county commissioners to “facilitate” a county-wide assessment of broadband needs. Determining how many residents are underserved or completely unserved on a county-wide basis, instead of town by town, might make it easier to take advantage of federal funds for expanded service, she said.

Davidoff assured the board signing a letter of request would not create any financial obligation for the town. Select board members voted unanimously to approve Vassalboro’s endorsing the request.

Davidoff’s second proposal was that select board members approve creation of a Solid Waste Sustainability Committee whose members would offer them advice on solid waste issues. This committee, too, she presented as something that might increase Vassalboro’s eligibility for federal solid waste management funds, by providing information and looking into grants and application requirements.

Transfer Station Manager George Hamar has been involved in discussion of the proposed committee, Davidoff said. Select board members postponed a decision until they, too, talk with Hamar.

In other business May 26, select board members, by unanimous decisions:

  • Approved a marijuana business permit for Hayden Poupis, at 63 Old Meadow Road, as recommended by codes officer Ryan Page.
  • Adopted the updated Kennebec County Hazard Mitigation Plan (as their compeers in China did on May 23; see The Town Line, May 26, p. 2). Theodore Marshall, of the Kennebec County Emergency Management Agency, told board members the only listed hazard in Vassalboro is an area on Cook Hill Road with a potential for wash-outs.
  • Set their summer meeting schedule, subject to amendment if needed, as follows: regular meetings Thursday evenings June 9, June 23, July 14 and Aug. 11. They further agreed to skip a meeting that would have fallen on Sept. 1, leaving their September meetings on the 15 and the 29.

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