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Lamoine Board of Selectmen

 
Gary McFarland
Bob Christie Kathleen Rybarz  
 Minutes - March 19, 2020

Draft

Chair Kathleen Rybarz called the meeting to order at 7:00 PM.

 

Present were: Selectmen Kathleen Rybarz, S. Josephine Cooper, Nathan Mason, Gary McFarland; Administrative Stu Marckoon.  Selectman Robert Christie had informed the board that he was unable to attend.  The seating arrangement was such to attempt to gain social distancing as requested by state and federal government officials.

 

Agenda Review – Jo asked to move the COVID-19 matter higher on the agenda.

 

Minutes – March 5, 2020 – Nathan moved to approve the minutes as written.  Gary 2nd.  Vote in favor was 4-0.

 

Minutes – March 12, 2020 – Nathan moved to approve the minutes of the special emergency meeting of March 12, 2020 as written.  Gary 2nd.  Vote in favor was 4-0.

 

Expenditure Warrant 21 – Selectmen signed the warrant in the amount of $147,534.37.  Stu said $114,000 was for schools, and the March plowing bill was on the warrant. 

 

Cash & Budget Report – Stu reported that the town’s bank accounts are in good shape to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic as most property taxes are in.  He said excise tax was good today, but he expects it will fall off.  It was noted that the State of Maine has extended the time to register vehicles to 30-days after the emergency declaration ends. It was also noted that interest rates have fallen sharply.

 

Quitclaim Deed – Heirs of Beverly Watts – Jo moved to sign the deed, Gary 2nd.  Vote in favor was 4-0.  Stu said he would attempt to get Bob Christie to sign on Friday.

 

Tax Acquired Property – Stu reported that the USDA remains interested in acquiring the property on which they hold a mortgage.  He said a representative was in touch last week.  He said he’s heard nothing on the other two parcels.

 

COVID-19 – Stu reported that Lamoine was one of the very few municipal offices open to the public still.  He said he’s drawn up an emergency declaration and closure plan and an operational plan for town government that, if approved would begin tomorrow.   After a brief discussion, Nathan moved to approve the following declaration:

 

Declaration of Civil Emergency

March 19, 2020

 

 

Whereas The President of the United States has declared a national emergency due to the worldwide pandemic of Coronavirus also identified as COVID-19, and

 

Whereas The Governor of the State of Maine has declared a state of civil emergency due to the pandemic; and

 

Whereas The Maine Center for Disease Control has advised that residents engage in what is termed social distancing in order to control the spread of said pandemic; and

 

Whereas the workers and volunteers for the Municipality of Lamoine are to be offered protection from disease spread; and

 

Whereas the residents of the Town of Lamoine require some level of basic municipal government services in the interest of social welfare, public safety and municipal order;

 

Therefore we the duly elected and sworn Selectmen of the Municipality of Lamoine as authorized by the most current version of the Emergency Operations Plan for said town do hereby declare a local state of emergency and hereby order the following:

 

Close the Lamoine Town Office to public use until at least April 1, 2020.

 

Virtually all municipal services can be accomplished at other than the town office setting with some creativity.   The following municipal services delivery options will take effect:

 

Service

Alternative 1

Alternative 2

Vehicle Re-registration

On Line Rapid Renewal

Telephone Renewal

New Vehicle Registration

Telephone Processing for transfers

Intercom/Mail slot

IF&W Registration

On-line for renewals

 

IF&W New Registrations

Intercom/Mail Slot

 

IF&W Licensing

On Line only

 

Property Tax Payment

On-line payment

Mail

Dog Registration

Telephone

Mail

Transfer Station Stickers

Hand out at Transfer Station

 

Photocopy & Fax

Discontinue offering

 

Voter Registration

Request by phone, mail

 

Building Permits

E-Mail

Mail

Code Enforcement

In person inspection by appointment

 

Plumbing Permits

E-Mail

Mail

Plumbing Inspection

In person inspection by appointment

 

Ordinance Consultation

Telephone only

 

Mooring Renewal

Mail only

 

Shellfish License

Telephone only

 

Vital Record Requests

E-mail application, telephone

Mail

Lien Payments

Telephone only

 

Real Estate Inquiry

Telephone

E-mail

Notary Services

Discontinue offering

 

Burn Permits

On Line (state system)

Phone/mail/email

General Assistance

Telephone only

 

 

Effective March 20, 2020 All Municipal Board Meetings are canceled until at least April 1, 2020

 

Exception:  The Board of Selectmen may meet in a pre-announced to the media emergency session.  The meeting room will be arranged in such a way that social distancing is maximized.  Any such meeting will be televised live and streamed.

 

Municipal Department Operations

 

Town Office Staffing

 

Effective March 20, 2020 the town office will be staffed with just one person with the public off limits.  The staff person will field telephone and e-mail requests, process the mail, and catch up on what project may need doing.   The administrative assistant will set the schedule to best accommodate staff.  

 

A wireless intercom will be installed ASAP for foot traffic transactions.   All “in person” transactions will take place on the front steps with paper/money/checks to be handled through the mail slot.  The door shall remain locked at all times.

 

During the closure period, no sick time for absences will be charged.  Salaried workers will be paid as usual.  Hourly employees will be paid according to contracted hours.

 

Code Enforcement Staffing

 

The Code Enforcement Officer will work from home.  As outlined in the service alternatives, any permit submissions will be only by mail or e-mail, though a permit may be submitted through the mail slot in off hours.  The town office staff member will scan and e-mail the application to the CEO at home.

 

If there is an urgent need for inspection, the CEO will make an appointment for an on-site visit directly with the applicant.

 

Road Commissioner

 

As the Road Commissioner is part of the town office staff, any emergency road matters will either be handled directly as usual, or the town office staff will contact the road commissioner via telephone, e-mail or text. 

 

 

Solid Waste

 

The Lamoine Transfer Station will be staffed as usual.  The Transfer Station Manager will maintain social separation in the office, monitoring traffic on the closed circuit security system.  If users do not have a sticker, the manager shall verify that they are a Lamoine resident by requesting to see the vehicle registration.  A supply of stickers will be supplied to the manager who shall record the plate number, name and address and issue a sticker.  That recorded information will be supplied to the town office.

 

Parks

 

All parks shall remain open.  The Facilities Maintenance Director will use appropriate personal protective equipment in maintaining the outhouses, dog waste bags, and any trash pickup as usual. 

 

Fire Department

 

Weekly meetings of the Lamoine VFD Corporation will cease during the closure period.  The chief officers shall communicate necessary company information via e-mail to members.  Members of the general public will not be allowed in the fire station.

 

Firefighter response to emergency calls involving other individuals, especially ambulance assist calls will be carried out by a minimum amount of human interaction.  Those interacting with patients will wear full PPE, including either N95 mask, or, in its absence SCBA.  A limited number of face masks are available to Firefighters.  More have been ordered. 

 

Firefighters will initially stage for calls at the Lamoine VFD – a senior officer (Chief, Capt, LT) will determine how many and which firefighters will respond depending on the nature of the call.  Remaining firefighters will stay at the station until the call is complete in order to rehab apparatus and equipment.  Once the apparatus and other equipment is ready for additional calls, firefighters will disperse.

 

Lamoine 150! Events

 

Planned events by the Lamoine 150! Celebration committee are postponed during the closure period and shall not resume until Maine CDC guidelines and recommendations allow.

 

Cable Television/Website

 

The town’s website and Facebook page will be the primary means of communications with the public.  The Administrative Assistant will keep the website updated and make announcements via the town Facebook page.  The CTV Operations manager is able to keep the channel up to date remotely from home. The Administrative Assistant can program the system for any emergency meetings during the closure period.

 

 

Gary 2nd.  Vote in favor was 4-0.  Selectmen signed the document.  Following signature, the Board and Stu reviewed the document for discussion.

 

Volunteer Networking – Nathan asked what services might be offered to at risk people.  Jo said her organization, Friends In Action, has self-limited and the center has closed, but she is working remotely.  She said some of the employees have been laid off and are collecting unemployment.  She said they do have hundreds of volunteers, but drivers are understandably reluctant to give rides.  She said the major requests they’ve received are for grocery and pharmacy deliveries.  She said most of the volunteers are willing to do that. 

 

Nathan said it would be good to get a public service announcement out for those who need help or for those willing to help.  Stu asked if it would be appropriate to refer them to Friends in Action.  Jo said they could do that.  A brief discussion followed about various neighborhoods. 

 

Gary said the Lamoine Baptist Church is locked down, but members have a call list and call people on a regular basis to check in and for companionship.  Stu said he would be happy to link the websites on the town’s site.

 

Discussion followed regarding the length of closings and how long the emergency declarations might last.

 

MacQuinn v. Lamoine Interrogatory – Jo moved to sign the response to interrogatories in the matter.  Gary 2nd.  Vote in favor was 4-0.  Kathleen signed the document.

 

Budget Committee Appointments – Jo moved to appoint Gregory Hiltz and Mark Harris to the Budget Committee.  Nathan 2nd.  Vote in favor was 4-0.

 

Broadband Expansion – Stu said Brian Lippold is not attending, as he’d told him to stay put until the COVID-19 emergency is lifted.  He said Mr. Lippold had suggested other options for broadband expansion in the Eagle Point Area other than Spectrum/Charter.  Nathan moved to instruct Mr. Lippold to explore those other options.  Gary 2nd.  Vote in favor was 4-0.  A brief discussion followed regarding the town hall Wi-Fi.

 

IT Director – No action was taken on the proposal until such time as the Technology Committee can meet.

 

New Computer Request – Stu reported that his computer frequently freezes up and is very old (in computer years).  He requested authorization to expend up to $1,000 from the administration budget. Gary so moved, Nathan 2nd.  Vote in favor was 4-0.

 

Returnables – After a motion from Nathan and a 2nd from Jo and a 4-0 vote, returnables were awarded as follows:

November 2020

Lamoine School Special Projects

 

October 2020

Lamoine School 8th Grade

September 2020

Lamoine School Sports

 

August 2020

Lamoine School Music

Cupola – Stu said that he had spoken with Mid-Maine Restoration a few days ago and they would like combine the two projects (bell removal and cupola repair) into one.  He said if the Board is willing to take the chance that town meeting would approve the two articles, he would give the go ahead and start the projects.  Jo moved to proceed, Gary 2nd.  Vote in Favor was 4-0.

 

Lamoine 150! – Jo said the next events for the celebration are on hold pending the end of the COVID-19 Emergency.  She said the group needs a meeting for a parade discussion.  She said she hopes the emergency is over by August 15th.  She said the committee needs to discuss contingency planning.  She said she would like to get the word out the various groups in town.  She said there is one more postcard to be mailed out.   She said they had good programs planned, along with the town meeting re-enactment. She said the celebration may run past August. 

 

Jo said the group obtained a $2,000 grant from the state bi-centennial committee.  She said some of that would go to the grange curtain restoration and some to the history book being put together. 

 

Chicken Regulation – Stu said he and the Selectmen received a letter from a Birchlawn Drive couple requesting that the town consider enacting a chicken regulation ordinance.  He said there has been a relatively long standing dispute between neighbors.  Nathan noted that that chickens can be obnoxious.   Kathleen said she would like to hear ACO Byers’ opinion.  Nathan said he’s not interested in restricting farming rights and over regulating the town.  Jo said it sounds like the requesters have a problem that the town can’t sell.  Kathleen and Nathan said they would look at other towns to see how they’ve handled such issues.  A brief discussion followed on previous matters such as barking dogs and gunshots.  Stu asked how the board would like him to respond to the requestor.  Kathleen said he could report that the board is looking into a possible nuisance and/or noise ordinance, but that it’s on the table for now, pending review.

 

Other Comments – Nathan remarked that COVID-19 is here in Hancock County now, and we will get through this.  Gary said if people need some sort of assistance, they can call.  Kathleen said she agreed that we will get through this.  Stu said that school staff did an excellent job delivering materials for distance learning when the decision was made to close school. He said there was a fair amount of positive press from that.    He said that he’s started the Lamoine Quarterly and had a picture of that for the front page.  He said he hopes to get the paper done next week and out in time to publicize how to do business while the town office is closed.

 

Kathleen said she was concerned by the census document that she received because her mailing address was listed as Ellsworth instead of Lamoine.  She said she is concerned that the proper town/city get the credit for the right population. 

 

Next Meeting – The next Selectmen’s meeting is scheduled for April 2, 2020.  Depending on the COVID-19 situation, the meeting may be over remote linkup or just a warrant signing. 

 

Nathan said again there was a positive COVID-19 test in Hancock County reported today.  Stu said there are lots of unsubstantiated rumors going around as well.

 

There being no further business, the meeting adjourned at 8:15 PM.

 

Respectfully submitted,

 

 

 

Stu Marckoon, Adm. Asst.