Town of Lamoine, Maine
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Lamoine Board of Selectmen
|Bob Christie||Kathleen Rybarz|
|Minutes - January 21, 2021|
Chair Kathleen Rybarz called the meeting to order at 7:00 PM. The meeting was held via zoom and at the Lamoine Town Hall.
Present at the town hall were: Selectmen Nathan Mason, Gary McFarland; Administrative Assistant Stu Marckoon. Present on Zoom were Selectmen S. Josephine Cooper, Robert Christie, Kathleen Rybarz and member of the public Alan Moldawer.
Agenda – No change was proposed to the printed agenda.
Minutes – January 7, 2021 – Nathan moved to approve as presented. Gary 2nd. Roll call vote in favor was 5-0.
Minutes – January 13, 2021 – Bob moved to approve as presented. Gary 2nd. Roll call vote in favor was 5-0.
Expenditure Warrant 18 – Selectmen reviewed the warrant in the amount of $278,339.33. Stu noted that the school operations and payroll warrant accounted for about $236,000. He said the school is placing a new portable classroom in back of the facility, and there is a bill from Schiavi Leasing on the warrant. Gary said school committee chair Brett Jones confirmed that Federal CARES funding is paying for the building. It was noted there will be plumbing in the building. Stu said the Planning Board has the permitting on its February 1st agenda. Gary moved to approve the warrant. Nathan 2nd. Jo said she didn’t have the latest version of the warrant. Stu read off the expenditures that were added after she’d picked up her packet. Vote in favor was 5-0, Selectmen present signed the warrant. Kathleen had signed previously.
Cash & Budget Reports – Stu said revenues are still strong. He said the total town budget is a bit ahead of the percent of year that has passed now that school department expenses have caught up, but the town remains very strong financially.
Foreclosing Tax Liens – Stu reviewed the 2018/19 tax lien list. He said one party had moved out of town and it took a while to track him down, but he got the confirmation card that he had received his foreclosure notice. He said several people on the list have been in contact and are arranging to pay. He said one property owner had paid on his account, but was not sure if he could come up with all of it. He said he gave the gentleman a poverty tax abatement form, but has not yet received it back.
Audit – Stu reported that Ron Bean of James Wadman, CPA was here last week to finish up field work on the audit. He said he was not sure when the audit would be ready.
Salt/Sand Shed Door – Stu reported he had called PDQ door earlier in the day to try to get an update on either replacing or fixing the door which is badly damaged. He said the person who puts estimates together has been out sick, so no price has become available yet. Jo asked how much might it cost. Stu said he hoped it would be under $5,000. Nathan moved to authorize Stu to get the door fixed at a reasonable price at his discretion. Gary 2nd. Vote in favor was 5-0.
Broadband Expansion – Stu reported he sent out an e-mail this week at Brian Lippold’s suggestion asking people to participate in the Internet speed test and several people have done so. He said one has offered to serve on the technology committee and he would offer Robert LaChance’s name for appointment at the next meeting.
Nathan asked if the board wants to keep considering subsidizing broadband expansion, as the price is very expensive. He said he’s not sure if he favors funding one side of town at the expense of others in town who have already paid to expand broadband to their properties without subsidy. Jo said her concern is that broadband be available to all in town, and noted that property values increase if broadband is available. A lengthy discussion followed regarding use of tax dollars to subsidize broadband service and whether broadband service must be available town wide. Jo said she sees the matter as an equity issue. Nathan asked if the town should reimburse those who’ve paid utilities to install poles lines. Bob said the town has been asking for expanded broadband coverage for years, and the Comprehensive Plan calls for the effort to take place. An inquiry was made into whether a special tax assessment could be imposed to those properties that are served with a public subsidy. Stu said he could check on that. Nathan noted there are other ways to get internet service. A very lengthy discussion followed.
Assistance to Firefighters Grant – Stu reported that he has drafted up a grant application to the Federal Emergency Management Agency for purchase of 4 airpacks and a total of 24 cylinders. Nathan moved to authorize submission of the application once the fire chief approves. Bob 2nd. Roll call vote in favor was 5-0.
Transfer Station – Stu reported that the facility closed early on three straight Saturdays because the dumpsters were full. He said the Saturdays followed Christmas, New Year’s Day and the weekend after New Year’s Day. He said the facility did not reach capacity last weekend.
Town Report – Stu reported making good progress on drafting the town report. He said the biggest thing missing is the annual audit, and if that’s not ready, he would show in the report that a copy will be available at the town office. Jo suggested putting pictures of the sardines on the back cover.
Town Meeting- Petition for Zoning Change – Stu reported that resident Glenn Crawford had submitted a petition to change the Shoreland Zone on property that he owns from Limited Residential to Commercial Fisheries and Maritime Activities District. Kathleen asked if this was actually a zoning change based on the way the petition was worded. She said she would like a legal opinion. A discussion followed regarding the words district and zone.
Bob asked how the required public hearing could be held. Stu said he planned to post the zoom link on line for the February 18, 2021 meeting as opposed to requiring those who wish to attend contact the town office for the link.
Kathleen said quite a few people have contacted her about the petitioned change. A discussion began on whether the article should be presented as a referendum question or an open town meeting question. Gary moved to place this before voters as a referendum, Kathleen 2nd. Vote in favor was 3-2 (Christie, Mason opposed).
Bob said this should have a health discussion. Kathleen said she’s not sure how many people might attend the open town meeting. Nathan said he thinks people would like to speak to this matter at town meeting. Bob moved to reconsider the vote. Jo 2nd.
Jo said the big issue for her is the open discussion at town meeting. Kathleen said the word would get around town prior to a referendum vote. She said this issue and the liquor referendum matter might attract a lot of comment at the public hearing. Bob said it’s not clear what will happen in March in regard to safe numbers at the town meeting. Jo said it’s kind of a slippery slope if the town is not careful with how it conducts town meetings. She said she prefers to have the opportunity to debate the question immediately prior to voting on it. Kathleen said if there is a restriction of only 50 people at town meeting it would not be enough to debate. Gary said he too was concerned about the possible low town meeting turnout and would stick with his vote to offer this by referendum. He said more people will likely show up to the polls which would be more representative of the town. Bob said that doesn’t mean that people would understand the issue. He said he’d rather see this discussed at open town meeting instead of turning into a popularity contest. Discussion followed regarding secret ballots.
Vote in favor of reconsideration was 3-2 (McFarland, Rybarz opposed). Stu asked for clarification that this will be placed on the warrant in the open town meeting section now. Board members indicated that was correct.
Warrant Review – Stu generically reviewed the layout of the town meeting warrant for March 9 and March 17.
Alan Moldawer bid the meeting a good night. Kathleen asked him if he had seen the proposed change to the building height definition in the Building and Land Use Ordinance and the Site Plan Review Ordinance. Stu said he believed the Planning Board was trying to make that wording consistent across ordinances, including the Shoreland Zoning Ordinance, but he had not checked that yet. He said the Planning Board would be finalizing the proposed amendments and the Selectmen should sign the warrant at their next meeting.
Citizen of the Year – Nate said the certificate and the plaque as drafted look good. There was no dissent.
Public Hearing Notice – Stu suggested that the Selectmen sign the public hearing notice tonight as there are some time constraints on publication and notification for the various matters requiring public hearings. Nathan moved to sign the hearing notice. Gary 2nd. Roll Call Vote in favor was 5-0. Selectmen present signed the notice, Kathleen had signed earlier in the day.
Lamoine 150! – Jo said the committee is now planning for the final events in August 2021. She said they need help with planning the parade and asked if Bob could help with that. She said a lot of events remain on hold, but merchandise is available.
Kathleen asked if the parade route is from the school to the State Park. Jo said that was correct. She said they declined to have a road race on the same date. Kathleen asked if there would be music. Jo said that’s in the works, and there will be food trucks. She said it should be fun. Kathleen noted that parking at the State Park in August is a concern.
Other – Valentines Box – Kathleen asked about the valentine card box for the school staff. Stu said its set up at the town office and e-mail was sent out asking the town to show the love to the school teachers and staff by leaving valentines at the town hall in the box. Kathleen asked how many people work at the school. Stu said the last payroll showed about 35 between teachers, administration, ed techs and other staff. Kathleen said despite good intentions, food gifts cannot be accepted, but gift cards are allowed!
Lamoine 150! - Jo said the next Lamoine 150! Meeting is on signing day, February 11.
Next Meeting – The next regular meeting will be February 4, 2021. Stu said if a poverty abatement should arrive, he would request a special meeting, but it would be held in executive session.
There being no further business, the meeting adjourned at 8:17 PM.
Stu Marckoon, Adm. Asst. to the Selectmen