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Select Board meeting January 3, 2011

Minutes approved for 12-13 and 12-20.
There was no meeting on 12-27-11 due to the storm.

Warrants were signed

Jody Barns came in to discuss his back tax issue. Board agreed that his assessment is out of date and needs updating before we can proceed. Jim Murphy will be asked to make a site visit.

Issue of mail boxes being knocked over by the snowplows was raised by several notes left from taxpayers. The town is under no obligation to pay to repair/replace mailboxes. Taxpayers could approach Steve McGee to see if he is willing to pay this cost.

Official Policy adopted tonight is follows:
People calling the town office will be asked to provide the name and phone number of the caller and the nature of the compliant. If they want to talk with one of the selectman, they will be given Steve’s number, or Frank’s or Sue’s, in that order.
Dave Boynton is not the appropriate number to call.
Gwyn Dixon was given this information and will share it with the assistant clerks.

Chief Pellerin stopped in to relate that things are going along pretty well. There was a mutual aid fire call on December 25 with response from Whitefield Fire and Rescue with 19 members. Chief is going to go to the Coopers Mills Fire Department meeting tonight to discuss the lease and plans for the new station.

Board voted to change the method of assessing lots to the following:
Base lot
Well added
Septic system added
Values for these items will be determined later in the process.

Frank contacted the following citizens and asked them to serve on the budget committee:
Bill Brooke
Barbara Delvecchio
Louis Sell
Lester Sheaffer
Barry Tibbetts
Jim Fitzpatrick
The first meeting of budget committee and the select board will be next Tuesday January 11, 2011 at 7 PM at the town office.
Board reviewed preliminary numbers for the 2011-2012 budget. Several adjustments were made and decisions made but not final vote was taken.
Steve McCormick        Sue McKeen            Frank Ober

Minutes of Select board meeting January 24, 2011
Steve McCormick and Frank Ober present.

Minutes were approved for January 3 regular meeting and January 4 meeting with Catalano Construction.

 Frank was approved to attend a workshop on Personnel Practices on February 4, 2011.

There will be a hearing on the proposed assessing board ordinance next Monday @ 7 PM at the town office. This will be voted on in March by secret ballot prior to the open town meeting.

Seth McGee came in and board reviewed the list of priorities for plowing which is subject to change when circumstances dictate such as equipment breakdown or emergencies. We identified North Hunts Meadow Road and Head Tide Road as places that we had complaints about. Some mail boxes had taken a hit. He has had some equipment breakdowns but does have some backup trucks available.

Bruce Mathews came in to share a incident report he obtained from the Lincoln County and State Police which involved Tim Pellerin and three members of the fire service. Board will continue to gather information regarding this matter.

Steve Smith came in asking about the planning board placing  a shore land zoning ordinance on the ballot in March. He was informed that it was getting a bit late to be able to include it on the ballot in March due to the hearing needed prior to the vote. He was told that this could be placed on ballot for the June election, if it was ready.
Steve was also concerned about the RSU plan to purchase a building as he felt that it was not in the best interest of the town for the RSU to borrow money to fund capital expenditures. We referred Steve to the RSU representatives as this was not something we could deal with.

Chief Pellerin stopped by to leave off some invoices for payment. We approved two for payment but need more information on the rest. Steve will ask the chief for detailed invoices for the remaining bills.

Nicki Mathews Emergency Management Director for the town stopped by to report that there is no plan in place to deal with a catastrophic failure of the Coopers Mills dam which is the responsibility of the town. Steve assured her that this has been looked at and there is data and information available that indicates that little damage would be done by a catastrophic breach due to the limited amount of water impounded by this dam. Steve will gather this information and provide it to Nicki to facilitate her developing a contingency plan.
She reported that she will be out of state during the period of January  29 – February 12 for training with the National Guard.

Nicki also reviewed with the board her concerns about the incident mentioned above that her father had provided the report on. She expressed concern for her safety at home due to this incident and was not sure how she would deal with being on an incident scene with the Chief.
She did ask that the town order a audit of the financial books for the North Whitefield Fire Department Association as she had some concerns as to what the money was expended on. At one point she was the treasurer but had to give it up during a period while she as on active duty. She asked for the records when she returned but they were not returned to her. She subsequently resigned as treasurer.
At this time the board does not feel that it can ask nor pay for such an audit but suggested that the association could do both if they felt the need to do so.

Board will seek consol as to how to handle the incident.

Board also initiated action to develop a personal policy to address such issues as sexual harassment. The workshop that Frank is scheduled to attend should provide material to use in this effort.

Carrie Haven came in regarding her application for Animal Control Officer. Board interviewed Carrie and then voted  2 – 0 to hire her as our ACO. Frank agreed to provide her with backup when she is unable to fill the role (vacations, illness etc.)
She agrees to take the appropriate training when it is made available later this spring.

Board is scheduled to meet with Catalano Construction next Tuesday for an update on the progress. The floors have been poured and interior partitions are being framed up and outside trim is being installed.

Board will be meeting with the assessing advisory board on Thursday at 5 PM.

Steve McCormick                               Frank Ober   
Notes for Board of Selectmen’s meeting January 31, 2011
Steve McCormick, Sue McKeen and Frank Ober present

Board voted 3 – 0 to go into executive session per 1 MRSA – 05 (1) – (5) to discus a personnel matter with the town Fire & Rescue Chiefs.
No action was taken after this session.

We have received reports that the Rideouts on Mills Road are processing junk cars. Arthur Strout, CEO, was contacted and will do an inspection.

Board has reviewed several versions of policies about sexual harassment in the work place in preparation to adopting a policy for the town employees. Board made plans to select one policy for the whole town and then meet with the Fire& Rescue Department on February 15 at 7 PM to review the adopted policy.

At 7 PM a hearing was held regarding the secret ballot question on the warrant regarding an elected assessing board. There were only three people who came in for the hearing.
Steve Smith, the proponent of article, gave his point of view as to how this new board would function.
Proposed board would take over the assessing duties that are presently the responsibility of the select board.
Sentiment was expressed that there should be more public comment and discussion prior to the vote in March. Select board is agreeable to do this but felt that the attendance this evening was indicative of the interest generated by the article.
It was pointed out that this board will add at least some expense to the town budget because we would be required to pay the elected members at least a minimal fee per meeting.

This Assessing Advisory Committee appointed by the selectmen to review the present system has not yet completed its report to the selectmen but has indicated that they have identified some areas that could be adjusted to more accurately reflect property values some of which, if adopted by the board, would generate more revenues.
In addition the board recognizes that our most difficult  issue is declining revenues from the state to the town thereby forcing the town to raise taxes to cover our expenses.
We have little local control of the RSU School budget nor the county budget and the municipal budget can be trimmed only so much without cutting services to the taxpayer.

After the hearing, Steve Smith again expressed his feelings that the RSU should not be borrowing money to purchase a building. Steve was told that the board was not the appropriate place to lodge his objection but that he should approach a member of the RSU Board.

Jim Torbert, a member of the planning board, indicated that at their last meeting, due to a lack of a quorum, the planning board was been unable to deal with a couple of issues.

Board voted 3 – 0 to renew the liquor license for Sheepscot Links Golf Course and to waver a public hearing.

Steve McCormick         Sue McKeen            Frank Ober
Minutes for meeting on February 1, 2011 with Catalano Construction.

Averyl Catalano
Tom Catalano

Erik Ekholm, building comm. chair
Lynn Talacko, architect

Frank Ober, selectman
Steve McCormick, selectman

Group had met earlier at the construction site and reviewed progress of project.
         Interior walls are framed up
         Heating system is being installed
         Doors are being installed
         Ceiling and insulation nearly complete in the ell of the building
         Metal roof about half complete
         Some siding has been installed
         Some Trim work has begun
         Electrical wiring roughed in

During the meeting at the town office we compared the progress with the proposed time line and Tom feels that they are ahead of schedule on several items such as insulation, sheet rock, heating system but the siding and roofing is off schedule by a little. However, he expressed that he should be done on the building proper by the end of March if not sooner.
We requested that another coat of sealant be applied to the cement floor once the project is complete.
There will be some cost savings in the kitchen due to a change in the selection of the vendor of the cabinets and the type and size of the refrigerator.
There has been a slight increase in cost for light fixtures due to changes made.
 We signed off on the change orders and payment requests.
There was some discussion regarding the landscaping and final items such as a cement ramp at truck doors and people entrances at front and back of the ell. Most of this would have to wait for warm weather perhaps April or May.
Next meeting will be on March 1, 2011.

Steve McCormick              Frank Ober
March 1, 2011 @ 11 AM Meeting with Catalano Construction

Lynn Talacko
Erik Ekholm
Frank Ober
Steve McCormick
Averyl Catalano
Tom Catalano

Lien wavers were discussed but are not ready yet.
Avery submitted requisition for payment in the amount of $55,805
This leaves a balance to finish contract of $102,805

Change order #5 was submitted which reflects a savings of $660.
         Kitchen cabinets, door locks and hardware

All agreed that things seem to be on schedule with projected substantial completion by the end of the month leaving some outside work waiting for warm and dry weather: Landing outside back door and ramps into truck bays. Some landscaping may need to be done later as well.
 During the tour today we noted that the painters have started their work, over head doors are in and being connected to the electric openers, electrical connections to the main panel are underway. Still remaining is the siding for the truck bays, trim work and flooring.

Change order #6 was submitted and will be reviewed by committee and select board.

Frank Ober    Steve McCormick
Select Board meeting February 7, 2011

There was a general discussion of the MMA sexual harassment Policy. Board voted 3 - 0 to include a fraternization policy and then have it reviewed by Cliff Goodall, our attorney, prior to adopting.

A search was made in available files for any copies of any policies that have been adopted by either the Fire and Rescue Department  or the Select Board. We were unable to find any. Job descriptions were located but these were adopted prior to the formation of the Whitefield Fire and Rescue Service.
Chief Pellerin was contacted and asked to provide 1) copies of all policies that have been developed and adopted by the Fire and Rescue Department; 2) copies of the various job descriptions as developed by the Whitefield Fire and Rescue Department for our review nest week.
When available board will review all these policies and job description and approve as appropriate.

Board voted to send a letter of notice to Steve McGee Construction regarding the plowing. (filed separately)

Board reviewed note from Ann Roberts regarding damaged mail boxes on the Sennot Road. The town is not responsible for this damage. Ann’s note indicates that she will file a report with Steve McGee’s insurance agent.

Board reviewed a property transfer document from the County indicating that a piece of property that was tax acquired had been sold. Sue contacted parties concerned to make them aware of fact that the selling parity did not, in fact, own the property.

An email note from Roxy Prescott, administrative assistant at the Sheepscot Valley RSU, was reviewed. Frank will call her in the morning to clarify the request.
{Frank contacted Roxy on Tuesday morning and determined that the RSU board wanted to open a clear line of communication between the town and the RSU. I provided Roxy with our regular scheduled meetings on Monday evenings and told her that we have had only one or two issues presented to us and we had referred the individuals to contact a Whitefield RSU board representative. I suggested that if the RSU staff or board had any issues that they wanted to present to us, they should contact the town office to be added to the agenda for one of our meetings.}

Steve McCormick              Sue McKeen                   Frank Ober

Minutes for Select Board meeting for February 14, 2010

Warrants and checks signed.

Minutes approved and signed for 1-31-11 and 2-1-11.

The board met with the assessing advisory committee (Dennis Merrill, Steve Smith, Wes Keep and Jim Fitz-Patrick. Not present were members John Delvecchio and Andy Berry).
Committee chairman Dennis Merrill reviewed the report with the board giving the highlights of the findings and suggested actions that might be taken by the Select Board/assessing agents.
         The committee met 14 times and reviewed the history of how the town had been assessed in the past and up to the present. They reviewed the various categories of land used in this town. They also contacted other towns to see how they handled some of the issues.
         The committee strongly suggested that the taxpayers be informed as to what they are being taxed on in a way that is easily understood and that some way be found to get this information to the taxpayer in a timely manner so corrections can be made prior to the tax bills being mailed.
         Committee did note that there are several programs that offer relief for taxpayers such as Open Space and Farm Land and Tree Growth. In the past Whitefield did not assign appropriate values for land and it did not benefit landowners to utilize these programs. However, in assessing land at more realistic valuations, these programs will be helpful in reducing the tax burden to the landowner. Steve stated that the market survey done prior to last years rate setting showed that the average market value of raw land in Whitefield was about $1100/acre.
         An appendix provides suggested methodology to make changes in assessing land in Whitefield.

                  The report is a public record and is available for review at the town office and Dennis will try to have it posted on the town web site.
         The board thanked the committee for their work and committed to utilizing the information to make some changes in our assessing land values in the town in the coming years. Implementing any change will take time to change the information in the files to reflect the new values.
Evelyn Joslyn came in to discuss her tax bill. She indicated that some years ago that she and her husband had purchased 30 acres of land and at some point after that, had conveyed 4 acres to Danny, however, she was still paying taxes on 30 acres. She also felt that her building value was too high. Board made a copy of her deed and left a note for Jim Murphy to review the information and to make a site visit.
         Board agreed to seek a quote for the sign for the Fire and Rescue building.
         Board voted 3 – 0 to change Monday Selectman meeting hours to 6 – 8 PM starting with the meeting on February 28, 2011.
         Board has been provided with copies of the Whitefield Fire and Rescue Workplace Harassment Policy as provided by Chief Pellerin. Board also has on hand a copy of a similar policy provided by MMA with addition of Fraternization Policy which has been reviewed by the town attorney. Each member of the board was provided with a copy which they will review at their leisure. After this review the board will vote to adopt a policy. It was agreed by the board that each town employee will be required to be presented with a copy to read and that they would be required to sign acknowledging receipt of the policy.
         Board agreed that they needed to develop a policy regarding the use of the Municipal Fire and Rescue building.
         Board is to meet with Lynn Talacko tomorrow morning at the Fire and Rescue building to review progress on the construction.
(This was done and we discussed the use of the various rooms. At this time the sheetrock is nearly complete in the ell of the station.)
         Note was drafted to be sent in reply from a letter from Charles Cameron regarding the assessed value of his property on Hunts Meadow Road. He was asked to submit a request for abatement for the property for the board to consider.
         Board has been provided with job descriptions for the Administrative Assistant to the Board of Selectman; Deputy Town Clerk, Deputy Tax Collector and Deputy Treasurer and Assistant Town Clerk, Assistant Treasurer. Board will review these with the aim of adopting such job descriptions.
          Board selected a photo for the cover of the annual report.
         Board discussed possible needs for furniture for new station particularly the needs for the Select board and the office in the new building.
         We discussed the need to be thinking about posting the roads for mud season. Frank or Steve will talk with Dave Boynton.

Steve McCormick              Sue McKeen              Frank Ober

Select board meeting February 28, 2011

Minutes approved for 2/7 and 2/14/2011

Paul Pinette came in regards to a junk yard permit for location formally owned by Brad and Glenwood Corbin. As this was just a transfer of ownership, board voted 3 – 0 not to have a hearing and approved his permit for a junk yard at 135 Augusta Road DBA Whitefield Recycling.

Wayne Brann came in very upset about the plowing on his road, the Howe Road.. He stated that the drivers are driving too fast and not paying attention to where the blade is consequently hitting many mail boxes including his. He suggested that when we redo the contract that there be a clause in it covering damage to mailboxes.
Board suggested that Wayne contact Seth McGee regarding getting reimbursed for damages to his mailbox.

Terry Blair, representing the WWA, came in for clarification on policy for use of the school athletic fields. The association plans to schedule a couple of softball tournaments one on June 4 which is during the school year and another during Whitefield Days on the 14th.  The policy is that the RSU has precedence for use of the fields. Steve will get contact information for John Murray at the RSU who is in charge of scheduling and get this information to Terry.
Terry asked about utilizing the water supply that is piped to the snack shack and was told there must be an acceptable method of dealing with the waste water. Terry is to contact Arthur Strout, CIO.
He also raised the issue of storing rock dust to be used to refurbish the athletic fields. Steve suggested putting it behind the recycling building near the pile of loam.

Lynn Talacko came in checking on a walk through for Tuesday. Steve and Sue are unable to make it but Frank will plan to be there. We are also meeting with Catalano Construction at 11 AM at the town office.
Lynn also mentioned that we should try to have numbers available for our meeting with the building committee on Thursday.  Gwyn provided the available numbers which are subject to change. Frank will bring this information to the Thursday meeting.

Steve placed a call to Mark Sawyer, regional supervisor for Maine DOT in response to a letter town received from him regarding inadequate snow removal on state aid roads specifically rout 218 (Mills Road). He had provided photos taken to support his contention. Town could be held liable for costs incurred if state decides to correct the problem.
There followed a discussion around issues of snow removal including a letter received from Steve McGee in response to the letter sent by the board putting the contractor on notice for substandard work. Generally board feels that the contractor is not meeting the standard set in the contract and we are considering not renewing it in April for the next plowing season. No final decision was made at this time.
Received call from Sharon Barin of Main Street Coopers Mills stating that the street was a mess and that it had not been properly cleaned of snow and now it was ice.  
Board met with the Fire and Rescue crew to reinforce that they are all town employees when they are together as a fire/rescue crew and should act accordingly. They are subject to termination if they are not following town adopted policies.

Board voted 3 – 0 to adopted Sexual Harassment Policy.
All town employees are subject to this policy. A copy of this policy is on file at the town office.

Steve McCormick              Sue McKeen              Frank Ober

March 1, 2011 @ 11 AM Meeting with Catalano Construction

Lynn Talacko
Erik Ekholm
Frank Ober
Steve McCormick
Averyl Catalano
Tom Catalano

Lien wavers were discussed but are not ready yet.
Avery submitted requisition for payment in the amount of $55,805
This leaves a balance to finish contract of $102,805

Change order #5 was submitted which reflects an increase of $660.
         Kitchen cabinets savings of $775
Increase cost for Simplex push button locks is $1435
Net increase of $660

All agreed that things seem to be on schedule with projected substantial completion by the end of the month leaving some outside work waiting for warm and dry weather: Landing outside back door and ramps into truck bays. Some landscaping may need to be done later as well.
 During the tour today we noted that the painters have started their work, over head doors are in and being connected to the electric openers, electrical connections to the main panel are underway. Still remaining is the siding for the truck bays, trim work and flooring.

Change order #6 was submitted and will be reviewed by committee and select board.

Frank Ober    Steve McCormick
Select board meeting with Building Committee March 3, 2011

Steve McCormick, selectman
Frank Ober, selectman
Lynn Talacko, architect
Erik Ekholm, chair building committee
Carol Cifrino, member
Louis Sell, member
Chief Pellerin, member

There was a general discussion around the issue of what our priorities should be with the money we have available as we are nearing the end of the money in the bank.

An accounting was done by Steve determining what we have spent and what we are obligated to pay which indicted that we have about $30,000 available.
More discussion determined a consensus that our priorities would be as follows subject to change as needed:
Furnishings ($3500)
Finish grading (topsoil) and seeding with walk from new station to the town office ($7000)
Paving of apron at front of station ($10,000)
Generator ($5000)

Steve indicated that he had a compressor that he could donate for use at the station.
Chief Pellerin indicated that we would need to spend about $1500 to set up a radio in the new location and Steve indicated that there are sufficient funds in the communication account to cover this expense.
Steve also reminded Chief Pellerin that Bill Brooks offered to provide a computer to the fire service.
We also have some funds remaining in the Green Property account. ($8,204, part of which is committed to Lynn for the early master site plan.)
Steve McCormick             

Select board meeting March 7, 2011

Minutes approved for February 28 and March 1st.

Board went into executive session to discuss a poverty abatement.
After ex. session, board voted to abate taxes up to current year for individual concerned. Tax payer to apply for Circuit breaker funding and apply those funds to current tax year obligation.

Board signed requests and worksheets for abatements, for supplemental tax forms, approved bills to be placed on next warrant and signed previously approved abatements.

Due to a couple of requests, Steve will speak to Dave Boynton about installing some new signs and replacement of some street signs that have been purchased.

Board signed warrant for the town meeting on March 19.

There was a prolonged discussion of the illegal subdivision created by River Run Estates on the Mills Road. Board asked CEO Arthur Strout to review issue and make recommendations to board.


Steve McCormick              Sue McKeen         Frank Ober

Select Board meeting March 14, 2011

Minutes approved for 3/3 board meeting with Building Committee and 3/7 regular session

Dave Boynton came in to report that he has started to try to deal with dirt roads that have gone soft and have become very difficult to travel over. So far he has worked on Benner Lane (done first to allow him to get his equipment to other work sites), Doyle Road and Rooney Lane. He is concerned with the severe conditions and there is rain coming in which will make it worse.
Dave was given some new signs that have come in that need to be placed. We have ordered a couple more to be modified, when these are ready, Dave is to get them installed.
Terry Blair of the Whitefield Athletic Association came in to discuss utilizing the school kitchen during town meeting to sell food. They had been told not to sell food in the gym area due to possible distraction during town meeting. Board discussed the issue and felt that it was important to have food available and any other location than the kitchen was not conducive to having a good selection of food available. Board voted 3 – 0 to allow the WAA to utilize the kitchen this year subject to review during the town meeting.
Bill Ackerson came to discuss concerns about utilization of the ball fields at the school. The question was: How to best utilize the two ball fields for the various organizations and their various needs as to the pitching mound. Steve is to set up a meeting with representations from the RSU, WAA and Dirigo to find a solution that will be agreeable to all parties.
Chief Pellerin, Deputy Chiefs Higgins, and Talacko of Whitefield Fire and Rescue came in to discuss two issues.
The first was a personnel issue and the board voted 3 – 0 to go into executive session. After the executive session no action was taken.
Chief  Pellerin then opened a discussion about the policy manual.
In 2007 the “Whitefield Fire Department” hired Lynn Orne to create a policy manual and a copy was purchased by each of the three fire associations and the town. We are unable to find the town’s copy of the manual in the town office.
The point was made that the policies that had been presented to the board since Chief was hired were not new policies but updates of these existing policies. Chief Pellerin was under the impression that we had the manual available. Steve will make some inquires to see if we can locate the town’s copy of this existing manual. If we are unable to locate our copy, the plan will be to copy one of the existing copies.

Nicki Mathews came in to submit her resignation as the town’s Emergency Management Director.

Jim Murphy came in to touch base with the board. Board indicted that he is to continue to work at least until after town meeting and the vote on the proposed assessing board who would, if created, assume assessing duties.

Board spent some time reviewing the warrant to be voted on at town meeting on Saturday.

Warrants and checks were signed.

Steve McCormick                       Sue McKeen       Frank Ober

Minutes for Select Board meeting on March 21, 2011

Board welcomes Denis Merrill and Tom Colpitt to our team. Tom was unable to be at our meeting due to the storm.

Motion was made to elect Steve as our chairman and board
voted 3-0-1 to elect him as chairman.

There was a brief discussion around some changes in our meetings but this was tabled to a future meeting.

An abatement was approved for land owned by Colette and Ed Mooney after reviewing maps indicating wet/swamp land.

Iva and Karen Ripley came in to clarify an issue around their mothers tax bill. Steve printed out the tax payments and provided it to them. They will be making some payments soon to avoid the property from becoming tax acquired next month.

There was a discussion around several roles that the members of the board could assume such as;
1)   Assessing issues
2)   Broad band connectivity issues
3)   Town roads (2-3 members)
4)   Emergency Management
5)   Assistant animal control
6)   Public health officer
7)   General assistance (2 members)
8)   Fire and Rescue issues
9)   Grants
10)Other issues will added as they are identified

It was agreed that we must keep a tight agenda and perhaps utilize a staff member to take notes and also to prepare a list if items that we need to deal with each meeting i.e. make a list of items in folder needing action as well as people coming to meet with the board.
         At some point in the future the board plans to utilize the meeting room at the fire station for our meetings and make some changes in the scheduling of our meetings to coordinate with the use by the Fire and Rescue Service which has training meetings on Monday evenings.

An application for a liquor license for the Lions Den in Coopers Mills was approved by vote 4 -0.

Bob Bills came in to present to the board an issue that the planning board had been dealing with. Namely a piece of land on the Mills Road that had been sub-divided some years ago without planning board approval the result being one lot with adequate road frontage, one lot that needs some legal paper work to make it legal as the road is already in place and one lot that is not in compliance i.e. is an illegal lot.  Board voted 4 – 0 giving permission to Bob to talk with Cliff Goodall, the town attorney, regarding how to proceed.

There is another issue with this same lot, the Rideouts have been running an illegal recycling (junk) yard at this location. Arthur Strout, our Code Enforcement Officer, has been there several times for this issue. Sue will get information from Arthur and take it to Cliff to begin process of shutting down this operation.

Town of Whitefield
Selectboard Meeting Minutes
May 2, 2011

Present:  Steve McCormick, Sue McKeen, Frank Ober, Tom Colpitt, and Dennis Merrill
Selectboard actions
1.  The minutes of the 4/25/11 meeting were approved, 4-0-1
2.     Minutes for future meetings.  The objective is to briefly capture the nature and policy aspects of each issue discussed as well as actions taken
3.     Posted roads.  Dennis asked about enforcement of road posting during the spring.  Jewett road was damaged by heavy vehicles and money had to be spent to make repairs.  That road was not posted this year.  In general, the police must enforce postings and incidents of inappropriate use should be reported to them.
4.     Plowing contractor.  A meeting will be set up with S. McGee for May 16 to discuss issues from this year’s plowing and sanding.  A review of the file is needed in advance.
5.     EMA director.  A person is needed to fill this vacant position.  The position is unpaid but necessary training is paid.  We will contact the Fire Department officers for suggestions.
6.     Health officer. A person is also needed to fill this vacant position.  There was no money raised for the upcoming year so a person doing this job would do so as a public service.
7.     Invoices approved for payment.  From Cliff Goodall for legal services 5-0.
8.     RSU 12 reapportionment.  A request for a selectperson and citizen to assist the RSU in reapportionment of it board pursuant to the 2010 census was reviewed.  Dennis will do this and find a citizen.  [p.s. Marianne Marple has agreed to participate.]
9.     Ownership of Enos dam.  The State has sent a letter inquiring as to the ownership of the Enos (Clary Lake) dam.  The owner of record’s name, Richard Smith, will be sent to the State Office of Emergency Preparedness. 
10.  Rideout property.  Steve reported that Arthur Strout sent a letter to the Rideouts requesting an action plan to come into compliance.  A response in due by May 13.
11.  Steve reported a resident passed away on last Friday and requests were made regarding burial on the his own property.  After investigation, Steve found that private burial lots are controlled by the State DHHS.  This is possible but there are certain restrictions.
12.  A letter introducing RJD Appraisal services was noted.
13.  Midcoast Economic Development.  The MCED is requesting two representatives be appointed to its general assembly.  Action on this was tabled.  Also, invitations for the group’s annual dinner were received.  No board member will attend.
14.  A motion to go into executive session to discuss a personnel matter was approved 5-0.  The session was held from 7:00 PM to 7:55 PM.
15.  Fire station leases.  Comments from Cliff Goodall’s review were discussed briefly; there were no major concerns or changes.  Lists of property owned by the Town and the respective associations should be attached to each lease. The lists can be amended from time to time as necessary to keep current.
16.  New fire station.  A final walk through was made and only a few minor issues such as some hardware, etc. still need attention.  Outside, grading is not yet done and it somewhat unclear when it will be completed as weather is a concern in addition to scheduling of work crews.  Absent any recent work, a scheduled requisition meeting was cancelled.  About $25,000 is being held back pending completion of the work.
Assessors’ Actions
1.     Five abatements were signed:  Steven Dumas (2), Carol Ann Dove, Bruce & Ann Young, and Morton Lumber.

Steven C. McCormick, Chair                         Susan B. McKeen
Franklin A. Ober                                            Thomas Colpitt                                  

Dennis Merrill
Town of Whitefield
Selectboard Meeting Minutes
May 9, 2011

Present:  Steve McCormick, Sue McKeen, Frank Ober, Tom Colpitt, and Dennis Merrill
Selectboard actions
1.     The minutes of the 5/2/11 meeting were approved, 5-0
2.     Four applications for concealed weapons permits were reviewed.
3.     A letter from the state DEP regarding a structure constructed too close to a waterway on the Oshima property was noted.  No action required.
4.     Scott Higgins came in to discuss a FCC license for school busses.  Some time ago, Whitefield had been the applicant for the license when Union 51 was in existence.  The busses are now owned by Jefferson.  He will prepare a letter to the FCC clarifying the ownership so Whitefield will not be charged for license renewal.
 5.     Three warrants were signed.
6.     Midcoast Economic Development.  The MCED is requesting two representatives be appointed to its general assembly.  Frank will contact Planning Board members to see if one of them will participate and find a citizen to also serve.
7.     A motion to go into executive session to discuss a personnel matter was approved 5-0.  The session was held from 7:55 PM to 9:00 PM.
8.     New fire station.  The paving is scheduled to be done on Tuesday.  Some hardware and other small issues still need to be addressed.  The grading has been done.  Steve reported he had gotten three prices for screening and spreading the loam:  Catalano Construction $10,500; Aiken Construction $7,500; and Weeks Construction $3,000.
9.     Broadband.  Time-Warner has submitted a letter of intent to file for a ConnectME grant to provide a cable on Route 218 from the pole line to about the Alna line.  The cost would be almost $70,000 to pass 23 homes, something over $3,000 per home.  Dennis has been talking with Midcoast Internet.  They may have interest in serving this and other areas of Town.  This service is wireless and could serve multiple roads with the placement of one tower.  For the south end of town areas of Alna and Dresden also have broadband needs making a multi-town project possible.
Assessors’ Actions
1.     Paul Kelly came in with concerns regarding the proper names for the tax records for the four properties for which he is the agent.  After some checking it was determined the ownership transferred in April 2010 and the next tax bills will have the new names.  Also, Paul was concerned with the value of some of the properties.  He made arrangements for Jim Murphy to visit them on May 27.  Finally, Paul noted that the dam is owned by Pleasant Pond Mill LLC, and not by Richard Smith as in the Town’s records.
2.     Assessor’s agent Jim Murphy attended the meeting to discuss several issues.
A.              Jim was given a State ratio worksheet and he will complete it for submittal.
B.              The laptop computer he uses is slow and does not function properly.  After some discussion, it was decided to look into a new desktop model.  Steve will investigate.  The old laptop will be kept so Jim could work at home.
C.              Jim noted that the work to make apartments at the former Country Farms Restaurant would, under current policy, create several improved base lots.  It was agreed that a new policy should be implemented to assess improvements (well and septic) separately and allow a single base lot for certain multi-family dwellings. 
D.              There was a discussion about priorities for implementation of the assessment committee’s recommendations.  Due to limited time and money, not all the recommendations can be done at once.  Top priority for this year will be to separate improvements from base lots, reassessment of CMP transmission line land, and reassessment of  borrow pits over five acres.  After this year’s commitment is completed, attention will be given to tiered rates for larger parcels and revision of waterfront assessment methods and rates. 
E.               Jim said he would complete the work necessary to implement this year’s changes (separating base lots and improvements, CMP and borrow pits in D above) for a sum not to exceed $4,000.  Since each property record must be individually changed, Jim thought the work would take about 160 hours.  The proposal was accepted by a vote of 4-0-1, with the work to be billed after July 1.
3.         Morton Lumber.  The company’s tree growth application indicated the parcel had some wetlands.  A reduced assessment for these will be applied for next year’s taxes.

Town of Whitefield
Select Board Meeting Minutes
May 16, 2011


Present:  Steve McCormick, Sue McKeen, Frank Ober, Tom Colpitt, and Dennis Merrill

Select Board actions

1.     The minutes of the 5/9/11 meeting were approved, 5-0

2.     Two applications for concealed weapons permits were reviewed.

3.     A letter to the FCC terminating Whitefield’s use of radio frequency WNQZ799 was signed.

4.     Personnel action.  The Board voted 5-0 to act on the appeal of a fire department personnel action.  The Board’s action upheld the demotion of Josh Mooers to firefighter and set aside his suspension from the department.

5.     Plowing and sanding contract.  Seth and Steve McGee representing McGee Construction were present to discuss concerns with the quality of plowing and sanding this past winter season.  They acknowledged performance problems, noting that they had had personnel problems and it was a hard winter.  There were 28 storm events where typically Mr. McGee would expect 15 to 18. One driver was terminated part way through the season.  A new supervisor, John Wilcox of Windsor, will be employed next year.

Steve McCormick noted that timeliness in getting plows out at the beginning of a storm was a significant problem.  Steve McGee said having drivers living some distance away (e.g. Litchfield or West Gardiner) makes it more difficult to get crews out quickly.  He has hired a Whitefield resident to replace the driver let go and other drivers will be more local.

In response to concerns with mailboxes being damaged, the McGees said any damage was unintentional and the driver who was terminated was responsible for some damage.

Steve McCormick showed pictures taken by a DOT supervisor who had told the Town that the snow banks were not pushed back far enough and in violation of DOT standards.  These pictures were taken on routes 218 and 194. 

A resident living on the Mills Road noted this is the second year of the contract and the learning curve should be over.  He also noted that efforts to move back large, drifted snow banks damaged the grass and a length of fence on his property.

Whitefield’s road commissioner related one storm where several of McGee’s trucks were parked at a local store for hours while snow piled up on the roads.  Steve McGee said he was unaware of that problem at the time and again said personnel changes have been made.  He is considering putting GPS units on the trucks so they can be tracked at all times. 

A resident living on East River Road said she encountered a stopped plow truck and was told by the driver it had run out of fuel.  She also had observed a smaller (one-ton) plow truck traveling at high speeds. 

Steve McGee said that several of the problems from last winter, many owing to personnel issues, have been addressed.  In the fall he will probably have the drivers review the routes to make sure they are coordinated and familiar with the Town’s roads. 

The Board noted that at town meeting many residents were very unhappy with the quality of the plowing and wanted changes to be made.  It has taken too long to correct problems.  Termination of the contract has to be a consideration.  Steve McGee said he values the job and wants to continue.  He understands the concerns and said they did have problems, most of which have been corrected.  His path forward includes new and more local drivers, a new supervisor, GPS units in the trucks, reviewing routes and in the fall providing the names of drivers to be used in 2011-12 and more detailed plans.

The board voted 5-0 to send McGee Construction a letter asking for written plans to rectify problems.  A response by the end of May will be requested.  This response will be evaluated along with other information to determine the Board’s next actions.

6.     Salt shed.  Dennis asked about rebuilding a storage bin for sand available to citizens.  The cost would be under $1,000.  There is no money in the budget.  Some maintenance work is needed inside the shed to reattach plywood panels.  At the same time they need to be coated with preservative to protect them.  This work will be done before more sand is brought in.

7.     Fire station landscaping.  Mark LeBelle of Weeks Construction came in with a proposal to screen and spread loam at the new fire station.  He will also remove the debris.  His proposed price was $4,000, which was accepted on a 5-0 vote.  He will begin when the weather allows (next week?) and the work should take about a week.

8.     Invoices were approved: Cousin’s Sawmill and Royal Barry Wills Assoc.

Assessors’ Actions

1.  Notice was received that a mobile home owned by Julie Vorpagel was removed from a lot on Vigue Road without a permit to do so.  There are back taxes owed in the amount of $1,283.42, including interest, etc.  A double-wide has been placed on the same lot without a notice to build.  Arthur Strout will be asked to look into this.

Town of Whitefield
Select Board Meeting Minutes
May 23, 2011
Present:  Steve McCormick, Sue McKeen, Frank Ober, Tom Colpitt, and Dennis Merrill

Select Board actions

1.     The minutes of the 5/16/11 meeting were approved, 5-0

2.     One application for concealed weapons permit was reviewed.

3.     Chris Stultz came in and when asked said he would think about the Emergency Management Director position.  Frank will put him in contact with Niki Matthews.

4.     Roads. David Boynton noted that all the rain has caused some degradation of recently graded dirt roads but they are doing okay.  David has purchased some culverts.  He would like to take a “road trip” with the Board’s roads sub committee, and they will review the needs for summer maintenance. This will be arranged for early June.  Only one culvert required replacement on Townhouse Road.  Cold patch will be placed over some others to eliminate the bumps.

5.     Two quit claim deeds were signed.

6.     The Board noted that certificates of liability insurance were received from David Boynton and David Jackson.

7.     The paperwork for the MMA property and casualty pool needs to be completed and submitted – more information is needed from the Fire Department.

8.     An invoice from Hancock Lumber for the new fire station was approved.

9.     Recycling.  Judy Dorsey representing the Kennebec Regional Recycling Committee (KRRC), provided a presentation on improving recycling for the 9 communities that use the Hatch Hill landfill.  The regional recycling rate is far below the State average and needs to be improved.  (Whitefield, as part of the Lincoln County program is doing better than the other regional communities.)  KRRC is an outgrowth of a study done couple of years ago and has prepared a draft proposal that has several elements:

  1. The list of materials to be recycled at Hatch Hill would be expanded to include mixed paper and #1 - #7 plastics. 
  2. A dual sort system would be adopted where all fiber (paper, newspaper, cardboard, etc.) would go in one container and all else (plastic, glass, cans, etc.) would go in the other.
  3. Riverside Disposal, the region’s largest private trash hauler, is setting up a recyclables processing facility that will support KRCC efforts.  This would facilitate curbside pick-up of recyclables, but is not intended to change drop-off programs like Whitefield’s.
  4. A “pay as you throw” system would be adopted where residents purchase special colored trash bags. These bags would be accepted at Hatch Hill at no charge, avoiding the $74 per ton tipping fee.  Recyclables would be free.  About 150 towns in Maine now use the pay as you throw system.
  5. Communities would adopt ordinances requiring trash haulers to be licensed and provide pick-up for recyclables .  Towns that do not adopt an ordinance would expect to pay higher fees for using Hatch Hill.
  6. These provisions would apply only to residential customers, but businesses, especially small ones, may be interested in participating.

The proposal has several advantages:
a.      For towns, they only need to adopt an ordinance and don’t have to do much else.
b.     For haulers, there would be no tipping fees (savings could be passed on to customers; tipping costs are maybe 1/3 of a hauler’s costs) and dual sorting is easy to implement.
c.      For residents, they would have more control over their waste costs and it would be easy to recycle with curbside pickup.  It would be easier to compare cost between haulers. 
d.     For the region, more recycling would extend the life of Hatch Hill (now 10-14 years) and defer the major expense of creating more landfill space.  The consolidation of recycling would create a bigger volume that may command a better price for sale of materials.

A town’s participation would be voluntary.  However, the cost for using Hatch Hill would probably be higher through higher per capita fees to towns and/or higher tipping fees.  Participation would result in a lower per capita fee, although the amount and exact mechanism for this is not yet determined.  (Currently, Whitefield’s per capita fee is $15 per person per year.  This is raised from taxes for a total of $34,095.)  Tipping fees would be eliminated for trash in pre-purchased bags.  Tipping fees for other wastes such as building debris, yard wastes and white goods would still apply.

Judy would like to receive comments or feedback on the proposal.

Assessors’ Actions

1.  The Board voted 5-0 to adopt a policy describing how base lots and improvements will be assessed.  Each parcel will have one base lot with each well and septic system being assessed separately.  Remote lots would have a base lot valued at half the normal rate and isolated lots would have no base lot.
Town of Whitefield
Select Board Meeting Minutes
June 6, 2011
Present:  Steve McCormick, Sue McKeen, Frank Ober, Tom Colpitt, and Dennis Merrill

Select Board actions

1.     The minutes of the 5/23/11 meeting were approved, 5-0

2.     Two applications for concealed weapons permit were reviewed.

3.     Warrants were signed.

4.     Roads. David Boynton, Tom and Frank completed a review of town roads on last Friday.  David fully agreed with Frank’s notes from the trip.  Senott and Cookson Roads appear to be in the worst need for paving.  David will seek quotes from Marriner, Crooker and Pike.  Also, prices will be obtained for paving the road between the town office and the salt shed.  The prices we get and the available money will govern how much can be paved.

5.     Roadside mowing.  The board voted 4-0-1 to allow Tom Colpitt to mow roadsides at the discretion of the Road Commissioner. 

6.     Plowing.  A letter from McGee Construction regarding the issues encountered with plowing last winter.  McGee assured the Town that the performance will be better next winter.  Sue will draft a reply concurring that a meeting in the fall to review needs and procedures should be held.  The letter will also reiterate the points of concern that must be addressed.

7.     Fire Department.  Chief Pellerin updated the Board on recent activities.  The Department provided assistance to Jefferson recently and performed very well, with a full crew for engine 2, even in mid-day.  The EMS staff has been busy.   Engine 3 has passed its regular pump test.  With the exception of the forestry truck that is having brake repairs, all equipment is in service.  Leases for the Kings Mills and Coopers Mills stations are being reviewed.  Trucks and other equipment have been moved into the new station.  Clean-up of the N. Whitefield station is on-going.  The Chief gave the Board draft copies policies for community use of the new station and purchasing procedures.  The latter may serve as a model for a town-wide purchasing policy, and is very similar to the Lincoln County policy.

8.     The Board voted 5-0 to go into executive session to discuss personnel matter with representatives of the Fire Department.  No action was required.

9.     New fire station.  The building is complete.  The Board signed a certificate of substantial completion.  A final inspection will be conducted on June 14 at 7 PM.  About $7,600 in undedicated funds remains in the construction account.  The Fire Department identified a generator as the highest need so the building could be used as an emergency shelter.  A bill for $18,375 was received from Crooker for paving the driveway.  There is still a low spot in the pavement that needs to be corrected.  Accordingly, the Board voted 5-0 to pay $10,000 and hold the balance until the repairs are made.  The loam will be screened and distributed this week; Sue will coordinate a work party to seed the area.

10.  EMA Director.  Chris Stultz is not interested in the position.  The search continues…..

11.  Board salaries.  The Board voted 4-1 to set the member’s salaries for FY12 at $2,700 for each regular member and $3,200 for the chairman.

12.  Will Turner Cemetery Trust.  The bank sent a letter regarding use of funds in the account.  We will notify them all the money will be used for continuing upkeep of the cemetery.

13.  CEI property on Howe Road.  The office has received inquiries about discharging of a mortgage held by the Town on this property, dating back to the 1980’s.  There is a proposal to sell the land but this issue needs to be cleared first.  The mortgage loan was some sort of a development incentive, similar to a present day TIF.  More research will be needed.

14.  Broadband.  A map showing the cable coverage in Town has been received from Time-Warner.  Frank and Dennis spent some time checking coverage of DSL in the northern part of town as well.  A more complete map will be compiled.

15.  Recycling center.  Jeff Newell came in with pictures of a pile of trash left sometime between Saturday noon and Monday evening.  Dennis will investigate and clean up the mess.


Assessors’ Actions

1.     The Board vote 5-0 to adopt a revised policy describing how base lots and improvements will be assessed. 

2.     Vorpagel mobile home.  Gwyn will be asked to check with MMA on the Town’s options for resolving the removal of this tax-acquired mobile home from Town. 

3.     Assessing updates.  After some discussion, about priorities, Jim Murphy will be asked to work up current market prices for utility right of ways and larger borrow pits with the intent of implementing these this year along with the base lot and improvements policy.. 

Pending projects:  EMA Director search, Broadband access, Paving estimates, Assessing updates, New fire Station landscaping, Purchasing policy and Community use of the fire station policy.


Town of Whitefield
Select Board Meeting Minutes
June 13, 2011


Present:  Steve McCormick, Sue McKeen, Tom Colpitt, and Dennis Merrill

Select Board actions

1.     The minutes of the 6/6/11 meeting were approved, 4-0

2.     Roads. David Boynton was present and said he will check with Dig Safe to clarify when their review may be needed for roadwork.  He has met with three paving contractors and awaiting prices for Cookson Lane and Senott Road.  The State has two moldboards that could be used on our grader – he and David Jackson will go to the upcoming auction and see if the moldboards can be bought for a good price.  The State DOT has published a list of critical bridges – none are in Whitefield.

3.     A citizen complaint was received about parking adjacent to the cemetery in Coopers Mills.  Dennis will contact the Health Center to ask that staff refrain from parking along the road, as this is somewhat of a dangerous location.

4.     Will Turner cemetery trust. A letter was sent to the Bank of Maine stating we do need all monies in the trust fund for maintenance of the cemetery in Coopers Mills.

5.     Fire station. The Board, along with Lynn Talacko, made a brief tour of the new fire station, focusing on erosion caused by water running off the roof.  It was decided, 4-0, to place stone at the drip line about two feet out and one foot deep.  Steve will contact David Jackson and David Boynton regarding this work.  It was estimated the cost should be under $1,000.  Most of the loam has been screened and June 25 is possible date for seeding and mulching.

6.     Purchasing policy. Copies of purchasing policies from other towns were distributed for consideration.  Board members will review them for a discussion at a future meeting.

7.     Recycling center.  A letter was sent to the individual believed to be responsible for leaving trash at the recycling center. 

8.     FCC radio license.  Notice has been received that the FCC has transferred the license from the Town to the school.

9.     Solid waste.  A short letter will be sent to the Windsor select board asking for a meeting to informally discuss possible joint solid waste disposal.

Assessors’ Actions

1.     CMP land.  Assessor’s agent Jim Murphy left a note showing the recalculated value of CMP’s land used for transmission lines, based on two recent sales in Town.  The proposed new value is about ten times the current rate.  Steve will check with the Maine Revenue Service to verify the proposed approach.

2.     RSU administrative office.  A citizen came in with concerns about the vote on June 14 for the RSU to purchase the Augusta Road office building it is now leasing.  If the purchase were to go through, the building would be removed from the tax rolls, and revenue would be lost to the Town.  He suggested that in that event the Union be sent a bill for the lost money.  We will explore the law in this area.

3.   Vorpagel mobile home.  A letter was sent to McGee Construction, owner of the land from which the Vorpagel mobile home was removed without proper permits.  The letter requested the firm’s involvement and payment of the taxes owed. 


Town of Whitefield
Select Board Meeting Minutes
June 20, 2011
Present:  Steve McCormick, Sue McKeen, Tom Colpitt, Frank Ober and Dennis Merrill
 Select Board actions
 1.     The minutes of the 6/13/11 meeting were approved, 4-0-1
2.     Roads. David Boynton reported that paving Senott Road is likely the top priority.  There are some culverts to be replaced and some ditching to be done in advance of paving.  Two paving bids are in hand and a third is expected; when they are all in they will be opened.  Heavy rains have caused some wash-outs needing repair, but nothing too serious.
3.     Two warrants were signed.
4.     One concealed weapons permit application was reviewed.
5.     Fire station. The loam is being spread and seeding and mulching can be done on Saturday.  Stone has been placed around the building and looks good.
6.     Purchasing policy. A draft policy was reviewed and edited.  Changes will be made and the section on bidding will be expanded.  There will be further discussion at the next meeting, and the Fire Department and Road Commissioner should participate.
7.     Recycling center.  A letter was sent to the individual believed to be responsible for leaving trash at the recycling center. 
8.     N. Hunts Meadow Road Cemetery.  There is a large tree in the cemetery that is rotten and needs to be taken down.  Three quotes will be obtained.
9.     Plowing contract.  A letter was sent to McGee Construction regarding expectations for next year’s plowing and sanding.  A meeting is requested for the fall to review plans for equipment, activities, priorities and supervision.
Assessors’ Actions
1.         An invoice from Jim Murphy was discussed and it was decided that clarification is needed with more details on how much time is spent on specific projects and activities.
2.               There was a brief executive session to discuss a request for a poverty abatement.  No action was taken.
Town of Whitefield
Select Board Meeting Minutes
June 27, 2011

Present:  Steve McCormick, Sue McKeen, Tom Colpitt, Frank Ober and Dennis Merrill

Select Board actions

1.     The minutes of the 6/20/11 meeting were approved 5-0.

2.     Warrants were signed.

3.     Coopers Mills Fire Association lease.  Tim Yorks and others from the Association came in to discuss four concerns with the draft lease for their station and equipment.  1) A second parcel of land will be removed from the lease.  2) As one draft reads, the Town could veto a proposed new building.  That is not the Town’s intent and the decision on a new building needs to be a collaborative effort.  3) The language regarding the Town’s obligations to repair or replace damaged premises or equipment needs to be revised.  4) Since the lease will not be finalized by July 1, there is concern that the insurance coverages not lapse.  The Board issued a letter providing assurance the coverages will continue.

4.     County Hazard Mitigation Plan.  Tim Pellerin presented an updated plan making technical changes as required by FEMA to remain current.  The plan needs to be endorsed by all towns in the county, and has already received preliminary approval from FEMA.  With an approved plan in place, FEMA will address any damage to roads due to natural disasters.  The Board voted 5-0 to endorse the plan.

5.     Fire Department concerns.  The Chief and Deputy Chiefs expressed serious concerns of the department regarding a recent Lincoln County News article about the proposed purchasing policy and the Board’s use of the new station for its meetings.  (These are discussed below.)  The article caused considerable dissatisfaction with firefighters.  It was pointed out they should not react to news articles but instead check directly with the Board. 

6.     Purchasing policy.  The Fire Department representatives and Road Commissioner discussed the proposed purchasing policy. The primary concern was the cutoff of $500 for requiring requisitions.  This was seen as too low and micro-managing established budgets.  Many routine purchases now exceed $500.  Departments should be able to manage their own line items.  The Board pointed out there needs to be review of proposed expenditures to ensure there are funds in the account to cover the amount.  After discussion the Board agreed to increase the amount to $2500.

7.     Select Board meetings.  The Fire Department was upset that the Board appeared to be planning to meet in the new station on Mondays and require the Department to move its meetings to another day as suggested in the newspaper.  What had been omitted was that the Board wanted to discuss the concept.  The Board’s initial concern was that changing the evening office hours from Monday would be confusing to the public.  The Department noted that some members have arranged their work schedules to attend training on Mondays.  With good planning the Board felt it could meet on Tuesdays without changing the Monday evening public office hours.  There was also some concern that parking not interfere with emergency operations.  Parking needs to be reserved for responders and the bay doors cannot be blocked.

8.     N. Hunts Meadow Road Cemetery.  Two quotes were received for removal of a large, rotten tree.  Another person notified did not submit a quote.  Out on a Limb Tree offered a price of $300 and David Spicer offered a price of $275.  Given that the proposed work was essentially the same, the Board voted 5-0 to award the work to David Spicer.

9.     Fire station landscaping.  The Board received a bill from Weeks Construction for a laborer to assist in spreading stone around the building.  This is in addition to another charge from Weeks plus one from David Boynton who collaborated on the work.  The labor’s rate of $40 per hour seems too high.  No action was taken pending a discussion with David Boynton.

10.  The Board voted to go into a brief executive session to discuss a personnel matter with the Fire Chief.  No action was required.

Assessors’ Actions

1.         Avery Dunn came in to ask about what would be required to change her multi family property into a single family.  The definition of “dwelling” is unclear. Basically, the kitchen would have to be removed.  Due to the Board’s recent policy on how base lots will be assessed, one of the two on the properties will be removed.  Jim Murphy needs to be consulted and a list made of Ms. Dunn’s options.


Town of Whitefield
Select Board Meeting Minutes
July 11, 2011

Present:  Steve McCormick, Tom Colpitt, Frank Ober and Dennis Merrill

Select Board actions

1.     The minutes of the 6/27/11 meeting were approved 4-0.

2.     Warrants were signed.

3.     Road work.  Lynn Glidden came in to discuss work she proposes to do on the drive to Tom Wellman’s property in Kings Mills.  This is an unmaintained town way that is in need of improvements to correct potholes, etc.  She proposes to add gravel and grade the roadway.  The Board agreed that the Town could contribute one load of gravel to the project.  David Boynton will be contacted to coordinate and for his concurrence on the work to be done.

4.     Fire station construction.  Lynn Talacko presented the final paperwork to close out the construction project, and these were signed.  Catalano Construction is released from the contract and the new station is officially complete!

5.     Fire station generator.  Lynn Talacko provided two quotes for an emergency generator at the fire station:  Achorn Electric $7150 and Jim Brann $6100.  The specifications for each proposal were essentially the same.  While the final accounting for the construction project is not yet complete, there will not be enough left for the generator and fund raising may be needed. 

6.     Purchasing policy.  The draft policy was reviewed.  Fire Chief Pellerin participated in the discussion, which centered on the threshold for a purchase requisition to be required.  The previous draft set this at $2500, but through discussions the Board voted 4-0 to adopt the policy with a value of $1500. 

7.     Select Board meetings.  The Board decided to shift its meetings to Tuesday evenings and to meet in the new fire station.  This will provide more space for public participation.  These changes will be effective on September 6.  Gwyn will prepare some notices to distribute. 

8.     Animal shelter.  The Board reviewed and signed a contract with Lincoln County Animal Shelter for the next year.  The contract amount is $1759.

9.     Property base.  A request for information regarding the Town’s property base and values was received from Lincoln County; this was forwarded to Jim Murphy.

10.  General assistance.  A form for GA reimbursement from DHHS was reviewed and signed.

11.  RSU budget.  A notification was received from RSU 12 stating the town’s obligation for the next year.  Whitefield’s share of the budget is $1,921,602.17 or $158,659.50 per month.

12.  New auto sales company.  The Secretary of State’s office requested certification of local requirements for Match Motors on Augusta Road.  Whitefield has no local requirements.

13.  Paving bids.  Three bids for paving of Senott and Cookson Roads were opened. 


Senott Rd


1465 tons



Cookson Lane


750 tons



Senott Rd


1200 tons



Cookson Lane


18’ x 500’



Senott Rd


1400 tons



Cookson Lane


18’ x 500’


For Senott Road, all of the bids exceed the amount of money that was appropriated in Town Meeting.  Some money is carried forward from last year. The specifications and amounts of pavement vary some between the companies.  David Boynton will have to be consulted before any action is taken. 

14.  Janice Bradford has resigned from the Town Office staff.  A person is interested in the 16 hours per week position and will be interviewed on July 15.  Frank and Dennis will assist.

15.  Fuel purchases.  We will investigate pre-buys of propane and fuel oil for the Town Office and the Fire Station.  Frank will call several firms to get prices.

16.  General correspondence.  Several pieces of correspondence were reviewed.  These were informational only or did not require any action.

Assessors’ Actions

Town of Whitefield
Select Board Meeting Minutes
July 18, 2011

Present:  Steve McCormick, Tom Colpitt, Frank Ober, Sue Mckeen and Dennis Merrill

Select Board actions

1.     The minutes of the 7/11/11 meeting were approved 4-0.

2.     Warrants were signed.

3.     One application for a concealed weapons permit was reviewed.

4.     Road paving.  The bids for paving Cookson Ln and Senott Rd were reviewed with David Boynton.  See minutes of 7/11 for details. There is only about $60,000 available, not enough to do all the work in the bids.  On a cost per ton basis Marriner’s has proposed the best price, although any work to be done will be specified on a distance of road at 1.5” deep basis.  About 500’ of Cookson Ln should get the highest priority followed by as much of Senott Rd as can be done.  David will discuss this approach with Marriner’s.

5.     Road maintenance.  The Board discussed the request of George King on Townhouse Rd to address erosion of his driveway.  This situation has existed for many years.  The most effective solution would be to ditch along the road and install a culvert.  This would disturb Mr. King’s lawn and he would have to purchase the culvert at a cost of many hundreds of dollars.  There is no money in this year’s road budget for this relatively significant project.  Mr. King will be contacted and if he is interested in paying for the culvert, this project could be considered for next year’s budget.

6.     Fire station.  After reviewing the remaining funds available, there is enough in the “Green property” account to pay for a generator.  Jim Brann’s bid for $6,100 will be accepted.  Also, the tables and chairs still need to be purchased.  Dennis can put the purchase on his credit card if necessary, since the Town does not have a charge card for Sam’s Club.  Finally, telephones will be purchased for the station.

7.     Whitefield day.  Chief Pellerin and Dep. Chief Higgins came in to discuss an open house at the new fire station as part of Whitefield Day, August 13.  The station will be open 11 AM to 3 PM, and other groups with an interest in public safety can set up displays if they wish.  Dedication of the station will be at a later date.

8.     Code enforcement.  Arthur Strout reported on a structure built very close to the water at Weary Pond and in apparent violation of shore land zoning.  The 16’ x 16’ building is newly constructed and owned by an out of state couple.  A notice to build was reviewed by the Planning Board and Arthur was asked to sign the permission.  The notice did not include a drawing showing the proposed location of the structure, but did acknowledge the property was within the shore land zone.

9.     Rideout property.  Arthur Strout reported no significant changes regarding the Rideout property on Mills Road.  The matter will be referred to the Town's attorney.

10.  DOT Urban / Rural initiative Program.  The Board received a letter regarding this.  Steve and Dennis will research the information requested by DOT.  This supports grants made by DOT to the Town for road work.

11.  Smart meter program.  An update on installation of new electric meters was received from CMP.  No action required.

12.  Class action suit.  A notice regarding a class action suit against Morgan Stanley for derivative trading was received.  The Town has not invested in these instruments.

13.  Fuel pre-buys.  Frank reported the prices he found for pre buying propane and fuel oil:



Fuel Oil

Augusta Fuel

$2.369 / gal

$3.589 / gal

Dead River






The Board voted 4-0-1 to contract with Fielding’s for next season’s fuel.  This will be for the fire station and the town office.

14.  Vice Chair.  The Board voted 4-0-1 to elect Frank Ober as Vice Chair.

Assessors’ Actions

1.               One abatement was approved.

2.               Dennis will contact MMA for advice on next steps regarding the Vorpagel mobile home that was removed from its lot on Vigue Road.
Town of Whitefield
Select Board Meeting Minutes
July 25, 2011

Present:  Steve McCormick, Tom Colpitt, Frank Ober, Sue McKeen and Dennis Merrill

Select Board actions

1.     The minutes of the 7/18/11 meeting were approved 5-0.

2.     Kings Mills Fire Assoc. lease.  Jeff Newell came in to sign the lease agreement with the Kings Mills Association.  Since the equipment lists (provided by Chief Pellerin) were newly added, Jeff wanted to review these with the members of the association.  He will return on August 8.

3.     Weary Pond shoreland zoning.  Dennis reported on the Planning Board meeting of 7/20 at which the construction of a structure too close to the water was discussed.  The notice of intent to build was incomplete as no plot plan or set backs were provided.  However, the notice was accepted anyway, and the property owner proceeded with construction.  The Planning Board intends to refer the matter to the Select Board for an investigation.  Errors appear to have been made, but more information is needed and the Board will await this and the formal request from the Planning Board.

4.     Fire station.  The Board voted 5-0 to release the Catalano’s final bond for construction of the fire station as all work has been completed.  The bond release form for $461,305 was signed.  The phones for the station have been ordered.  The Board voted 5-0 to purchase 10 tables and 50 chairs for the station.

5.     Fuel pre-buy.  The Board voted 5-0 to pre-buy 300 gallons of fuel oil for the Town Office at a price of $3.549 from Fielding’s Oil, the lowest quoted price.

6.     Coopers Mills Assoc. lease.  The Board reviewed the proposed lease with the Coopers Mills association, giving attention to how damage to buildings and equipment would be addressed.  There were no particular concerns with the proposed language.  Steve will contact Tim Yorks about one minor omission.

7.     Meeting with Windsor select board.  The Board agreed to a meeting with the Town of Windsor officials to have a general, preliminary discussion about using their transfer station.  This will be on Aug 16, and Dennis will arrange the time.

8.     Office assistant.  A total of nine applications were received for the open position. In executive session, and after reviewing the applications, the Board selected those to be interviewed.  Frank and Dennis, along with Gwyn, will conduct the interviews on 7/29.

Assessors’ Actions

1.               Payment of assessor’s agent.  An invoice from Jim Murphy was received for work done to update tax records to make changes to implement the recently-adopted base lot policy.  The estimate for this work had been less than $4000, but the actual bill was $1720.

2.               Updated land values.  The Board considered new land values for borrow (gravel) pits and utility rights of way.  Jim Murphy had conducted market research into these two categories.  Two recent sales of land in Whitefield to Central Maine Power averaged $6000 per acre and this value is considered to be representative of the current market value for land used for utility transmission.  For borrow pits, Jim had provided sales data (price and acreage) for 13 pits in central Maine sold in the past 4-5 years.  In looking at these data in several ways, the Board determined an average fair market value to be $7500 per acre.  This will apply to those pits 5 acres and over. 

The board voted 5-0 to adopt both of these for use.  In applying these full market value prices, they would be reduced by a percentage equal to the percentage of other current land values in Town in comparison to full valuation.  The percent of full value is thought to be in the range of 60%, but this will need to be verified by Jim Murphy.


Town of Whitefield
Select Board Meeting Minutes
August 8, 2011
Present: Tom Colpitt, Frank Ober, Sue McKeen and Dennis Merrill

Select Board actions

1.     The minutes of the 8/1/11 meeting were approved 4-0.

2.     Kings Mills lease.   Jeff Newell came in and signed the fire station lease on behalf of the Kings Mills Association.  The Board also signed the lease.

3.     Weary Pond shoreland zoning.  Bob Bills and Arthur Strout came in and provided the Board with additional information on the structure built too close to the shore.  This included minutes of the August 2010 Planning Board meeting and the notice to build form.  After some discussion, the Board voted 4-0 to seek guidance from the Town’s attorney.  Dennis and Bob Bills will schedule a meeting with Cliff Goodall. 

4.     Office assistant.  Letters to applicants not selected for the position were signed by the Board members who conducted the interviews.

5.     Fire station fuel bill.  A statement from Augusta Fuel Co. for propane delivered in May was received.  Lynn Talacko was contacted and he said the bill was the Town’s responsibility (and not the contractor’s) and should be paid.

6.     Recycling attendant.  The Board voted 4-0 to hire Barbara Wilson as a fill-in attendant at the Recycling Center.  The rate will be $8.50 per hour.

Assessors’ Actions

1.               In executive session, the Board considered an abatement request based on inability to pay.  Rather than pursuing an abatement, the person should apply for the State Circuit Breaker program.

2.         Vorpagel property.  The letter to MeGee Co. regarding the mobile home removed from its land has yet to be drafted.


Town of Whitefield
Select Board Meeting Minutes
August 28, 2011
Present: Tom Colpitt, Frank Ober, Sue Mckeen (in part), and Dennis Merrill

Select Board actions

1.     The minutes of the 8/22/11 meeting were approved 3-0.

2.     Hurricane Irene.  David Boynton and Scott Higgins both came in to report on damage done by the storm.  The problems caused were mostly with downed trees and wires.  Some roads are still blocked awaiting CMP to clear the power lines.  The Fire Department had 24 storm-related calls.  David said there were no significant water problems with the roads.  Both reported management of the situation went well.  Thanks to all involved.

3.     Fire station generator.  The generator will not supply the water supply since water comes from the Town Office well.  A wire will have to run from the fire station to the well.  This will be investigated and addressed.

4.     Warrants were signed.

Assessors’ Actions

Tax commitment.  After discussion on expenses and income, the 2011 tax commitment papers were signed.


Town of Whitefield
Select Board Meeting Minutes
Sept. 9, 2011

Present: Tom Colpitt, Frank Ober, Sue Mckeen, Steve McCormick and Dennis Merrill

Select Board actions

1.     The minutes of the 8/29/11 meeting were approved 4-0-1.

2.     Roads.  David Boynton reported there has not been any recent activity but he plans to begin resurfacing gravel roads tomorrow, weather permitting.

3.     Salt shed.  Steve noted a work order has been given for repair of the overhead door.  David Boynton said he is concerned with the air vent louvers as pigeons are getting in and causing a mess.  The vent fans are essential in winter to exhaust diesel fumes.  New louvers would cost $400 - $500 each so cost is an issue.  Possibly we could cover the vent with screening of some sort.  No final decision.

4.     Fire Department.  Tim Pellerin, Scott Higgins, and Lynn Talacko were in attendance.  They are working out some issues for bills in the transition to a municipal department.  Tim has spoken with Gwyn to facilitate town payments.  Arrangements have been made for fuel-only accounts at local stores.  A complaint about unsafe practices within the department has been filed with the State Department of Labor.  Tim noted that Scott did an excellent job coordinating town responses during hurricane Irene.  Steve will check with Tim Yorks regarding the lease at Coopers Mills.  Finally, we will need to put out a request for bids for plowing of the three stations this winter.

5.     Fire station.  Tim Pellerin went to Tru-Value and got soap and paper towel dispensers for the station, along with a supply of paper products.  He feels this arrangement will result in savings going forward.  Tim presented an outline of the building dedication program set for October 16.  Since we have contracted to buy propane from Fielding’s, Augusta Fuel Co. wants its propane tank back.  The two companies cannot make arrangements between themselves.  The fuel currently in the tank was sold by AFC.  We will get a letter from AFC detailing their request.  The Board discussed powering the town office well from the fire station generator so water will be available at the station during power failures.  This will entail running a buried wire from the station to the well, electrical hook-ups and pressure switch changes.  The field behind the station needs to be bush hogged, and the lawn mowed, except for the slopes.  Dennis will remove the silt fence in the field.

6.     County budget.  There will be a caucus on September 22 to select representatives from town select boards to sit on the county budget committee.

7.     Invoices.  The Board approved an invoice from the Whitefield Food Bank.

8.     Executive session.  The Board voted 5-0 to go into executive session to discuss a personnel matter.

Assessors’ Actions

1.  Tax bills.  The tax bills are ready to be sent out.  The Board discussed a letter to be sent along with the bills.  While there is some concern that the letter might cause more questions, it was decided to send it.

2.     Land values.  To follow up on the citizen’s advisory committee recommendations, we will need to begin planning soon as it would take some time to implement changes.  A time line will be proposed.

3.     Poverty abatements.  Two were discussed.  More generally, persons having problems paying their taxes should look into programs that may be able to help, especially the circuit breaker program. 


Town of Whitefield
Select Board Meeting Minutes
Sept. 13, 2011
Present: Tom Colpitt, Frank Ober, Sue Mckeen, Steve McCormick and Dennis Merrill

Select Board actions

1.     The minutes of the 9/6/11 meeting were approved 5-0, with one change: the fire dedication is Oct 15, not 16.

2.     Roads.  David Boynton reported the paving of Cookson Lane and Senott Road is complete.  He is pleased with the results.  He is working on surfacing gravel roads, and will tally up the costs for the work thus far to ensure he stays within budget.  Salt (4 trucks loads) and sand will be put up soon.

3.     Salt shed.  The overhead door has been repaired.  We still need to repair the vents.

4.     Two warrants were signed.

5.     DOT project.  The Board noted a letter from DOT proposing work on Rt. 17.

6.     Personnel matters.  Sue checked into the proper manner in which to handle personnel issues.  The Town is bound to follow due process in addressing any issues and is not an “at will” employer like private entities.

7.     NOAA survey.  The Board noted a letter from NOAA about a survey NOAA it will be conducting to get information about Atlantic salmon passage at dams on the Sheepscot River.

8.     N. Whitefield fire station.  The old station is being cleaned out, with Frank doing most of the work.  There is some remaining stuff that may have some value.  We will contact the Coopers Mills and Kings Mills fire associations to see if they are interested for their auctions.

9.     Liability insurance.  Updated certificates of insurance are needed from contractors working for the Town.  Among them are David Boynton, Lloyd Brown and Roger Downs.

10.  MMA questionnaire.  The Board received a questionnaire from MMA about tax information pursuant to “LD 1”. 

11.  RSU budget.  Dennis spoke with the RSU 12 Superintendent about their budget.  Since the RSU was formed, there has been a drop in State funding of about $3 million.  This means higher property taxes to fill the void.  The Superintendent offered to come to a Board meeting with their budget committee to explain the RSU finances.  The Board expressed interest, so this will be arranged.  The public will be encouraged to attend.

12.  Weary Pond shoreland zoning.  The Board reviewed and approved a draft notice of violation for a structure built too close to the pond and in violation of the State ordinance.  The notice will be sent to the landowner and contractor under the CEO’s signature.

13.  Plowing.  Bids for plowing at the three fire stations were discussed.  Interested parties will be able to bid on one or all three locations.  In general, snow should be removed for all storms over 1”, and large storms will need clearing every 6” that falls, with clean up after all storms.  A public notice will be put in the Lincoln County News next week and notices will also be placed around town.  We will hold a mandatory pre-bid meeting on Sep 28. 
Assessors’ Actions
1.  Tax bills.  The tax bills have been sent out.  Two taxpayers came in with concerns.  The first felt the bill for his 52 acre parcel was far too high for the services he receives.   Taxes have gone up significantly in recent years.  The letter enclosed with the tax bills explains some of the reasons for this.  The Board suggested that he look into State exemption programs such as tree growth and farm and open space.  The other person did not feel a lot owned by a family member was buildable due to its relatively small size (2 acres) and proximity to a brook.  We will have the CEO visit the lot to see if a septic and well could be installed.  If not an abatement may be in order.

2.  Vorpagel property.  No response has been received from McGee Company regarding the disappearance of a mobile home from a parcel on Vigue Road.  Steve will call Mr. McGee.  If the response is not satisfactory, we will draft a letter to Ms. Vorpagel asking for more information or clarification.

Town of Whitefield
Select Board Meeting Minutes
Sept. 20, 2011

Present: Tom Colpitt, Frank Ober, Sue Mckeen, Steve McCormick and Dennis Merrill
Select Board actions
1.     The minutes of the 9/13/11 meeting were approved 5-0.
2.     Roads.  David Boynton reported he plans to finish resurfacing of gravel roads this week.  He said Windsor uses pre-release inmates to do roadside brush clearing.  David will check with the sheriff and the state pre-release program to see if Whitefield can use this type of labor.  He will review the budget to see how much brush clearing can be done this fall. 
3.     The advertisement for bid snow plowing the fire stations will be in the Lincoln county News on 9/21.  There will be a pre-bid meeting on 9/28 at 6:00 PM and the bids will be opened on 10/7. 
4.     The acoustics in the fire station meeting room are terrible.  The Board voted 4-0-1 to reimburse Sue and Karen Mitman for curtains and rods for the windows (about $120).  These should help; sound- deadening panels on the ceiling may be needed, too.
5.     Fire department.  Tim Pellerin reported that the department has completed two grant applications.  One is for a new “foam” truck at Coopers Mills, about $210,000.  The other, about $187,000, is for truck exhaust vents, an air compressor, turnout gear and air packs.  Word on these grants could come over the next year.
6.     N. Whitefield fire station.  Frank is working with Tim Chase to finish up the clean-up of the old North Whitefield station.  .
7.     Fuel oil contract.  The Board voted 5-0 to accept a contract with Fielding’s for fuel oil at the Kings Mills fire station.  This is for 500 gallons, $1,744.50.
8.     The Board approved payment of the invoice from Marriner’s for paving of Cookson Lane and Senott Road.  The total amount was $59,668.20.
9.     Town office repairs.  We will ask Erik Ekholm for an invoice for the work he has done to date on the town office (new windows, etc.) so we can keep current with him
10.  Weary Pond shoreland zoning.  The notice of violation has been sent and lawyers for the parties have been into the office asking to look at the files.  Some of these need to be obtained from Arthur Strout.  Going forward the original records should be kept in the office.
11.    Fire station landscaping.  Some maple and other trees have been ordered.  These will be planted on Oct. 8.  David Spicer is providing expertise and assistance with the layout of the plantings.  The Board authorized Sue to coordinate the landscaping and make the necessary decisions.
12.  Fire station dedication.  This will be on Oct. 15 at noon.  Lynn Talacko will provide Sue with the names of the building committee members for one of the plaques.  She will get the plaques made.

Assessors’ Actions

1.     Tax bills.  One taxpayer came in to discuss his bill.  He has two contiguous parcels for which two base lots were assessed.  We will investigate and make appropriate adjustments.  He also questioned the assessment for his house and showed the Board an appraisal by a private real estate agent.  This should be submitted as a formal request for abatement.

2.     Vorpagel property.  No response has been received from McGee Company regarding the disappearance of a mobile home from a parcel on Vigue Road.  Dennis will send a letter to Ms. Vorpagel asking for more information or clarification.

3.     Land values.  The Board discussed implementation of the Tax Committee’s report of last winter.  Because there are several steps necessary, we will begin the process of reviewing the reports, deciding what recommendation to implement, collecting sales data and getting public comments.  We need a timeline for doing this.

Town of Whitefield
Select Board Meeting Minutes
Sept. 27, 2011

Present: Tom Colpitt, Sue McKeen, Steve McCormick and Dennis Merrill

Select Board actions

1.     The minutes of the 9/20/11 meeting were approved 4-0.

2.     Roads.  David Boynton reported resurfacing of gravel roads has been completed. This work ran about $3600 over budget.  He is still awaiting delivery of salt and sand.  The cost of salt is down about $2 per ton this year. 

3.     A resident of Townhouse Road came in with a concern about a plugged culvert.  It was agreed the Road Commissioner and a Selectman would inspect.  Later the resident returned to say he checked and found the culvert to be open after all.

4.     Lynn Talacko reported that 2’ x 4’ acoustic panels cost about $150 for four.  He will propose an arrangement for the meeting room ceiling.

5.     Three warrants were signed.

6.     The Board voted to reimburse Sue and Karen Mitman for curtains and rods installed in the meeting room.

7.     The lease for the Coopers Mills fire station was signed, with the Coopers Mills association being represented by its President Norman Best.

8.     The Board approved an application by the Coopers Mills Volunteer Fire Department for a turkey bingo license.

9.     ACO cell phone.  Charges include texting and internet use, which are in addition to the basic contact services.  We will check into this.

10.  Weary Pond shoreland zoning.  A letter was received from an attorney representing the landowner.  This will be forward to the Town’s attorney for review and recommendations.

11.  Meeting with RSU 12 representatives.  This meeting will be on Oct 18 at 6:30.  The primary intent is to learn about the RSU’s finances.  We will develop a list of questions to be given to the RSU in advance of the meeting.  It is hoped that citizens will submit questions as well. 

Assessors’ Actions
1.     Abatements.  Adjustments will be made for Avery Dunn to reflect the number of wells and septic systems on her parcel.  The Board voted 4-0 to grant an abatement to Ed Miville for a mobile home no longer on the property - $1442 reduced valuation.  Two other requests for abatements were denied since conservation easements being claimed have not been given to the Town.  The landowner can submit these for consideration next year.

2.     The Board received a report of a tax acquired mobile home that had been removed from its lot on Vigue Road.  Dennis will investigate.

Town of Whitefield
Select Board Meeting Minutes
October 4, 2011

Present: Tom Colpitt, Sue Mckeen, Steve McCormick, Frank Ober and Dennis Merrill

Select Board actions

1.     The minutes of the 9/27/11 meeting were approved 4-0-1.
2.     Roads.  David Boynton reported that a couple of roads were flooded during the recent rain storms.  Salt for winter roads has not yet been delivered.   A tour of town roads with plow contractor Steve McGee needs to be scheduled, probably for next week. 
3.     General assistance.  The Board voted 5-0 to use recently updated State rates for review of general assistance applications.
4.     MMA worker’s compensation.  The Board voted 5-0 to use the MMA’s worker’s compensation program for the next year.  The coverage is based on a payroll of about $165,000.
5.     ACO phone.  Dennis will follow up with US Cellular to review what services are covered by the Town’s basic package.  There does not appear to be any need for additional services such as texting and “Easy-Edge” internet access.
6.     ACO concern.  From the ACO, a person from Town is presently in jail and cannot care for his/her horse.  Neighbors have been feeding the animal but cannot continue.  The ACO will contact the person to see if ownership will be relinquished.  She will also contact the State.
7.     Fire station dedication.  Tim Pellerin came in and reviewed the proposed agenda for dedicating the fire station on October 15.  His proposal was fine.
8.     Correspondence.  The Board reviewed miscellaneous correspondence received in recent weeks.  This was largely notification of events, surveys, etc.
Assessors’ Actions
1.     Assessor’s Agent.  Steve reported that Jim Murphy is retiring.  He will be available to the Town until the end of the year.  The sense of the Board was to move quickly to find a replacement.    Of particular note, Jim conveyed his concern over the lack of a building permit system in Town.  This results in considerable building going on without the Town being aware and assessing it fairly.  The net result is higher taxes on other properties and inequity.  After some discussion, the Board decided to have representatives meet with the Planning Board to discuss alternatives.  One possibility might be an Intent to Build ordinance to give the present system more teeth.  New forms may be a good idea, too.

2.     State valuations.  The Board noted receipt of new valuation values from the Maine Revenue Service.  The State set Whitefield’s valuation at $186,100,000. 

Town of Whitefield
Select Board Meeting Minutes
October 11, 2011
Present: Tom Colpitt, Sue Mckeen, Steve McCormick, Frank Ober and Dennis Merrill

Select Board actions

1.     The minutes of the 10/4/11 meeting were approved 5-0.

2.     Two warrants were signed.  The balances in some accounts were noted as follows.  Assessing: $8,350; Fire station building: $2,197; Green property $2,604, with $500 due for the generator.

3.     Fire station dedication.  Tim Pellerin and Lynn Talacko came in and reviewed the proposed agenda for dedicating the fire station on October 15.  There was also a general discussion about relationships with the fire service and it agreed to hold a separate meeting in the future.

4.     One application for a concealed weapons permit was reviewed.

5.     An invoice for $375 from Dean Vigue for bush hogging the fire station property was reviewed.

6.     Invoices from the Superette were reviewed.  Some slips appear to be missing and Tim Pellerin will follow up.

7.     Information concerning a sewage problem on Devine Road was reviewed.  Dennis will check with Arthur Strout.

Assessors’ Actions

1.     Assessor’s Agent.  The Board discussed the process for getting a new Assessor’s Agent.  Dennis, Frank and Tom will work on this.  Jim Murphy will need to come in to clean up some loose ends and pending business.

Town of Whitefield
Select Board Meeting Minutes
October 11, 2011

Present: Tom Colpitt, Sue Mckeen, Steve McCormick, Frank Ober and Dennis Merrill

Select Board actions

1.     The minutes of the 10/11/11 meeting were approved 4-0.

2.     One warrant for the fire station building fund was signed.

3.     Roads.  David Boynton reported that gravel roads will be graded when good weather allows.  He plans to put a few loads of gravel on Devine Road to complete resurfacing there.

4.     Fire station plowing.  Two bids were received for plowing of the three stations and three dry hydrants.  Dan Brilyea and Son bid $3,375 for the season (they also had per storm prices).  Out on a Limb Tree, Chris Bishop, bid $3,205 for the season.  Both provided proof of insurance.  The Board voted 5-0 to award the contract to Chris Bishop. 

5.     ACO phone.  Frank has spoken with the ACO who will have an unneeded application removed from the cell phone – savings $3 per month.

6.     Budget.  We need to begin the budget process and will get preliminary materials for review next week.  Work will begin the following week.

7.     Plowing contractor.  A time needs to be set up for the tour of town roads with McGee Construction.

8.     Meeting with RSU.  Supt. Potter and other representatives from the RSU finance committee came in to answer questions and discuss the RSU budget and its effects on Whitefield.  The discussion was very informative.  Copies of the questions and answers and other printed materials are available at the Town Office.

Assessors’ Actions

1.      The Board approved a draft letter to solicit letters on interest from Assessor’s Agents.

2.     The paperwork for nine abatements previously approved was signed.

3.     An abatement request for the Staples property was denied.

Town of Whitefield
Select Board Meeting Minutes
October 25, 2011
Present: Tom Colpitt,  Frank Ober and Dennis Merrill

Select Board actions

1.     The minutes of the 10/18/11 meeting were approved 3-0.

2.     Two warrants were signed.  These included payments for the school and county tax.

3.     Fire station plowing.  A simple contract with Chris Bishop should be prepared to finalize his bid for plowing the stations and hydrants this winter.  Dennis will look into this.

4.     Fire department issues.  Tim Pellerin, Scott Higgins and Lynn Talacko attended and discussed several topics.  Tim distributed for informational purposes copies of forms used for training reports, meeting rosters and run reports.  We discussed some problems with getting bills to the Town Office in a timely manner.  There are some pre-July bills that need to be run down.  For current bills, they should be submitted to the office within two weeks and include a notation of the budget line for payment.  Tim said this will be done, not a problem.  Three sets of turnout gear have been ordered.  Tim was given and filled out a purchase requisition form for these. 

The Board noted that the plowing bids for the stations came in and one was accepted.  The $3205 cost may come out of the fire department budget.  The fire officers said this would be a big problem since their budget is already tight and they had understood that for this year the “town” would take care of the plowing.  This would be a transition year since in future years the intention is to roll the stations into the town road plowing contract.  Had the officers known about the possible budget impacts, someone in the department may have volunteered to plow for a small stipend that would cover expenses.  This topic needs to be discussed further when other Board members are present.

For next year, the department should begin to work on its budget proposal using its best judgment and include contingencies.

5.  Fire station art.  There has been an offer for donation of an outside piece of artwork, a stone and metal sculpture.  The fire department officers were okay with accepting this offer but suggested that we consult with the neighbors first.  All interested parties would have to meet to gain consensus on placement of the work.

Assessors’ Actions

1.      The Board signed a quit claim deed to Thomas Allen.

2.     Two taxpayers came in with concerns about supplemental tax bills they received recently.   They were upset and did not understand these second bills.  The Board tried to explain the reasons for the supplemental bills and apologized for the lack of information with the bills.

Town of Whitefield
Select Board Meeting Minutes
November 1, 2011
Present: Tom Colpitt,  Frank Ober, Sue McKeen and Dennis Merrill

Select Board actions

1.     The minutes of the 10/25/11 meeting were approved 3-0-1.

2.     Fire station plowing.  Chris Bishop came in to sign the contract for plowing the stations and hydrants this winter.  He will absorb an extra fee from his insurance company for including the Town as an “insured”.

3.     Fire station.  Lynn Talacko provided information on acoustic panels for the new station.  The best value of the alternatives presented was 4 from Sam’s for $124.88.  The Board voted 4-0 to get these.

4.     Fire station art.  Frank has checked with the neighbors who do not object to the proposed sculpture.  The Board voted 4-0 to accept the donation.

5.     Firearms business.  A resident came in seeking the Town’s sign-off on paperwork for setting up a firearms business in his home.  This will require a Federal Firearms License.

6.     Invoices.  Invoices for fuel from Fielding’s Oil and McGee Construction for sand were approved.

7.     DOT form.  The DOT form to support the use of grant funds needs to be completed.  Better record keeping will help track eligible costs and make the paperwork much easier.  Tom will speak with David Boynton about this.


Assessors’ Actions

1.      The Board denied (4-0) an abatement request from a taxpayer who asserted the assessed valuation was more than the mortgage on the property.

2.     The Board signed a property sales analysis and the 2011 Municipal Valuation Return for Maine Revenue Service.

Town of Whitefield
Select Board Meeting Minutes
November 8, 2011

Present: Steve McCormick, Tom Colpitt,  Frank Ober, Sue McKeen and Dennis Merrill

Select Board actions

1.     The minutes of the 11/1/11 meeting were approved 3-0-1.

2.     Two warrants were signed.

3.     Fire station.  A proposal for wiring the generator to the well was received from Jim Brann Electric for $1,100.  The Board voted 5-0 to accept this.  There was a discussion of thermostat settings to conserve energy.  It was decided to get a programmable thermostat for the office wing and lockable covers for all thermostats.  Steve will take care of this.  If the small offices need heat, electric space heaters could be considered.  The radiant heat in the floor takes a long time to respond to calls for heat.

4.     Roads.  David Boynton reported that he plans to grade gravel roads next week.  He will look for good weather conditions as this will make for a better job.

5.     Plowing contractor.  A ride-around with McGee Construction is still needed.  Steve will try to set this up for 11/11/11 at 8 AM.  Tom and Frank will go, along with David Boynton.  Also we need to be prepared to handle complaints about plowing this winter.  During the first storm, several mailboxes were destroyed.  Dennis will prepare a simple form for Board members and others to record complaints in a consistent fashion.  Frank and Dennis will be contacts for communication with McGee.

6.     Animal incident.  The Board reviewed a Sheriff’s report concerning a loose horse.

7.     Credit card.  The Board discussed obtaining a credit card for Town business and voted 5-0 to file an application.  There will be credit limit of $1,500 and the Treasurer will be the only one with the card.

8.     Weary Pond.  The Board authorized the Town’s attorney to attend the upcoming Appeals Board hearing on shoreland zoning violations at Weary Pond.

9.   Fire department.  Scott Higgins and Tim Pellerin discussed the emergency responses to the recent snowstorm.  This was Scott’s first incident as EMA director and Tim reported he did a very good job.  Lincoln County has been declared a disaster zone for the storm, so the Town is in line for reimbursement from FEMA.  Dedicating such payments to a separate account would be helpful to have a reserve for future emergencies.  This would be a warrant item for town meeting.

The fire department has been training with mutual aid partners – Windsor and Jefferson.

10. A resident came in to ask if a notice to build is necessary to make repairs on his house (new steps).  He was told it is not.


Assessors’ Actions

The Board discussed the ten or so letters of interest for Assessor’s Agent.  These were from both larger firms and single person firms.  Either would be okay but smaller firms should not have too many towns under contract to allow us to get the necessary attention.  However, current municipal experience is important.  The willingness to work off-site to save money would be good.  Frank and Dennis will screen the letters and try to narrow down the field for interviews.

Town of Whitefield
Select Board Meeting Minutes
November 15, 2011
Present: Steve McCormick, Tom Colpitt,  Frank Ober, Sue McKeen and Dennis Merrill

Select Board actions

1.     The minutes of the 11/8/11 meeting were approved 5 - 0.

2.     DAR resolution.  Avery Dunn representing the DAR presented a proposed resolution declaring November as National American Indian Heritage Month.  This is part of a national effort.  The Board voted 5-0 to endorse the resolution and Steve signed a proclamation on behalf of the Town.

3.     Spirit of America.  The Board presented Spirit of America Awards to Erik Ekholm and Lynn Talacko in recognition of their work in overseeing the construction of the fire station.

4.     Fire station.  The wiring to connect the Town Office well to the fire station and its emergency generator is nearly complete.  A trench has also been dug to lay a gas line to the newer propane tank and this will be done soon as well.  Also, the Board voted 5-0 to ask David Boynton to remove the pile of rocks in the back field.  Some of these can be placed along the road to the salt shed to control parking.  Any rocks not used for this purpose are available to any resident wanting some.

5.     Roads.  David Boynton reported that gravel roads have been graded; some new surface was added to Devine Road.  David got some reclaimed hot top and has used on some locations on Hunts Meadow Road. 

The ride-around with McGee is now scheduled for Nov. 18.  Frank and Tom will go.  At the same time an effort will be made to identify projects for next year so we can factor those into the budget process.

6.     Weary Pond.  The hearing before the Appeals Board is set for Nov 17 at 6:30 PM in the fire station.

7.     Invoices.  The Board okayed invoices from the Food Bank.  An invoice for equipment for the Fire Department dating back to last January will be sent back to the Fire Chief for explanation.

8.     Cable service.  The Board noted a programming agreement from Time-Warner.

9.     Budget process.  The Board discussed the composition of this year’s Budget Committee.  Sue will contact prospective members.  The first meeting with the committee will be 1/10/12.  The Board’s budget will need to be prepared by 1/3/12 at the latest.  We began a general discussion of budget items.

Assessors’ Actions
The search for a new Assessor’s Agent is moving along slowly.  Frank and Dennis have met to review the letters of interest and will be collecting some information on the leading candidates.  After this initial screening is done, we will set up interviews.  Steve, Tom, Dennis and Frank are interested in participating as schedules allow.
_______________________              ______________________            ________________________

Town of Whitefield
Select Board Meeting Minutes
November 22, 2011
Present: Steve McCormick, Tom Colpitt, Frank Ober, and Dennis Merrill

Select Board actions

1.     The minutes of the 11/15/11 meeting were not available; they will be reviewed next week.

2.     One quit claim deed to Federal National Mortgage Assoc. was signed.

3.     Three warrants were signed.

4.     Fire station.  The artist for the donated sculpture had concerns with the proposed location for his work. The ground in that area is not level.  We need a small group including Fire Department representatives to decide on the best location.  Sue will lead this.  Also, the fund raising for the sign is a little short.  We need to check the building fund balance to see if there is enough to cover the $89 amount.

5.     Roads.  The status of McGee Construction’s bond should be checked as this is the beginning of the plowing season. 

6.     Weary Pond.  The hearing before the Appeals Board on Nov 17 did not come to a final decision.  They will try to get a representative from DEP to attend another meeting.

7.     Budget committee.  All of last year’s committee, except Jim FitzPatrick, have agreed to serve again.  Sue will contact some other potential members.

8.     Notices to build.  Dennis will prepare a draft ordinance for discussion.

9.     Fire Department.  Tim Pellerin, Scott Higgins and Lynn Talacko came in to present the Fire and Rescue’s proposed budget for next year. The proposed amount is up $7,300, the largest portion of which is $5,000 more for pay stipends.  They noted that since the new department has yet to go through a full budget year, it is hard to have firm numbers for all budget lines.  The line for internet should be checked as internet should be free for fire departments. 

The Department has been fairly quiet of late.  They are beginning to schedule refresher training for next year.

10.  Correspondence.  The Board noted information received from the Community Energy Fund - their funds are very limited this year.  Also a message from CMP indicates that smart meter installation is about 90% complete in town.

11.  ACO.  Frank has been trying to find a new ACO; no success yet.  He has a couple more possible contacts to make.  If these are unsuccessful, we will need to place an ad in the paper.

Assessors’ Actions
Interviews for a new Assessor’s Agent are set up for next week.
_______________________              ______________________            ________________________

Town of Whitefield
Select Board Meeting Minutes
November 29, 2011
Present: Steve McCormick, Tom Colpitt, Frank Ober, Sue McKeen and Dennis Merrill

Select Board actions

1.     The minutes of the 11/15/11 and 11/22/11meetings were approved 5-0.

2.     Animal Control Officer.  Chris Martinez, a certified ACO, came in to discuss filling this job for Whitefield.  He is presently working as ACO in Chelsea, Sidney, Waterville, Hallowell and Mt. Vernon.  He has his own equipment and is also qualified to handle wild animals.  Often wild animals would be handled privately on a fee basis and not as a Town function.  After discussing the job with Chris, the Board voted 5-0 to offer him the position, which he accepted.  He will be paid an hourly rate as a Town employee plus mileage.  Presently we use the Lincoln County animal shelter, but we may consider the Kennebec shelter in the future since that would be more convenient for Chris.  Chris’ telephone number is 446-0438.

3.     Fire station.  Lynn Talacko discussed the telephone and internet situation.  The present bill is quite high and we discussed ways to bring it down.  Originally, it was thought that internet service would be free to a fire station but since Time Warner is billing for it, and it is not really necessary we can drop this service.  Also there are three phone lines but two are enough.  Fairpoint offers lower rates for comparable service.  Frank will follow up.  The fund-raising for the sign over the equipment bays at the station came up a little short and the Board voted 5-0 to make up the $89 difference out of the building fund.

4.     Fire Department.  Tim Pellerin, and Lynn Talacko were present.  Nikki Matthews has rejoined the rescue team.  There was a discussion of the proper budget line to pay the FICA for firefighter’s stipends.  It can come out of the Fire Department budget lines.

5.     Plowing.  The Board discussed the quality of plowing during the Nov 23 storm.  It was not satisfactory.  Several roads were not plowed for hours and were dangerous.  Chief Pellerin reported that some roads (e.g. Doyle Road) were not passable for emergency vehicles and thus created a public safety issue.  During the storm, three trucks remained idle at the salt shed. Also, McGee Construction has not yet provided evidence of a suitable performance bond.  Steve will call McGee ASAP on this.  Dennis will draft a letter of concerns about the quality of the work. 

6.     Budget.  The Board continued its discussions on next year’s budget.  Several areas were covered in general discussion.  Plowing for the Town office and fire stations can be budgeted separately or rolled into the road contract.  We need to budget for voting booths so the fire station can be used for elections. (The Townhouse has handicapped accessibility issues that would be more expensive to resolve.)  We also need to consider the salt shed door that has been expensive to maintain.  There should be a small shed for sand to public use outside the salt shed.  We will invite Gwyn to the next meeting to go over the administrative and office needs.

Assessors’ Actions
The owners of Map 2, Lot 29-A came in with a concern over the being assessed for two base lots on the property where only one exists.  The Board agreed to abate the second base lot.

Town of Whitefield
Select Board Meeting Minutes
December 6, 2011
Present: Steve McCormick, Tom Colpitt, Frank Ober, Sue McKeen and Dennis Merrill

Select Board actions

1.      The minutes of the November 29 meeting were approved 5-0.

2.      Roads budget.  David Boynton came in to discuss budget priorities for next year.  In general, David feels that the roads are suffering from the lack of maintenance in recent years.  Several need paving and brush clearing, ditching, patching, etc.  Hunts Meadow center and Heath Roads really need to be widened in places.  In order to best assess the needs, Frank, Tom and David will ride around and inventory the roads in the next few days.  This information on condition and needs will be made available to voters and will hopefully help in setting priorities and budgets. 

3.      Fire Department.  Tim Pellerin was present and noted he is working on the information needed to have the Town’s ISO rating upgraded.  This could mean lower fire insurance rates for residents. Tim was asked to make an estimate of the hours firefighters have put in for training and incident responses.  This information may be informative to voters.  He also reported that a resident has pledged a $500 donation to be used toward a flagpole at the Central Fire Station.

4.      Plowing.  A letter to McGee Construction with the Town’s serious concerns with plowing on Nov 23 was signed.  The letter asks for a corrective action plan.  McGee did submit a performance bond for this year’s plowing season.    There was a general discussion of options for plowing in future contracts.  The Town could be broken into two sections and each bid separately.  A contract could provide a base payment that covers a certain number of miles and then a per-mile rate thereafter.  Windsor is using this sort of system.

5.      Budget.  The Board continued its discussions on next year’s budget.  On plowing costs, David Boynton noted other area towns have seen bid prices in the range of $3500 per mile for the season.  In Whitefield, the rates might be lower since we have a greater number of miles and fixed costs are averaged over more miles.  A rate of $3000 per mile could be used and once bids on a new contract are made adjustments can be made if necessary at a future Town Meeting.  The current budget line for sand is probably okay.  We need to budget for a service contract for the generator at the Central Fire Station; this is about $225 per year.  The line for maintenance of the salt shed was increased to $3000 to include replacements of the ventilation louvers and construction of a public sand box.  We are investigating other firms to provide general insurance and auditing services to see if we can get better prices.

6.      One application for a concealed weapons permit was reviewed.

7.      Three warrants were signed.

8.      A letter of engagement with the auditors was signed.

9.      A questionnaire from MMA regarding general assistance was completed.

10.  Dennis and Frank updated the Board on the search for a new assessor’s agent.  Interviews have been held and a recommendation should be made soon.

Assessors’ Actions

The Board voted 5-0 to grant an abatement for Map 17 Lot 25.  This parcel has a garage on it but no well and septic as the original assessment said.



Town of Whitefield
Select Board Meeting Minutes
December 13, 2011
Present: Steve McCormick, Tom Colpitt, Frank Ober, Sue McKeen and Dennis Merrill

Select Board actions

1.      The minutes of the December 6 meeting were approved 4-0.  (Sue was late.)

2.      Town Office budget.  Gwyn Dixon attended the meeting to go over the Town Office budget lines with the Board. These included the administrative, insurance, general government, town office, interest loan, and miscellaneous areas.  Many of these costs in these areas (e.g. fuel, utilities, services, postage, etc.) are fixed so amount from last year will be carried forward, perhaps with adjustments for inflation or changed usage.  Cost of living adjustments for office personnel were included. In some areas, such as insurance and auditing, we will be getting alternate quotes to see if money can be saved.  However, we need to carry the same amount forward since accurate quotes cannot be developed by town meeting time. The salaries for Fire Department officers can be moved to the fire department area so all costs are in one place. 

We need to budget for interest on tax anticipation notes; this year the amount is $3800.  The line for interest on the fire station needs more for the current year since the original amount budgeted was an estimate and the actual full first year payment is about $2500 higher.  The salt shed maintenance needs to be increased to $3000 to provide money to fix the louvers and build a public sandbox.  The cost for all mowing (cemeteries, town office and fire station) should probably be separated out to better account for each area’s maintenance costs.

3.      Fire Department budget.  Tim Pellerin, Scott Higgins and Lynn Talacko were present to discuss additional budget needs.  They proposed a capital improvement plan for equipment replacement.  The air packs need periodic replacement and two are nearing the end of their 15-year recommended lives.  (They are still in good serviceable condition.) The cost to replace these would be $6000 each or $12,000 in total.  Also, the four-inch hose on the trucks is old and needs replacement.  The cost here is $500 per 100 feet.  Trucks typically carry 1000 feet.  The total need at this time is $5000.  These expenses should be put forth as a separate warrant article.  Also, the officer requested increases in their annual salaries from $1000 to $2000 in consideration of the amount of hours they dedicate to the fire and rescue service.

We also discussed setting up a separate non-lapsing account for emergency situations.  This account would be able to receive outside funding such as reimbursements from the State or Federal emergency management programs.  The Officers recommend that the account be started with a $2000 town appropriation with amounts to be added annually.

4.      Plowing.  A letter from McGee Construction was received in response to the Board’s recent letter.  The company confirmed it has 6 plow trucks and drivers dedicated to Whitefield per the contract conditions.  They also have a seventh sand truck for use when there is more ice than snow.  They also noted that they will be asking for more salt as other towns in the area use more than does Whitefield.  This generated some concern since the contract stipulates the minimum use of salt and sand.  A letter responding to this issue will be drafted.

5.      Fire station use.  The fire and rescue officers noted that last week two meetings were scheduled for the same time at the fire station.  To avoid such conflicts in the future a calendar should be maintained so rooms can be reserved in advance.  The Board will ask the Town Office staff to keep the calendar and be the point of contact for reservations.  Chief Pellerin will prepare a calendar with the fire and rescue regularly scheduled meetings.

6.      Revenue.  While not final values, Steve reported that preliminarily revenues for next year’s budget are: $300,000 from excise taxes, $100,000 from State revenue sharing, $59,376 from the Block Grant, and $16,000 from supplemental taxes.  Total: $475,376.

7.      After some discussion, the Board voted 5-0 to offer the job of Assessor’s Agent to Thomas Hayes of Oakland.  He would be brought on as a Town employee, not as a contractor. 

8.      Weary Pond shoreland zoning issue.  The Board noted that last week the Appeals Board affirmed the CEO’s notice of violation and is recommending that the Board consider consent agreement with the landowners.  The Board also noted receipt of a notice of violation from the State DEP regarding the same structure.  The construction close to the water violated a separate State law and the notice of violation asks that the structure be moved.

9.      Roads.  Frank provided the Board with notes from the recent tour of town roads to assess their condition and needs.  This will be used to help set priorities and budget needs for road maintenance.

Assessors’ Actions


_______________________              ______________________    ________________________

Town of Whitefield
Select Board Meeting Minutes
December 20, 2011
Present: Steve McCormick, Tom Colpitt, Frank Ober, Sue McKeen and Dennis Merrill

Select Board actions

1.      The minutes of the December 13 meeting were approved 4-0.  (Sue was late.)

2.      Two warrants were signed.

3.      Fire Department budget.  Tim Pellerin came in to provide an update on the budget for the Fire and Rescue Department budget.  The Department is recommending salary increases for the officers:  Asst. Chief $1000, Rescue Dep. Chief $1000 and Chief $500.  Chief Pellerin is recommending replacing one air pack ($6000) and 500 feet of hose ($3000) for a total capital replacement budget of $9000.  Air packs need to be replaced in pairs to be functional.  Another pack would be purchased in the next budget year.  In total there are 12 packs that will need replacement over the next several years.  The Chief noted that some small towns are using lease/purchase programs for air packs. 

4.      Plowing.  A letter to McGee Construction was signed.  This expressed some concern about the proposed use of more salt on town roads.  It was pointed out that lack of plowing, not too little salt and sand has been the primary concern.

5.      Meeting with Pittston Select Board.  Wanda Burns-Macomber from Pittston’s Select Board came in to discuss plowing of roads at town lines.  David Boynton was also present.  A portion of Hanley Road is in Whitefield at the end of a dead end.  This is not a town road so where Pittston stops plowing is up to their contractor.  It might be more convenient to plow to the very end since there is a better turn-around there.  The turn-around on Rt. 194 is right at the town line but the site is difficult.  On Palmer Road, the turn around is a short distance into Whitefield.  On Nash/Thayer Road the turn around is a short distance into Pittston.  The break point is best set by consensus of the respective contractors, and depends on where convenient turn-around points are located.

6.      Budget discussions.  The Board continued its discussion on a draft budget.  The amounts for mowing of various cemeteries, the town office and fire station should be broken out into separate lines for better accountability.  Based on the hours from last year, the following amounts were set: nine cemeteries $1915, town office $1000 and fire station $750.  The Coopers Mills cemetery is self-funded from its reserve fund.  The Whitefield cemetery in Kings Mills will be budgeted for $3000. 

Other lines filled in include $18000 for selectman’s salaries ($4000 for the Chair and $3500 for others). The town roads budget will be set initially at $150,000 in recognition of the many needs identified in recent surveys.  More discussions are needed to identify the top tier of priorities.  We will continue this discussion next week with David Boynton.  The snow and ice budget for road includes $186,000 for plowing ($3000 per mile) and a very small increase for sand. Salt will remain level.  The loan payment for the fire station is $33,347 for the next budget year.

Assessors’ Actions

Lester Sheaffer is being assessed for two house lots on one parcel, although there is only one dwelling there.  An abatement is in order.



Town of Whitefield
Select Board Meeting Minutes
December 27, 2011
Present: Steve McCormick, Tom Colpitt, Frank Ober, Sue McKeen and Dennis Merrill

Select Board actions

1.      The minutes of the December 20 meeting were approved 4-0.  (Steve was late.)

2.      Weary Pond.  A letter from the lawyer representing the owners of property on Weary Pond having the structure too close to the water was reviewed.  A meeting with the Board has been requested to see if a consent agreement can be worked out.  Before meeting, we should get more information from DEP and consult with the Town’s attorney.  Dennis will follow up.

3.      General Assistance.  The Chair signed quarterly general assistance reports.

4.      Budget discussions.  The Board continued its discussion on a draft budget. With the results of last week’s discussions, the Board went over the numbers for the various categories.  The areas with significant increases include town roads, snow and ice, fire department and administration.  The roads line is the largest increase and we will ask David Boynton to come in next week to discuss priorities so townspeople can understand the needs when they vote on how much to appropriate.

Overall, the proposal as it stands is up $89,296 over this year.  We do not have information about the county or school budgets at this time.  At current valuation, one mil raises about $164,000.  Changes to assessing for gravel pit and CMP transmission line land may increase revenue next year as they are currently undervalued.  Historically, new construction adds about $1,000,000 in valuation annually.  Supplemental bills sent out this year amounted to about $1,200,000 to the town’s valuation. 

Assessors’ Actions

1.                  A request has been received to combine contiguous lots shown on map 2 as lots 18, 19, and 9.  Since several transfers have taken place in this area, we need to check the current tax maps before voting on this.

2.                  Jeffery Staples has appealed the Board’s denial of an abatement request to the County Commissioners.  The hearing date is January 17.  We will need to review materials and get together the necessary information.  We will contact the new Assessor’s Agent and ask Tom Hayes to participate.