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Town of Whitefield
Select Board Meeting Minutes
January 10, 2012

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

Select Board actions

1.      The minutes of the January 3 meeting were approved 5-0. 

3.      Weary Pond.  An invoice from Cliff Goodall for his work on the Weary Pond matter as approved: $2813.92.

4.      Notice to build ordinance.  The Board agreed to move forward with the draft Notice to Build Ordinance with a couple of changes.  The definition of “structure” will be modified to say the building must have a footprint of more than 50 square feet.  Also, reference to specific other Town ordinances will be dropped in favor of more general references.  The intent is to vote on the ordinance on the floor of the Town Meeting.  Dennis will investigate the time line and need for a public hearing.

5.      Health Center invoice.  A 2008 invoice for $65.80 from Sheepscot Health Center was approved.  This was for firefighters.  No indication of why this fell through the cracks. 

6.      Fire Station.  Lynn Talacko voiced concern about the internet service to the Fire Station being cut off.  They would like to have internet after all and the WiFi from the Town Office does not provide dependable service.  Steve will investigate and report back. 

7.      Budget Committee.  The Board held it first meeting with the Budget Committee.  Present were Colette Mooney, Marianne Marple, Lester Sheaffer, Bill Brooke, Barry Tibbetts, Barbara Welch and Malinda Caron.    Bill was elected Chair and Barb agreed to keep notes.  The Select Board provided an overview of the proposed budget and walked the Committee through each area/line in general discussion.  The Town-only portion of the overall budget is up 11.7%.  The Town is about a quarter of the overall budget when considering the County and RSU budgets.  The County tax is expected to be down this year, perhaps by 5% or $10,000.  Lester will check with the RSU budget committee to see if we can get an idea of where the school budget stands.

On the revenue side, the total of excise tax, revenue sharing, block grant and animal control is likely to be about level.  The Select Board hopes that there will be increased income from new construction and supplemental taxes.  Reevaluation of land used for utilities transmissions and large gravel pits will also add new revenue.  All of this has the possibility of offsetting proposed increases. 

For future meetings, we will try to collect information about stipends and salaries paid to firefighters in other similar sized towns.  Also, could the Fire Station be used as a Red Cross Shelter in the event of emergencies?  On the 17th, we will discus roads, with the Road Commissioner attending.  The meeting on the 24th with focus on the Fire Department.

Assessors’ Actions

1.                  Three abatements were signed: by map/lot 7/15, 20/29A and 17/25.

2.                  One quit claim deed was signed.

3.                  The Board voted 5-0 to grant an abatement for the Staples property on Hunts Meadow Road, Map 12, Lot 13A for $50,310 in valuation. 

_______________________              ______________________    ________________________
Steven C. McCormick, Chair              Susan B. McKeen                   Franklin A. Ober

________________________            ______________________
Thomas Colpitt                                   Dennis Merrill

Town of Whitefield
Select Board Meeting Minutes
January 24, 2012

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

Select Board actions

1.      The minutes of the January 10 meeting were approved 5-0.  (There was no meeting on 1/17/12.)

3.      Executive session. The Board held a brief executive session to discuss a legal matter.

4.      McGee Construction.  Steve McGee and others from McGee Construction attended the meeting to discuss sand and salt use.  They said there have been quite a few icy storms this year causing the need for more salt than straight snowstorms.  The budget has enough money for two more truckloads of salt, one of which will be ordered.  The Board noted that Whitefield is a “low salt use” town. 

5.      Tree removal.  One quote for removal of dead trees on Vigue and Doyle Roads was received.  Three quotes had been solicited.    The price received was $180, although the Road Commissioner will have to also be involved to clean up the debris so the total cost will be higher.  The Board agreed to go ahead with the work.

6.      N Whitefield Fire Dept.  Tim Chase has inquired about the dissolution of the volunteer fire department as the building reverts to him when that action is complete.  He will need to contact Tim Pellerin who represents the association. 

7.      Recycling.  The Board voted 5-0 to reimburse Jeff Newell $25 plus one hour of wages for plowing the recycling area after the last snowstorm.  Dennis has contacted McGee Construction to ensure they do the plowing in the future. Also, the Board looked at a draft flyer for the recycling program.  This would be printed for distribution to encourage more participation in the recycling program.  The Board voted 5-0 to authorize this.

8.      Invoice.  The Board approved an invoice from Jim Brann for electrical work done to connect the fire station’s generator to the town office well.

9.      Town report.  The Board voted 5-0 to dedicate this year’s town report to Alden Boynton.  Also the cover of the report will feature a picture of the new fire station.

10. Budget Committee.  The Board held its second meeting with the Budget Committee.  Present were Colette Mooney, Marianne Marple, Lester Sheaffer, Bill Brooke, Barry Tibbetts, Barbara Welch, Louis Sell and Malinda Caron.    Assessor’s Agent Tom Hayes was present and offered information on potential increases in reassessment of utilities transmission lines and borrow pits.  He is still researching this but thinks the values per acre as suggested by the previous agent may be too high.  More investigation and documentation are necessary. 

Chief Pellerin and Dep. Chief Higgins were present to provide a detailed explanation of the Fire Department’s budget request.  They provided the Committee with a breakdown of the hours department members have put in for training and incident responses.  For the first half of the year, they received about $4.80 per hour for their time and expenses.  Their mileage expenses would come out of that amount.  For capital equipment, the department is asking for $9,000 to purchase one new air pack and 500 feet of new hose.

The Committee reviewed requests from various charities and social service organizations.  They recommended the request from the Whitefield Cemetery (in Kings Mills) be included in this group since that cemetery is a private entity.

Assessors’ Actions
1.                  An abatement for Jeff Staples was signed.  Mr. Staples came in to discuss how the abatement is credited.  The home is being sold so prorating the abated tax bill can be worked into the sale. 

_______________________              ______________________    ________________________
Steven C. McCormick, Chair              Susan B. McKeen                   Franklin A. Ober

________________________            ______________________
Thomas Colpitt                                   Dennis Merrill

 

Town of Whitefield
Select Board Meeting Minutes
January 31, 2012
Present: Steve McCormick, Tom Colpitt, Frank Ober and Dennis Merrill

Select Board actions

1.      The minutes of the January 24 meeting were approved 4-0. 

2.      Two warrants were signed.

3.      The Board noted a complaint about a mailbox on Hunts Meadow Road being knocked down by snowplows.  The plowing contractor had not been responsive to the homeowner. The homeowner was contacted, and he reported he had replaced the box himself.

4.      The Board reviewed several pieces of general correspondence, all of which were informational or survey/information requests and did not require any immediate action.

10.  Budget Committee.  The Board held its third meeting with the Budget Committee.  Present were Marianne Marple, Lester Sheaffer, Bill Brooke, Barry Tibbetts, Barbara Welch, Louis Sell and Malinda Caron.  The committee discussed the overall budget, with the consensus that it was generally satisfactory and taking a flat percentage reduction would not be the best approach.  However, there are specific areas that should be examined carefully for potential reductions in specific line items.  A vote on the budget will be taken next week.

The overlay applied to the tax commitment was discussed.  Basically, this is a percentage of the tax commitment that is added by the Assessors to provide funds to cover abatements that are made and uncollected taxes. By law this can be up to 5%.  In last year’s budget, the actual amount as about 2.5%. 

The Committee discussed the major budget areas, with focus on specific areas and questions or discussion points.  The Fire Department proposals drew the most discussion.  The amount of stipends paid to volunteers was discussed at some length.  

Assessors’ Actions

None

 

Town of Whitefield
Select Board Meeting Minutes
February 7, 2012
Present: Steve McCormick, Tom Colpitt, Frank Ober and Dennis Merrill

Select Board actions

1.      The minutes of the January 31 meeting were approved 4-0. 

2.      Cable TV.  Frank and Dennis attended a meeting on renewal of the cable television franchise in Gardiner last week.  This meeting included representatives of several area communities and a Portland attorney who made a presentation about joint negotiations for renewal of the several franchise agreements as a group.  The attorney’s services would be at $175 per hour with a cap of $5,000 to be split evenly among the participating communities.  Another meeting will be held on March 8.  The Board agreed to continue to follow this to get more information before deciding whether to formally participate. 

On a related note, Frank and Dennis reported that State law requires that towns adopt cable franchise agreements before entering into new franchise agreements.  Whitefield’s agreement expired in 2005, so we do need to develop an ordinance.  By law, these ordinances must be approved by the Select Board, and not by town vote.

3.      Notice to Build Ordinance.  The Board reviewed a draft notice to build ordinance.  The proposed ordinance would provide definitions and structure to the existing NTB requirement.  It also describes the process for obtaining a NTB and appeal rights.  The proposal does not require building permits or set building standards.  Nor does it charge any fees.  The Board agreed to move forward with the proposed ordinance.  Public meeting will be held in conjunction with regular Select Board meetings, probably on February 21 and 26.  The ordinance would then go to a public vote on the floor of the Town Meeting. 

4.      Midnight Oil invoice.  The Board reviewed an invoice from Midnight Oil for removal of a propane tank at the Town Office.  The company charged $75 for removing the tank and gave the Town credit for the propane in it.

 

10.  Budget Committee.  The Board held its last meeting with the Budget Committee.  Present were Marianne Marple, Lester Sheaffer, Bill Brooke, Barry Tibbetts, Barbara Welch, Louis Sell, Colette Mooney and Malinda Caron.  The committee took votes on the various parts of the proposed budget. 

Below is a summary of the votes taken.  In each case the motion voted on was for the amount indicated.  Also shown for reference are the Selectmen’s recommendations.

Line #

Area

Selectmen’s Recommendation

Committee’s Recommendation

Committee
Vote

01

Administration

$132,351

$132,351

6-1-1

02

Insurance

$17,501

$17,501

8-0

03

Town roads

$150,000

$150,000

8-0

04

Snow and ice

$243,200

$243,200

8-0

05

General government

$50,989

$50,989

8-0

06

Town office

$20,899

$20,899

8-0

07

Townhouse

$500

$500

8-0

08

Interest on notes

$3,800

$3,800

No vote needed

09

Loans

$52,496

$52,496

No vote needed

10

Fire department

$93,850

$93,850

7-0-1

11

General assistance

$5,000

$5,000

8-0

12

Misc. appropriations

$67,518

$67,518

8-0

13

Other misc.

$7,040

$7,040

5-3

12-20

Whitefield cemetery

$3,000

$1,000

7-1

 

TOTAL

 =SUM(ABOVE) $848,144.00

 =SUM(ABOVE) $846,144.00 **

 

** Include lines 08 and 09 to allow equal comparison.

Assessors’ Actions
None

 

Town of Whitefield
Select Board Meeting Minutes
February 14, 2012
Present: Steve McCormick, Tom Colpitt, Frank Ober and Dennis Merrill

Select Board actions

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

2.      Concession sales at Town Meeting.  Terry Blair of the Whitefield Athletic Association came in to discuss operating concession sales at the Town meeting.  Their intent would be to operate the stand as many hours as practical, including the time between voting and the beginning of the open meeting.  The Board voted 4-0 to allow this.

3.      Clary Lake water level.  The Board noted a package of information from DEP regarding the formal petition that has been filed for regulation of water levels in Clary Lake.  The DEP is requesting comments from various parties who may have an interest in the water levels.  The Board did not have any particular comments at this time. 

4.      Town owned lot.  Representatives of the Lions Club came in to report on their efforts to develop a recreational area on the Town’s lot off Route 17, known as the Olsen Lot.  After lengthy investigations, the Club has concluded that development of ball fields, etc. on the property is not practical.  They are abandoning their efforts.  The Board thanked them for the work the Club has put into this over several years.  The Town will now have to decide what to do with the lot, some of which is in Windsor.

5.      Two warrants were signed.

6.      Town report.  The Board discussed briefly ideas for its annual letter in the Town Report.

7.      Job descriptions.  The Board voted 4-0 to adopt job descriptions for the positions of Administrative Assistant to the Select Board; Deputy Town Clerk/ Deputy Tax Collector / Deputy Treasurer; and the Assistant Town Clerk/Assistant Tax Collector/Assistant Treasurer.  Only one minor change was made: Administrative Assistant will attend Board meetings …. and keep meeting records as required

Assessors’ Actions
The Board voted 4-0 to allow combining of Map 2, Lot 9B, 18 and 19 for assessment purposes.

 

 

Town of Whitefield
Select Board Meeting Minutes
February 21, 2012
Present: Steve McCormick, Tom Colpitt, Frank Ober and Dennis Merrill

Select Board actions

1.      The minutes of the February 14 meeting were approved 4-0. 

2.      Two concealed weapons permit applications were reviewed.

3.      Will Turner cemetery trust. The Board noted a letter from the bank managing the cemetery’s trust that stated about $1,100 must be used from the trust.  That money must be used on the cemetery or donated to charity.  The needs of the cemetery in the current year will likely require that amount of money, and the bank will be notified.

4.      Recycling program.  The Board voted 4-0 to authorize printing of a color recycling brochure, the cost of which should be less than $400.  The Board also received a draft job description for the recycling attendant.  This will be voted on at a later date, after the next recycling committee meeting in early March.  The committee can have an informational table at the town meeting.

5.      Fire Department.  Chief Pellerin reported on a recent mutual aid response to a structure fire on Coopers Mills Road in Windsor.  The response was well coordinated and the fire was controlled before the building was destroyed. 

6.      Old Home Day.  Lore Ford came in to propose that an old home day be organized for the 4th of July.  He would like to use the Fire Station to hold the function.  The Board agreed with this.  It was noted that the Historical Society could be an alternate location to consider.

7.      Public Hearing on Notice to Build Ordinance.  At 7:00 PM the hearing was held with one interested citizen present.  He expressed no concerns, but questioned if the ordinance had any enforcement “teeth” to help ensure compliance.  A reference in section IX to State law provides this.
Assessors’ Actions
Assessing priorities.  The consensus of the Board is for the Assessor’s Agent to give priority to implementation of changes to land values as outlined in the citizen committee report from last year.

Town of Whitefield
Select Board Meeting Minutes
February 28, 2012

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

Select Board actions

1.      The minutes of the February 21 meeting were approved 4-0. 

2.      Two warrants were signed.

3.      Weary Pond shoreland zoning issue.  The Dauphins came in to discuss a proposed consent agreement to resolve shoreland zoning violations regarding their construction of a structure too close to the Pond.  After some discussion with the Dauphins and a brief executive session, the Board voted 5-0 to enter into the agreement that provides for moving the structure to greater than 100 feet from the water and payment of $1500 to the Town.

4.      Liquor license.  The voted Board 5-0 to approve a renewal liquor license for the Lions Club.  Another application from Sheepscot Links will be returned since it was incomplete.

5.      Junkyard permit.  The Board voted 5-0 to approve a junkyard permit for Whitefield Auto Recycling on Rt 17. 

6.      Invoices.  The Board approved an invoice from Spicer Tree for use of a bucket truck to replace a light bulb on the salt shed.

7.      Coopers Mills Fire Association.  Representatives of the Association came in to express concerns about a recent newspaper article.  The article cited discussion in the Budget Committee about possible consolidation of the fire department might lead to no future need for the station in Coopers Mills.  While someone on the budget committee may have asked about this, the Board has not given any thought to this idea.  Further, the Board is supportive of the Association’s plans for construction of a new station in Coopers Mills. 

8.      Public Hearing on Notice to Build Ordinance.  At 7:00 PM the hearing was held with two interested citizens present.  One, a contractor, mentioned that he believed that a building permit and building code system will eventually be needed.

9.      Warrant.  The Board finalized the warrant for Town Meeting.
Assessors’ Actions
None.
_______________________              ______________________    ________________________

Town of Whitefield
Select Board Meeting Minutes
March 6, 2012
Present: Steve McCormick, Tom Colpitt, Frank Ober, Sue McKeen and Dennis Merrill

Select Board actions

1.      The minutes of the February 28 meeting were approved 5-0. 

2.      Cemetery Trust.  The Board signed a letter to Key Bank regarding the Town’s intent to use proceeds from the Cemetery Trust for maintenance of the cemetery.

3.      McGee invoice.  The Board approved an invoice from McGee Construction for $1014 in payment for high diesel fuel costs per the plowing contract.

4.      Fire station internet.  Internet service for the station has been turned back on.  Lynn Talacko reported that it does not work, and judging from what he has learned never did before.  Frank will follow up with Time Warner.

5.      Fire Station use policy.  The Board discussed a draft policy for public use of the Station.  It was agreed that a $50 deposit should be required; this will be refundable if everything is left in good condition.  The Board would retain the ability to waive the fee.

6.      State valuation.  The Board reviewed a letter from the State Tax Assessor’s office regarding the State valuation for Town.  It is at 97% for the current year.

7.      MMA insurance.  A person from MMA will visit the Town properties to evaluate them for insurance purposes.  Frank and Dennis will cover this.

8.      Coopers Mills fire station.  The Board voted 5-0 to authorize payment of the $100 annual lease fee for the station.

9.      Generator service.  The Board voted 5-0 to authorize a $220 contract for service of the generator at the fire station.  Dennis will finalize the details.

10.  Plowing contract.  The Board had a general discussion to set the groundwork for a new road plowing contract.  The current 3-year contract expires this year.  One potential way to do a new contract would be on an hourly basis for each truck used.  This might be more fair to both the Town and the Contractor since payment would be based on actual costs rather than guessing the number of storms and effort for an entire year.  However, this method would require more direct supervision by the Town to call out, direct and call off the contractor during each storm.  We will try to get a representative for the State DOT to attend a meeting to advise us on possible contract options, etc.

Assessors’ Actions

Duncan property.  This property on Sennott Road is on the Jefferson line and half the house is in each town.  The Board agreed to split the taxes for the house 50-50 and the land on a per acre basis in each town.  We should have the assessor’s agents from both towns agree on a value for the house.

 

Town of Whitefield
Select Board Meeting Minutes
March 13, 2012
Present: Steve McCormick, Frank Ober, Sue McKeen and Dennis Merrill

Select Board actions

1.      The minutes of the March 6 meeting were approved 4-0. 

2.      Fire station.  Lynn Talacko came in and provided the Board with a proposed service contract from Northeast Security for the station’s alarm systems.  The cost was quite high and the consensus was that it would be better to pay for service on an as-needed basis.  Lynn also reported that he has been unable to get the internet service to work, and it has never been used according to Time-Warner’s records.  Steve will come in and make some checks.  We may need to have Time-Warner come out for a service call.

3.      The Board voted 4-0 to approve renewal of the liquor license for Sheepscot Links.

4.      The Board reviewed the agenda for Town Meeting and agreed to do the set up of the hall on Friday evening.

Assessors’ Actions

Duncan property.  Mr. Duncan came in to discuss his property that straddles the Jefferson town line.  We have had communications with Jefferson officials and the agreement is to split the taxes on the house and base lot 50-50.  The respective assessor’s agents will come to agreement on the value of these.  Land, base lot improvements and outbuildings will be assessed according to which town each is in.  If school age children live in the house in the future, the two select boards will renegotiate the situation.  Mr. Duncan expresses satisfaction with this arrangement. 

Steve Benne came in to discuss his land on Hunts Meadow Road.  He has contiguous lots and wants to combine them for tax purposes; he will need to fill out a request to do this for next year’s assessment.  Also, he had request an adjustment for conservation easements several months ago and wondered about the status of that.  We will have to check into that paperwork at the office.

 

Town of Whitefield
Select Board Meeting Minutes
March 20, 2012
Present: Steve McCormick, Frank Ober, Lester Sheaffer and Dennis Merrill

Select Board actions

1.      The minutes of the March 13 meeting were approved 3-0-1. 

2.      Board Chair.  Steve McCormick was elected Chair of the Board for the ensuing year.

3.      RSU representative.  Lester was a RSU Board member but with his election as Selectman, he cannot serve out his term that expires on June 30.  Malinda Caron was elected to the RSU for the term beginning July 1.  The Board voted 4-0 to appoint Malinda to fill out the balance of Lester’s term.

4.      Roads.  David Boynton came in and reported he is in the process of grading gravel roads.  On Mar 21 he will be filling potholes with cold patch. 

5.      Informational request.  Lore Ford came in to get some information about tax commitments.  The process was explained generally and he was invited to look at the actual commitment papers at the town office. 

6.      Rescue calls.  Lynn Talacko came in and reported that the last weekend as a busy one for the first responders.  They had three heart attack calls.  Sadly, one of the persons had passed away before the crew arrived.

7.      Fire station use policy.  The Board reviewed the draft policy and questions came up about liability coverage what the station is used for non-town functions.  Dennis will check with MMA.

8.      Recycling job description.  The Board voted 4-0 to approve the draft job description for the recycling attendant.  The language was amended to emphasize clean up of the grounds and around the building.

9.      MMA property and casualty pool.  MMA is requesting information for its property casualty risk pool.  This pertains to the Fire Department so the request was passed on to the Fire Chief.

10.  FEMA meeting.  Information on a FEMA meeting in Lincoln County was passed on to the Emergency Response Director.

Assessors’ Actions
1.      Tom Hayes came in and reported all is going well.  He is finalizing information on the fair market value for CMP and gravel pit lands.
2.         Matt Floge came in to inquire about combining his contiguous lot.  The Board signed the appropriate paperwork to allow this.  He also asked about assessment of his land as shorefront.  Tom Hayes will follow up on this.  Matt can file for an abatement for this year if he wants to.

 

Town of Whitefield
Select Board Meeting Minutes
March 27, 2012
Present: Steve McCormick, Tom Colpitt, Lester Sheaffer and Dennis Merrill

Select Board actions

1.      The minutes of the March 20 meeting were approved 3-0-1. 

2.      Land question.  Scott Miller of Chelsea came in to inquire about a small parcel on Cooper Road he wants to buy.  Since the parcel is less than 1.5 acres, it is nonconforming.  The Board will send a letter to Mr. Miller saying it has no objection to the sale with that understanding.

3.      Roads.  David Boynton came in and reported things have been quiet.  On the budget, it appears that, including carryforward from last year, there is about $4-5,000 remaining in the roads account.  David said there is no pending work. 

4.      The Board signed two warrants. 

5.      Boston Post Cane.  Libby Harmon came in and provided the Board with a proposed policy for awarding the Boston Post Cane.  The Board did not suggest changes, and she will finalize the draft with the Historical Society and come back with a policy for adoption.

6.      Fire Station use policy.  Dennis got some clarification from MMA regarding liability coverage and has made some changes in the draft policy.  This will be circulated to Board members and the Fire Chief as a draft.

7.      Fire and Rescue.  Scott Higgins, Tim Pellerin and Lynn Talacko were present to discuss recent calls and concerns.  Chief Pellerin expressed his pride in the professional way Department personnel performed on a very difficult rescue call recently.  On March 27 there was a mid-morning auto accident on Townhouse Road.  Initially, no one was available from Whitefield.  Jefferson was called but had no one either.  Alna was able to respond.   The driver was not seriously injured and was removed from the vehicle by Louis Sell.  Also, on March 27 in the afternoon a chicken coop fire was reported on Hunts Meadow Road.  Pittston was first on the scene and did a great job in containing the fire on a very dry and windy day.  Whitefield, Alna, Jefferson and Somerville all responded.

These two calls on March 27 point out a serious problem with availability of personnel during weekdays.  Since most firefighters work out of town, this is not an easy problem to address.  Chief Pellerin noted that in some areas towns have combined resources to have a first response team that can cover several towns. 

It was noted that the amount of paperwork needed for the fire and rescue is very significant and under appreciated.  The hours required for this are far greater than that covered by stipends and salaries.  Someday, consideration could be given to a paid administrator to assume the paperwork duties and free up Department officers for fire and rescue duties.  The Board suggested that a record be kept to document the hours spent on records.

Finally, there was a general discussion on how to better inform the public about the amount of effort and activities of the fire and rescue personnel. 

Assessors’ Actions

1.      The Board reviewed a list of the older tax acquired properties.

2.      The Board briefly discussed the situation with two parcels of land that are tax acquired but were subsequently sold by the party to another person.  Dennis will prepare a chronology of events in preparation for the parties coming in next week.

_______________________              ______________________    ________________________

Town of Whitefield
Select Board Meeting Minutes
April 3, 2012

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

Select Board actions

1.      The minutes of the March 27 meeting were approved 4-0-1. 

2.      Signature cards.  Board members signed new signature cards for the bank to update records following the election.

3.      Roads.  David Boynton came in and reported roads are drying up and he plans some minor work. 

4.      The Board reviewed two concealed weapons applications. 

5.      Boston Post Cane.  The Board voted 5-0 to approve a policy for awarding the Boston Post Cane as proposed by the Historical Society.

6.      Fire station use policy.  The Board voted 5-0 to approve a fire station use policy as proposed.  This will enable the use of the station meeting room by local groups.

7.      MMA risk pool.  The Board reviewed draft application materials for the MMA property and casualty risk pool. 

8.      Pauper’s grave.  The Board voted 5-0 to okay the use of the Whitefield Cemetery in Kings Mills for burial of a resident of the nursing home in Coopers Mills.  The State covers costs of pauper’s graves.

9.      FEMA maps.  The Board reviewed updated FEMA flood maps.

10.  The Board signed a contract with Mid-Maine Generator of Winthrop for one year’s maintenance of the fire station generator. $220.

11.  The Board reviewed general correspondence received.  All of this was informational none required any action on the part of the Town.

 

Assessors’ Actions

1.      Tax acquired properties.  The Board discussed the situation with older tax acquired properties.  Several of these have had no payments in a long time.  It was agreed to ask the persons involved to come to Board meetings to discuss their situations and hopefully work out payment plans.  Those that cannot resolve the issues will be subject to public sale to be advertised about June 1.

2.      The Board met with attorney Pat Parsons representing a finance company having an interest in Map 16, Lot 47-C which is tax acquired.  The situation is complicated by the original owner attempting to transfer title after the parcel became Town-owned.  Mr. Parsons will try to work out the issues with counsel for the other parties.  The Board will wait and see what Lawyer Parsons comes back with and then make a decision as to what the next steps will be.

 

Town of Whitefield
Select Board Meeting Minutes
April 10, 2012
Present: Tom Colpitt, Lester Sheaffer, Frank Ober and Dennis Merrill

Select Board actions

1.      The minutes of the April 3 meeting were approved 4-0. 

2.      Two warrants were signed.

3.      Roads.  David Boynton came in and reported a few gravel roads need some grading as there are rough spots here and there. 

4.      The Board reviewed one concealed weapons application. 

5.      Four quit claim deeds were signed.

6.      Recycling center.  Jeff Newell came in to discuss the possibility of keeping the recycling center open more hours in the summer months.  There is not a lot of money in the budget for additional wages.  There will be a recycling committee meeting Thursday evening and this concept will be discussed in more detail at that time.

7.      MMA audit.  The Board reviewed a workers comp audit conducted by a contractor for MMA.  It appears that we will receive a $918 rebate.

8.      The Board reviewed general correspondence received.  All of this was informational none required any action on the part of the Town.

Assessors’ Actions

1.      Tax acquired properties.  Efforts by the Town Office staff to contact persons whose property has been tax acquired have not been very successful due to lack of phone numbers, disconnected phones, etc.  The Board reviewed a draft letter to be sent to these people in order to schedule appointments for them to meet with the Board.  Dennis will finish this draft and forward it to the Office.

2.      Tom Hayes came in to update the Board on his activities.  He has visited lots abutting Clary Lake to become more familiar with the area.  He will check with the Jefferson assessor’s agent to learn how they value properties on the Lake to help in obtaining a consistent approach.  Also, he is in the process of checking the status of pending notices to build to ensure we have them up to date as of April 1. 

Tom continues to assemble information on gravel pits and CMP lands.  Not all commercial pits have DEP permits since some are old enough to not fall under current permitting programs.  In general if the pit area is over 5 acres, the parcel can be assessed the same way regardless of permit status.  On CMP lands, Tom will check out some sales in Chelsea. 

Tom has noted some run down mobile homes and buildings around town.  These raise the question as to when a structure reaches the point when it becomes valueless.

 

Town of Whitefield
Select Board Meeting Minutes
April 17, 2012
Present: Steve McCormick, Tom Colpitt, Lester Sheaffer, Frank Ober and Dennis Merrill

Select Board actions

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

2.      RSU request.  RSU 12 has requested the dollar amount effect of a 1-mil tax increase in Whitefield.  For 2012, 1 mil would raise about $168,000.  This would be a 6.8%  tax increase.  We will ask Gwyn to get this information back to the RSU.

3.      Doyle Road Cemetery.  Marie Sacks and Libby Harmon came in to discuss an old cemetery accessible from 176 Doyle Road.  The 40’ x 125’ cemetery is in poor condition.  They found the grave of a Civil War veteran and asked that the Town clean up that gravesite.  We will need to visit the site to see what needs to be done.

4.      Planning Board.  Bob Bills came in to report that the Planning Board did not meet last month, and there is not much pending for this month’s meeting.  They will be going over revisions to the Notice to Build application form pursuant to the newly enacted ordinance.

5.      Plowing contract.  Dennis has been in contact with DOT and is expecting to receive some model plowing contracts.  We need to begin drafting a new contract and specifications so we can start the process of bidding for a new plowing contract.

6.      Cable TV.  Frank and Dennis attended a meeting in Gardiner last week where a representative of Time Warner met with several towns in the area.  The group hopes to jointly negotiate new franchise agreements with Time Warner.  For Whitefield, extending cable coverage to more roads is a priority.  More meetings will follow.

7.      Salt shed.  Steve will contact David Boynton about getting the grader to scrape up sand on the access road to the salt shed.

Assessors’ Actions
Tom Hayes was present to discuss an abatement for a log home under construction at Uncus Farms.  An abatement of about $75,000 valuation is in order.  Frank will contact the owners.
On last Friday, Frank and Dennis met with Tom to discuss implementation of land value changes.  Minutes of that meeting were provided to the Board.  There does not appear to be any major obstacles to implementing the citizen committee’s recommendations.  As definite proposals are prepared, they will be presented to the Board. 

Town of Whitefield
Select Board Meeting Minutes
April 24, 2012
Present: Steve McCormick, Tom Colpitt, Lester Sheaffer, Frank Ober and Dennis Merrill

Select Board actions

1.      The minutes of the April 17 meeting were approved 5-0. 

2.      Two warrants were signed.

3.      One concealed weapons application was reviewed.

4.      Bill for moderator.  A bill for $553.66 from Brian Huntley for moderating the Town meeting was received and reviewed.  There is no precedent for this in town and typically the Town sets any pay for an elected position.  The Board did not understand all of the charges in the bill.  Steve will contact Brian and ask him to come in to explain his bill.

5.      Plowing contract.  The Board reviewed briefly a rough draft plowing contract and discussed several questions.  This will be revised and placed on the agenda for more formal discussion.  The goal is to advertise the contract on May 9, with a mandatory pre-bid meeting on May 18. 

6.      Town house.  Erik Ekholm came in to report that during Monday’s heavy rainstorm, the Townhouse developed two leaks.  One was at the south end gable vent.  This can be fixed with a metal shield.  The second was around the chimney and will need counter flashing.  The Board authorized Erik to proceed with the necessary work.

7.      Fire station.  Erik reported he has investigated additional means to improve the acoustic conditions in the meeting room.  Rigid fiberglass panels can be bought for about $50 for six.  Special acoustic fabric is available to cover these.  The fabric will have to be sewn to the proper size to fit over the panels.  Also, we could purchase acoustic ceiling tile; he will provide recommendations and Frank and Dennis will install them.  We need to check with Lynn Talacko before doing any work.  Finally, a bulletin board would help, too.

8.      Road sign.  A citizen has renewed a request for a Road sign for Irish Lane.  We will purchase one and get it installed.  Frank will contact the gentleman. 

9.      DOT road priorities.  The County planner has forwarded information from MeDOT seeking proposed road projects for the next 2-3 years.  These will go into statewide planning.  The Cooper Road is the Town’s greatest need that might qualify for consideration.  Dennis will follow up with the planner.

10.  Salt bids.  The MeDOT is asking if towns are interested in participating in bulk road salt purchases for next year.  We will tell them we are interested in 200 tons; this does not create an obligation at this time.  Once bid prices are obtained, towns can then decide if they want to participate.

11.  Fire department.  Tim Pellerin, Scott Higgins and Lynn Talacko came in.  They noted that four members of the Department attended a FEMA National Fire Academy course in Maryland.  All successfully completed the course, “Strategies and Tactics for initial Company Operations”. 

They also expressed concerns about the lack of firefighters available during weekday daytime hours.  It is very difficult to get anyone to respond to these calls since most personnel work out of town.  This is a problem for surrounding towns as well.  Indeed, it is a national problem for volunteer departments and there is no easy answer.  It is becoming more stressful to manage responses with fewer staff available.  Ideas are needed to increase the number of personnel.  Limited service people, such as truck drivers, can be a big help.  Currently we have about 25 firefighters and 6 rescue personnel. 
Assessors’ Actions
1.      Abatement.  The Board voted 5-0 to grant an abatement for Daniel Ridgell’s partially completed log home on Townhouse Road.
2.      Tax acquired properties.  Three persons were scheduled to come in to discuss the status of their tax acquired properties, but none showed up.  One person did send word she was unavailable to attend but did plan to clear up the account by the end of May.  The Board decided to move forward by advertising the properties the weeks of June 3 and 10, with bids due June 29.  The bids would be opened July 10.

 

Town of Whitefield
Select Board Meeting Minutes
May 1, 2012

Present: Tom Colpitt, Lester Sheaffer, Frank Ober and Dennis Merrill

Select Board actions

1.      The minutes of the April 24 meeting were approved 4-0. 

2.      Roads.  David Boynton was present to report that the heavy rainstorm last week washed out a culvert and some gravel on Nilsen Lane. Repairs have been made.  Recently, four gravel roads were re-graded; other gravel roads are in good condition.  David has used a lot of cold patch this year – more than in previous years.

3.      Excise tax payments.  The office asked for guidance on a situation where a resident with a parcel of land on the Pittston town line who is registered to vote in Whitefield and whose home is in Whitefield pays motor vehicle excise taxes in Pittston.  The sense of the Board is that excise taxes should be paid in Whitefield as well.

4.      Police coverage.  A citizen who suffered a break-in came into the Town Office to ask that the Town request additional coverage from the Sheriff.  The Board voted to contact the Sheriff’s Office to see what could be done.

5.      Plowing contract.  The Board reviewed a draft contract for a 3-year plowing contract that will bid in the next few weeks.  It was decided to bid purchase of sand separately from the plowing contract to allow more people to bid, and avoid giving persons with ready access to sand any advantage in the plowing bids.

6.      Quit claim deed.  The Board was presented with a quit claim deed prepared by a private attorney to clear up liens on a property.  The Board took no action on this as the parcel had not been foreclosed upon and a deed is not necessary to clear liens. 

7.      New fire vehicle.  The Board noted that the Kings Mills fire association recently purchased a used one-ton pickup truck that will be used to upgrade the existing “woods truck”.

Assessors’ Actions
1.      The Board deferred action on signing a ratio declaration pending more information.
2.      One person came in and signed a payment agreement to take care of past obligations.
_______________________              ______________________    ________________________

Town of Whitefield
Select Board Meeting Minutes
May 8, 2012

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

Select Board actions

1.      The minutes of the May 1 meeting were approved 4-0-1. 

2.      Two warrants were signed.

3.      Plowing and Sanding contracts.  The Board reviewed proposed contracts for plowing and sand for the next three years.  Related documents for public notices, bidding forms and bidding information were also reviewed.  The contracts were approved 5-0.  Bids will be advertised in the Lincoln County News and the Kennebec Journal next week.  A mandatory pre-bid meeting will be held on May 22.  Bids will be due on June 1 and will be opened on June 5. 

4.      One concealed weapons permit application was reviewed. 

5.      Invoice.  An invoice from Northeast Security for service at the fire station was approved. 

6.      Boston Post Cane.  The Board approved a Boston Post Cane policy developed by the Historical Society. 

7.      Fire Department.  Chief Pellerin reported that a building on North Hunts Meadow Road has been donated to the Fire Department to be burned for training purposes.  This will probably occur sometime in June.  We will have the Assessor’s Agent provide a valuation estimate prior to the burn.

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

9.      Retirements.  Tim Pellerin and Scott Higgins announced their intentions to retire as Fire Chief and Deputy Fire Chief respectively on July 1, 2012.  The Board regretfully accepted these resignations with thanks for their combined many years of dedicated and professional service to the community.
  
Assessors’ Actions
1.      The Board voted 5-0 to sign a ratio declaration and reimbursement application to the State to certify the percent of property valuation.  The Town is using 100% valuation. 
2.      Two people came in and signed payment agreements to take care of past tax obligations.
3.      One quit claim deed for map 1 lot 51 was signed.

Town of Whitefield
Select Board Meeting Minutes
May 15, 2012
Present: Steve McCormick, Tom Colpitt, Lester Sheaffer, Frank Ober and Dennis Merrill

Select Board actions

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

2.      EMS Director.  Lynn Talacko came in to notify the Board that he is stepping down as Deputy Chief for EMS, effective July 1.  He will remain as an active firefighter and EMS responder, however.    By a vote of 5-0, The Board accepted Lynn’s resignation with regret and thanks for his service.

3.      RSU 12 Town Meetings.  The Board signed warrants for a Town meeting on June 2 to vote on the RSU budget.  This will be held at the Windsor School.    There will also be a budget validation vote on June 12.

4.      Fire Chief selection process.  The Board discussed the process for moving forward to hire a new Fire Chief.  According to the ordinance, the Chief is to be hired form the ranks of the Fire Department, so notices of the vacancy will be distributed to the Department members.  This will be done by letter and we will ask Tim Pellerin to distribute it within the Department.  Applications will consist of the standard MMA application form and resumes. Applications will be due June 1 and the Board will review them on June 5.  Interviews will be held the week of June 11.  Once a Chief is on board, he/she will assist with the hiring of the Deputy Chiefs. 

5.      Plowing bids.  The Board discussed how bids for plowing and sanding will be evaluated.  Factors such as equipment, experience and references will be considered along with the price.  Tentatively, price will be 80% of the total weight with the other factors making up the balance.  Essentially, the scores in the other areas will be used to reduce the effective bid price.  For example, very good references could reduce the effective price by 10%.  So, a person with a higher price but good experience will get more favorable consideration using cost as a comparative basis.  Dennis will prepare a proposal.

6.      General correspondence.  The Board reviewed general correspondence received.  None required any direct action.

  Assessors’ Actions
 1.      Tom Hayes came in and reported he is completing information collection on some parts of the land revaluation project.  He will be in next week with data and proposals for utility transmission and gravel pit lands.  Tom also has some information on waterfront property.  After some general discussion, the Board concluded that work on the tiers for rear land values should be a priority since data entry for effecting the changes will take some time.   
2.      The Board voted 5-0 to deny a tax abatement application since it was filed after the deadline.  On this same property, Tom Hayes recommends reducing the value going forward since the buildings are in poor condition and will be burned for fire training.
3.      One person came in to discuss back taxes.  She was unaware of the State Circuit Breaker program and will go into the Town Office to get application forms.  However, this will not help with back taxes and she will return next month to discuss what to do about these.  Also, we will ask Tom Hayes to review the valuation of this property. 


Town of Whitefield
Select Board Meeting Minutes
May 22, 2012

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

Select Board actions

1.      The minutes of the May 15 meeting were approved 5-0. 

2.      Three warrants were signed

3.      Three applications for concealed weapons were reviewed.

4.      Information request.  The State emergency management agency has asked for some town information about tax parcels.  This request was given to the Assessor’s Agent to follow up.

5.      General assistance rules.  The State has requested that the Town amend its general assistance ordinance to reflect changed guidelines that would generally reduce eligibility and payment levels.  The changes need to be made by July 1.  The Board tabled action to allow time to review the requested changes.

6.      Plowing and sand contracts.  The Board had a pre-bid meeting about the pending contracts.  A total of eight potential bidders attended.  As a result of questions and comments, two small amendments to the proposed plowing contract will be made.  Attached are the notes from the meeting.

 

Assessors’ Actions

1.      Tom Hayes came in and discussed proposals for revising land values.

a.       Gravel pits.  Tom recommends using a uniform $7,500 per acre for all commercial pits, replacing the current system of several rates.  This is based on past sales in the area and a review of what other towns do.  The Board voted 5-0 to accept this amount.  However, more documentation and definitions are necessary to establish a clear policy
b.      Utility transmission lines.  Tom is recommending $3,000 per acre for this category.  There is little useful sales information on this type of land, and what other area towns have used is helpful in setting fair values. As with gravel pits, more documentation is needed to support the policy and land values
c.       Rear land.  Tom is recommending a 4 level tier system to replace the current system of one price ($650) for all rear land.  This system is commonly used in other towns and better reflects lower per acre value for land in large parcels.  There are few “good” land sales in town that can be used to document fair market land values for different sized parcels.  The State uses a value of $910 for interior Lincoln County.  More research is needed.

The Board decided to table action setting new land value until June 5 when more documentation and information can be developed.

 

Town of Whitefield
Select Board Meeting Minutes
May 29, 2012
Present: Tom Colpitt, Lester Sheaffer, Frank Ober and Dennis Merrill

Select Board actions

1.      The minutes of the May 22 meeting were approved 4-0. 

2.      Notice to Build application.  A new notice to build application was approved by the Board 4-0.  Also approved was a new approval form to be used by the Town in response to the applications.  The Planning Board previously reviewed these forms.

3.      Rescue activity.  Lynn Talacko came in to update the Board on two recent EMS calls.  One involved a campfire that got out of hand and the other a motorcycle accident.

4.      General assistance.  The Board noted a recent e-mail from the State saying that information regarding pending changes to general assistance guidelines has been rescinded.  Previous interpretation of the legislative intent has been changed and new materials will be sent to the Town.  We will stand by.

5.      Fire station grounds.  We will contact Jim Brann to have him mow the banks surrounding the fire station. 

6.      Recycling center.  Last week a lot of materials were left in the wrong container, causing a great deal of time to be spent cleaning up and sorting the mess.  The persons probably leaving the materials have been identified and a bill for the time needed to correct the problems will be sent.  (Time spent on this sort of thing takes away from the attendant’s time available to help citizens when the Recycling Center is open.)

7.      Plowing bids.  The Board discussed how bids for the plowing contract will be evaluated.  The Town’s purchasing policy states, “Selection of vendors.  Normally, quotes, proposals or bids will be selected using weighted criteria consisting of price, equipment available, personnel, qualifications, prior work experience, references and work history with the Town.  The price shall constitute not less than 80% of the criteria.”  In this case, the Board will rate references (and work history) as 10%, communications as 3% and equipment as 7%.  Combined, these three factors make 20% of the overall rating, with price being the other 80%.

8.      General correspondence.  A few pieces of correspondence were reviewed; none needed any action by the Board.

 

Assessors’ Actions

1.      A resident came in to inquire about abatement of property taxes due to economic conditions.  The resident was told to get poverty abatement applications form the Town Office.  The person stated that an application was filed last summer with no word back from the Town.  We will look into this.

2.      Land values.  After a brief discussion, the Board decided to ask the Assessor’s Agent to come in on June 12 with final recommendations and documentation for utility transmission, gravel pits and tiered rear land.

3.      A resident came in asking that the Board sign a quit claim deed for a parcel of land.  He has paid the back taxes.  However, he is not the former owner of record and has no apparent valid legal interest in the property.  The Board did not want to sign the deed without more information and the opportunity to consult with legal counsel. 

 

 

Town of Whitefield
Select Board Meeting Minutes
June 5, 2012
Present: Steve McCormick, Tom Colpitt, Lester Sheaffer, Frank Ober and Dennis Merrill

Select Board actions

1.      The minutes of the May 29 meeting were approved 4-0-1. 

2.      Two warrants were signed.

3.      MMA inspection report.  The Board reviewed a report from MMA about their loss control inspection.  The report contained some recommendations for small corrective actions to improve safety, but no major adverse findings.  Follow-up is needed to implement changes.

4.      General assistance.  We are still waiting for updated information from the State regarding changes to the GA payment caps.

5.      Moderator’s bill.  Brian Huntley has not returned telephone messages regarding his bill for moderating the Town Meeting.  We will ask Gwyn to mail him a letter requesting a meeting. 

6.      Assessor’s computer.  The laptop computer used by the assessor’s agent is very slow and not functioning well. The Board voted to purchase a new unit to replace this; it is probably 8-10 years old.  Cost not to exceed $600.

7.      Roads.  David Boynton reported that the recent heavy rains did little damage in Town.  The only problem was a clogged culvert on Senott Road.  A small portion of pavement was damaged.

8.      Tree removal.  Some dead pine trees at the intersection of Doyle and Vigue Roads need to be removed.  Chris Bishop had given us the best price.  David Boynton will follow up to have the work done.

9.      Fuel pre-buy.  Fielding’s Oil has contacted us asking if we want to do a pre-purchase of fuel oil ($3.19/gal) and propane ($1.99/gal).  Frank will get some other prices before we proceed.

10.  Fire Department.  Tim Pellerin, Scott Higgins and Lynn Talacko came in to update the Board.

a.       There are still some building corrective actions needed at the fire station.  These are covered under the contractor’s warranty.  Lynn will contact the contractor.
b.      Engine 3 has received its annual service and testing.
c.       The donated house will be burned for training on June 16.
d.      The new brush truck purchased by Kings Mills is being outfitted.  The Town will pay for lettering and lights from the fire department’s existing budget.

11. Fire Chief application.  No applications have been received for the Fire Chief position.  Tim Pellerin reported he circulated information on the vacancy among the Department and talked to all the officers.  There is an officer’s meeting Thursday night and the Board will attend to discuss the position and related issues.

12.  Plowing bids.  The Board opened the bids received for plowing and sand supply.  Below are the bid amounts.

Plowing                                               Sand Supply
Bidder                         Three year total                                   Price per yard
David Boynton           $576,000                                             $9.50
Frank Monroe             $514,000                                             $8.25
Gordon Libby             $618,077
Spicer Tree                  $519,000
M. Winchenbach         $584,250
Farley & Sons             $516,210                                             $8.00
McGee Construction   $579,000                                             $7.40
Sam Snow                                                                               $7.90

The Board discussed plans to evaluate the bids, giving consideration to communications, equipment and references in addition to price.  Some of the plowing bids did not use the bid forms provided by the Town and did not provide the requested information.  

The Board will hold a public work session on Thursday evening to discuss the next steps to evaluate the bids.

Assessors’ Actions

1.      The Board voted 5-0 to return a tax payment made by Larry Brann on the former Trever Grady property.  The Board did not believe it is proper to deed the property to Mr. Brann without public bids.  The mortgage company involved will be paying the taxes and  then a deed can be issued to Mr. Grady.

 

 

Town of Whitefield
Select Board Meeting Minutes
June 12, 2012

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

Select Board actions

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

2.      Fuel pre-buy.  After checking with three companies, Frank reported Fielding’s Oil has the best pre-buy prices for fuel oil and propane.  An agreement was signed with Fielding’s.

3.      Fire Department.  It was noted that Tim Pellerin has taken the job as Chief in Rangeley. 

4.   Plowing bids.  The Board continued discussions of the plowing bids opened last week.  Bidders Frank Monroe, Spicer Tree (and Sam Snow), and David Boynton were present.  Board members reported their findings in checking references for the three lowest bidders.

Frank Monroe.  Frank spoke with former Whitefield Selectman Tim Chase.  When Mr. Monroe had the Town contract (in 2000) he had not been able to remove drifts on Rt. 218 due to lack of proper equipment.  At the end of the contract’s first year, Mr. Monroe withdrew from the contract.  Tim did note that on a personal level Mr. Monroe had done good work for him.  Dennis contacted a Pittston Selectperson who reported Mr. Monroe is doing a good job for that town.  He has been responsive and constructive.
     
Spicer Tree.  This is a partnership with Sam Snow who formerly plowed Pittston’s roads.  Dennis contacted a former Road Commissioner who reported Mr. Snow did and excellent job, the “best ever” in town.

Farley.  Tom contacted the towns of Hope and Waldo who each reported very good experiences.  He also contacted a DOT representative who said the first year of plowing segments of State roads had some problems, but was satisfactory after that.  Tom also spoke with Mr. Farley to ask about logistics since the Company is located some distance away in Rockport.  The proposal is to keep equipment at the salt shed and to advertise for and hire local drivers.  There were no specifics on the foreman.  The Company does a lot of municipal and commercial plowing, having about 100 people on its winter crew. 

In discussing this information, the Board expressed concerns with Mr. Monroe’s backing out of the previous contact with Whitefield.  Also, his bid form indicated a 100% performance bond could be obtained, but a $50,000 letter of credit was proposed instead.  The Board had some concerns and remaining questions on the Farley’s logistical challenges due to the Company being located some distance away.  Yet to be hired local workers presented some questions.  The Spicer Tree proposal is based on an informal partnership with Sam Snow.  Spicer Tree has no experience in plowing but Mr. Snow does.  Those parties indicated a partnership agreement could be developed.

After discussion, the Board voted 5-0 to award the plowing contract to Spicer Tree provided that a partnership agreement is submitted to the Town prior to contract signing.

5.      Sand contract.  The Board discussed the bids received for providing and putting up winter sand.  As an alternative, the Town could do this itself through the Road Commissioner.  Sand can be purchased at local pit for $4.00 per yard.  If the Town purchases the sand directly sales tax can be avoided.  Hauling and storage in the salt shed can be done with local people paid at State wage rates.  This would remove the need for supervision of an outside contractor and would provide work for local subcontractors.  The Board voted 5-0 to reject all bids and instead put up the sand as a Town project. 

Assessors’ Actions

1.      The Board voted to go into executive session to discuss an abatement request.  No action.

2.      Assessor’s Agent Tom Hayes came in to present proposals for restructuring land values in Town.  The provided recommendations in three areas:

a.       Borrow pits.  These are currently assessed at various rates.  After surveying a number of sales on pits in the region, a recent sale in Whitefield and what some other towns uses as rates, Tom recommended a single price of $7,500 per acre.  This was presented in a proposed policy paper that describes the applicability of the rate and summarizes the findings supporting the proposed rate.  The Board voted 5-0 to adopt this.
b.      Utility transmission lines.  This is for the land only used for major utility transmission, such as high voltage power lines or gas pipes.  In this case, open market sales are limited.  However, some recent purchases by CMP are available in the area.  A survey was made of how other towns are assessing these lands.  Form this information, Tom recommended a value of $3,000 per acre.  Again, a policy paper was proposed, which the Board adopted 5-0.
c.       Rear lands.  Currently, all rear (not base lot) land is assessed at $650 per acre.  Tom noted this is low in comparison to true market value.  Additionally, the per acre price generally declines as the parcel size increases.  Essentially, land is “cheaper by the dozen”.  To address this, most towns use a tiered system where larger blocks of land are assessed at progressively lower rates.  To determine current land values, Tom looked at past sales in Town.  He also looked at information provided by the State for land sales in Whitefield and other area towns. Due to the difficult real estate market in recent years (distressed sales, etc.), it is difficult to identify a full value market price for land.  Thus, he recommended values somewhat on the lower end of the range suggested by the data.  Using this, the current base lot value could go from $18,500 to $20,000.  He is recommending the Town adopt a four tiered system: 1.5 to 5 acres - $1,200 per acre; 5 to 20 acres - $8,00 per acre; 20 to 50 acres - $600 per acre; and over 50 acres - $400 per acres.  With these new values the mil rate would drop accordingly.  After discussing this proposal and the supporting policy paper, the Board voted 5-0 to table action on this to allow time to consider the effect of such a proposal and various options.

 

Town of Whitefield
Select Board Meeting Minutes
June 19, 2012

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

Select Board actions

1.      The minutes of the June 12 meeting were approved 5-0. 

2.      Two warrants were signed.

3.      Winter sand.  David Boynton came in and reported he plans to put up the winter road sand in September.  We will need the salt by then; Steve will check on this with DOT who is doing a mass purchase bid. 

4.      Plowing contractor.  The Board reviewed a partnership agreement between Spicer Tree and Sam Snow in support of Spicer Tree’s proposal for plowing Town roads.  After doing so, the Board voted 5-0 to authorize the Chair to sign the contract with Spicer Tree.

5.      Six quit claim deeds were signed.

6.      Moderator’s bill.  The Board reviewed a letter from Brian Huntley about his $553.66 bill for moderating the Town Meeting in March.  (This amount was discounted from his normal billing rate of $1,031.)  In discussing this bill, the Board noted Mr. Huntley was not present for many of the hours for which he billed the Town as he had appointed a deputy moderator and left.  The Board voted 4-1 to pay a total of $200, based on approximately 4 hours actually being present at $50 per hour.

7.      Letter regarding F. Monroe.  The Board reviewed a letter from Frank Monroe’s attorney stating objections to remarks made at the June 12 Board meeting about Mr. Monroe’s withdrawal from the 2000 plowing contract with the Town.  A copy of the meeting minutes for that meeting will be provided to the attorney.

8.      Fire Department budget.  In reviewing the status of the current year’s budget, the Board noted the Fire Department has a balance in its account.  This could be used to purchase one air pack that would complement one scheduled for next year’s budget.  (The air packs must be in pairs to be functional.)  Steve will double check the budget status and discuss this with the Department officers.

9.      Mapping presentation.  County Commissioner Sheridan Bond and County Planner Bob Faunce provided the Board with a presentation about aerial photographs that are used for various municipal purposes such as coordinating emergency services, planning board functions and tax maps.  These maps are provided through the State and Lincoln County has signed up for basic coverage for all county towns.  The resolution of this basic service is not too good and various levels of better resolution are available.  In September, the County will hold a meeting for all town select boards to discuss purchasing better resolution maps.  Using these as a base, digital tax maps can be created.  Towns would pay to do this individually.  Sheepscot Valley Conservation Association has the capability to do this work, as do many private firms.  SVCA did digitize tax maps for the Town several years ago to support development of the comprehensive plan. 

 

Assessors’ Actions

The Board discussed using a tiered system to assess rear land.  Under the proposal, rear land would be broken in to four tiers of 1.5 to 5, 5 to 20, 20 to 50 and more than 50 acres.  Each tier would have a different assessment per acre, with the rates declining with the larger number of acres.  This is based on the principle that land typically sells for less per acre as the parcel size increases.  This approach is commonly used in other towns. The Board voted 4-1 to implement this system.  Adopting the concept allows the Assessor’s Agent to move forward with setting up the computer data needed for implementation. The actual rates will be set later once the basic information is in the computer system and various trial rate can be run.

 


Town of Whitefield
Select Board Meeting Minutes
June 26, 2012
Present: Steve McCormick, Tom Colpitt, Lester Sheaffer, Frank Ober and Dennis Merrill

Select Board actions

1.      The minutes of the June 19 meeting were approved 5-0. 

2.      One warrant was signed.

3.      Furnace maintenance.  The Board  agreed to authorize CB Haskell Co. to clean the furnace at the Town Office.

4.      Plowing contractor.  The contract with Spicer Tree for maintenance of winter roads for 2012-2015 was signed.

5.      Generator service.  A service contract for the fire station generator was signed.  Annual cost: $220.

6.      General Assistance.  The Board voted 5-0 to adopt the State’s new General Assistance guidelines:  MMA Model Ordinance Appendix A for the period of 7/1/12 to 6/30/13, as revised 4/1/12.  This imposes a reduction in the maximum amount for General Assistance, consistent with changes to State law.

7.      Salt prices.  Steve noted that the State’s bid price for winter road salt has been received.  The price is $62.30 per ton.  Last year we paid $73.40 per ton. 

8.      Tree removal. The Board authorized Spicer Tree to remove a dead tree in the cemetery on North Hunts Meadow Road for $350.  The trunk will be left for anyone who wants the firewood.  Also, Chris Bishop is to remove dead trees at the intersection of Doyle and Vigue Roads.

9.      Fire station use.  Lore Ford came in to discuss use of the fire station for a July 4 reunion day.  Lore was not sure of the number of people who might attend, but was interested in using the equipment bay if needed.  Due to safety and liability concerns, the Board has some reservations about this.  In a subsequent check with Deputy Chief Higgins, these concerns were confirmed. 

10.  Correspondence.  The Board reviewed miscellaneous correspondence.  None required any direct action by the Board.

11.  Executive session.  The Board went into executive session to discuss a Fire Department personnel matter.  After that session, the Board voted 5-0 to appoint Scott Higgins as Interim Fire Chief, effective July 1, 2012.  The Board also set July 16 as the closure date for applications for permanent fire chief.

 

Assessors’ Actions

1.      Larry Brann came asking for an explanation of the taxes on the Trever Grady property, which he had paid and the Town had refunded.  Larry had paid these having a deed to the property, but that deed was, in the Board’s opinion, not valid since it was given by Mr. Grady after the Town had already acquired the property for non-payment of taxes.  Subsequently, the mortgage company having a legal interest in the property paid the taxes and the property was deeded back to Mr. Grady.

2.  In executive session, the Board considered two requests for poverty abatements.  One was denied and the other will be returned with a request for more information.

 

Town of Whitefield
Select Board Meeting Minutes
July 3, 2012
Present: Steve McCormick, Tom Colpitt, Lester Sheaffer, Frank Ober and Dennis Merrill

Select Board actions

1.      The minutes of the June 26 meeting were approved 5-0. 

2.      Two warrants were signed.

3.      Roads.  Steve reported from David Boynton that recent heavy rains washed out ditches on Main St.  David will make repairs on Thursday. 

4.      Fire Department.  Scott Higgins came in to report that an application for a grant to purchase a new fire truck has been resubmitted.  Also, he noted that Lynn Talacko is staying on as EMS Director.

5.      MDOT request.  The Department of Transportation has sent out its annual urban/Rural Initiative reporting form for FY 13.  This supports the State’s annual block grant to the Town for road improvements.  Steve will follow up in completing the form.

6.      Irish Lane.  A citizen living on Irish Lane is requesting that a road sign be put up.  The sign has been purchased but has not yet been installed.  The Road Commissioner will be asked to do the installation as soon as possible.

 

Assessors’ Actions

1.      Base lot policy.  After discussions, the Board voted 5-0 to approve a revised policy for assessment of base lots.  This replaces the policy adopted last year.  One significant change is clarification of how base lots are assessed on parcels having more than one dwelling.

2.  Land values.  The Board voted 4-1 to adopt a new method for assessing base lots and rear land.  The system sets up four tiers for rear land: up to 5 acres, $1,500 per acre; the next 15 acres, $800 per acre; the next 30 acres, $650 per acre; and acreage over 50, $500 per acre.  Base lots will be valued at $20,000.  Tier systems are commonly used by towns to reflect that land values per acre drop as the size of parcels increase.  The values per acre and the base lot value are based on a review of area real estate sales and practices in other towns.


Town of Whitefield
Select Board Meeting Minutes
July 10, 2012

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

Select Board actions

1.      The minutes of the July 3 meeting were approved 5-0. 

2.      Auditor.  To follow up on an “engagement letter”, Steve will contact our current auditor regarding their fees.  Other towns in the area are paying considerably less for their audits.

3.      Donated artwork.  The Board voted 5-0 to send a letter to Roger Majorowicz thanking him for the donation of a sculpture to be placed at the Fire Station. 

4.      Invoice.  The Board approved an invoice for replacement signs at the recycling center.

5.      Cemetery sexton.  Sam Birch is stepping down as Sexton of the cemetery in Coopers Mills, and a replacement is needed.  There is not a great deal of activity to manage.  Possibly the Select Board could fill this function.  Steve will bring a survey of the cemetery and related information to the next meeting for further discussion.

6.      Public sand.  The Board discussed placing a structure outside of the sand and salt shed for the public to get sand.  One idea is to use large concrete blocks to form the base of the structure.  Steve will look into the cost for such blocks.

7.      Recycling attendant.  Nathan Burns is off to college and will not be an attendant in the future, so another person is needed.  Barbara Wilson has filled in and Dennis will contact her to see if she wants to continue.

Assessors’ Actions

1.      Land values. On a vote of 4-1, the Board voted to approve a position paper explaining the rationale for the rates set for base lots and tiers of rear land.

2.      Abatement.  The Board voted 5-0 to grant an abatement for Lori Bartlett based on a reassessment done by the Assessor’s Agent.

3.      Supplement tax certificates.  The Board tabled action on two warrants for supplemental tax bills for certain properties, apparently for base lots not previously taxed.  More information is needed.  Dennis will follow up.

 

 

Town of Whitefield
Select Board Meeting Minutes
July 17, 2012
Present: Steve McCormick, Tom Colpitt, Lester Sheaffer and Dennis Merrill

Select Board actions

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

2.      Two warrants were signed.

3.      Auditor. Steve will contact our current auditor regarding their fees.  Other towns in the area are paying considerably less for their audits.

4.      Citizen concern.  A citizen came in to express concern with the way a vehicle registration was handled, saying the Town gave different information than the State about the legality of a proposed transaction.

5.      Recycling attendant.  Dennis reported the Barbara Wilson, a current backup person for the Recycling Center, is willing to continue in that role beginning this fall.

6.      Clary Lake.  There is an upcoming water level petition hearing.  The Board will study the recently received materials and consider what position the Town should take in the hearing.

7.      Roads.  The Board discussed general needs for summer road work.  These include shoulder work, brush removal and paving.  Washout of shoulders at many locations may lead to undermining of pavement if not addressed.  Grading and addition of gravel are needed.  Many roads are in need of brush removal; this has not been done in many years.  It may be appropriate to carry over the money raised this year for paving until next year to allow paving of a significant section of road, the Townhouse Road, for example.  There are culverts on Townhouse Road that need work.  We will ask the Road Commissioner to attend a future meeting to discuss this work and priorities.  Finally, the Board discussed the need for a system to track work done on various roads.

8.      RSU bill.  The Board noted information received from the RSU giving the Town’s share of costs for the upcoming year.  The regular education is $1,994,274.98 and adult education is $20,497.93. 

9.      Fire Chief.  One application for Fire Chief was received.  The Board will meet with that person next week.

Assessors’ Actions

1.      Public outreach.  The Board reviewed a press release describing upcoming changes in land values.  We will forward this to the Lincoln County News.  Dennis will follow up.

2.      Abatement.  The Board signed two abatements for Lori Bartlett based on a reassessment done by the Assessor’s Agent.

3.      Supplemental commitments.  The Board signed two warrants for supplemental taxes on various properties.  These were for bills actually sent last fall and were just “catch up” paper work.

Town of Whitefield
Select Board Meeting Minutes
July 24, 2012
Present: Steve McCormick, Tom Colpitt, Frank Ober, Lester Sheaffer and Dennis Merrill

Select Board actions

1.      The minutes of the July 17 meeting were approved 4-0-1. 

2.      Auditing services.  The Board voted 5-0 to engage Cummings, Lamont and McNamee to do the audit for FY 12.  Steve has spoken with the company who agreed to reduce their fee $1,000 from last year.  This firm states it does a more comprehensive audit than others who may charge less.  Approval includes requests that the company will complete the audit earlier than has been done in prior years and to meet with the Board to explain their audit findings.

3.      Auto recycling permit.  The board voted 4-0-1 to approve license renewal for Whitefield Auto Recycling.

4.      Moderator’s bill.  A statement was received from Brian Huntley who moderated this year’s Town Meeting.  He had been paid $200 and is requesting additional payments.  The Board had previously voted to make a maximum payment of $200.  Steve will write to Mr. Huntley explaining this.

5.      Fire station construction.  A request for release of the contractor’s bond was received.  This was from the bonding company.  The Board had previously released the bond.  The request was given to Lynn Talacko for investigation.

6.      Clary Lake.  The Board agreed to offer testimony at the Clary Lake water level petition hearing on Aug 17.  We will testify in support of the petition.

7.      Cemetery sexton.  The Board reviewed surveys of the Coopers Mills Cemetery and voted 5-0 to take on the duties of sexton as a board.

8.      N Whitefield Fire Association.  The now dissolved association had a certificate of deposit that transfers to the Town.  We will ask Gwyn to send a letter to clarify the status of money.

9.      Executive session.  The Board voted 5-0 to go into executive session to discuss a personnel matter with Scott Higgins.

10.  Fire Chief.  The Board voted 5-0 to appoint Scott Higgins as permanent Fire Chief.

11.  Fire station flag pole.  The Board voted 5-0 to form a citizens’ committee to work on installation of a flag pole at the fire station.  We will ask Sue McKeen to chair this committee. Hopefully some firefighters will agree to serve on the committee.

Assessors’ Actions

The Board agreed to more forward to sell tax-acquired land.  Gwyn will be asked to begin this process.

_______________________              ______________________    ________________________
Steven C. McCormick, Chair              Lester Sheaffer                       Franklin A. Ober

________________________            ______________________
Thomas Colpitt                                   Dennis Merrill

 

Town of Whitefield
Select Board Meeting Minutes
July 31, 2012

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

1.     Minutes of July 24 meeting were approved 3-0.
2.     Road Commissioner Dave Boynton came in to discuss plans for paving for the coming years. Dave proposed that we save our paving budget monies this year and carry over to next year to allow us to pave a larger portion of road. A motion was made and voted 3 – 0 to approve this suggestion.
Dave explained that he thinks the roads of highest priority for paving would be Cookson Lane, Palmer Road and the Townhouse Road. The first two are less traveled and can go a little longer without paving, but the Townhouse Road has many issues including needing some ditching done and several culverts that need replacing. Dave proposes to do this work this year to give the fill a chance to settle in preparation for paving next year. Voted 3 – 0 to support this plan of action.
He discussed with the board his plan to look into hiring a mechanical brush cutter to trim back some areas of our roads that are getting over grown with brush. In the coming weeks he will meet with the contractor and get some idea of the cost and how much we can get done. This appears safer and maybe a little cheaper than hiring a crew and chipper to do the work. He plans to report back to the board after his meeting with the contractor.
He also reported that he had removed the rocks from the town land behind the fire and rescue station. He did not place rocks beside the driveway as suggested as he felt that they would create a hazard for plowing the road and the apron to the fire station.
He will check and see if he might improve the drainage along the road in front of the station by doing some ditching.
3.     There was a general discussion about the proposed shed for sand and salt for taxpayer use  next to the town sand and salt building. We have prices for cement blocks that could be used as the base of the building and it seems that we should be able to construct a building on top of the blocks. Dave agreed that he could transport the blocks when the time comes to purchase them. It was strongly suggested that we order our blocks ahead so the vendor will have them ready when needed. We need to develop a plan of the building and move towards getting it constructed.
4.     Dave requested that we order 4 loads of salt ASAP. We need to sign the contract with the state prior to doing that.
5.     Nicole Mathews came in to discuss the issue of the proposed flag in front of the fire station. She was asked to contact Sue McKeen and work with her on the committee that will be developing a plan to install this flag pole.

_____________                _______________                                   _____________
Steve McCormick               Les Sheaffer                         Franklin A. Ober

_____________                ______________
Thomas Colpitt                    Dennis Merrill

Town of Whitefield
Select Board Meeting Minutes
August 7, 2012
Present:  Tom Colpitt, Frank Ober, Lester Sheaffer and Dennis Merrill

Select Board actions

1.      The minutes of the July 31 meeting were approved 3-0-1. 

2.      Document fees.  The Board received an inquiry about the fees of $15 each charged for copies of marriage certificates and birth certificates.  These are State-set fees, not under the Town’s control.  Frank will contact the person to explain this.

3.      Moderator’s bill.  The Board approved a letter to be sent to Brian Huntley about his charges for moderating the Town meeting.  (See previous minutes for details.)

4.      Voting location.  There is a State form to be submitted for approval of a new polling place.  We need to do this to use the new fire station for voting this fall.

5.      Voting booths.  The Board reviewed sources and styles of voting booths to be used at the fire station.  It was decided that the type with curtains would be preferable to other styles.  There are not too many sources of these on the market.  Frank and Dennis will investigate further.

6.      Clary Lake.  The Board agreed to offer testimony at the Clary Lake water level petition hearing on Aug 17.  We will testify in support of the petition.

7.      Fire Chief.  Scott Higgins came in to update the Board.  The brush truck being donated by the Kings Mills association needs a siren, emergency lights and a radio.  The association has run out of funds, so Scott will use Fire Department money out of the existing budget to finish outfitting the truck.  Scott noted another truck has passed its annual inspection, needing some work, about $1,000.

Finally, Scott noted that Clary Lake is an important source of water for fire protection.  From the location of the dam, hose could be run to North Whitefield village.  The Lake was used as a water source for the Whitefield Dry Kiln fire a few years ago.  The Board will include this information in its testimony at the hearing on Clary Lake levels.

8.      Food Bank.  Steve Smith came in to present to the Board a conceptual idea to create a new home for the Whitefield Food Bank.  It is now housed in the basement of the church in Kings Mills, but expanded use by the congregation, less than ideal physical conditions and the need for more space dictate a move.  A committee has been formed to explore a move. One idea is to build a 28 x 36 building, possibly on Town land.  The committee may ask the Town for a $5,000 contribution in each of the next three years.  The Board suggested that the committee come back in December with more firm proposals in advance of the budget process and Town Meeting.

 Assessors’ Actions

The Board met in executive session to discuss an application for a poverty abatement.  It was decided to send a letter requesting more information.
  
_______________________              ______________________    ________________________
Steven C. McCormick, Chair              Lester Sheaffer                       Franklin A. Ober

________________________            ______________________
Thomas Colpitt                                   Dennis Merrill

Town of Whitefield
Select Board Meeting Minutes
August 14, 2012
Present:  Tom Colpitt, Frank Ober, Lester Sheaffer and Dennis Merrill

 

Select Board actions

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

2.      Two warrants were signed.

3.      Two quit claim deeds were signed.

4.      Roads.  David Boynton updated the Board on proposed brush clearing.  A contractor has a cutter mounted on boom from a tractor that may work well to clear brush on Town roads.  However, we want to be sure an adequate job will be done before committing to a full week of work at $130 per hour.  David will monitor the initial work and stop it if the results are not good.  Also, the contractor has been working in Palermo and David will visit those roads.  The alternative would be a crew of people with chain saws and a chipper.

5.      Animal Control Officer.  The Board received an e-mail from our ACO stating use of the Lincoln County shelter is not working out for him.  He covers several communities and the time required for travel to Edgecomb is too much.  If the Kennebec shelter cannot be used, he will have to resign.  Tom will follow up to see if the Kennebec shelter is feasible. 

6.      Insurance claim.  An insurance company made an inquiry about the value of a utility pole damaged by its insured.  Frank will follow up to get more details.  It is not clear the Town owns utility poles.

7.      Public sand supply.  The Board discussed building a small shed for residents outside the salt shed.  This would have large concrete blocks as a base with wooden walls and a metal roof.  Dennis will consult with the plowing contractor and others and prepare a materials list.

8.      Administrative Assistant.  The Board received a letter from Gwyn Dixon announcing her retirement.  This will be effective Dec 31, but she plans to take accrued  earned benefit time (vacation and sick time) in advance of that, with her last work day being Sept 14.  Frank and Steve will meet with Gwyn to discuss this and transition issues.

Assessors’ Actions

1.      The Board voted 4-0 to abate two uncollectible foreclosed accounts.  Both are mobile homes on rented lots and removed from Town.  The former owners were Vorpagel and Russell.

2.  The Board voted 4-0 to deny a poverty abatement request due to the person not providing information that had been requested.

_______________________              ______________________    ________________________
Steven C. McCormick, Chair              Lester Sheaffer                       Franklin A. Ober

________________________            ______________________
Thomas Colpitt                                   Dennis Merrill

Town of Whitefield
Select Board Meeting Minutes
August 21, 2012

Present:  Tom Colpitt, Frank Ober, Lester Sheaffer, Steve McCormick (arrived at 6:30) and Dennis Merrill

Select Board actions

1.      The minutes of the August 14 meeting were approved 4-0. 

2.      Millard and Linda Nickerson came in to discuss four acres of land in Town located on the Windsor town line, Map 19, Lot 39.  They own land in Windsor contiguous with these four acres.  They have been paying taxes on the Whitefield parcel for about 20 years but have no title.  They had been advised by the Board many years ago that the Town did not know who the owner was. They asked if the Town could issue a deed based on payment of taxes.  The land was apparently not tax acquired.  Thus, the Town would not have been in a position to offer a deed. It is possible the Whitefield land is part of the Windsor parcel but not properly described in their deed. After discussion, they were advised to have a title search done to determine the last owner of record for the parcel.

3.      Lincoln County Budget Committee.  The Board noted receipt of the County’s notification of the annual budget committee meeting to be held on September 13 at 7 PM.

4.      Animal Control Officer.  Tom reported that the Kennebec County animal shelter would charge considerably more to serve the Town than does the Lincoln County shelter.  Our current ACO cannot continue if we stay with the Lincoln County facility.  He has recommended a person from Chelsea as a replacement.  Frank will contact her to see if she is interested. 

5.      Fire Department.  Scott Higgins reported that Dave Mason has received his EMS license.  Old hose has been removed from Engine 2.  Scott needs to decide what to do with the hose and some values.  The hose is quite old.  He will consult with other members of the Department.

6.      General correspondence.  The Board reviewed general correspondence received.  None required any action.

7.      EMD Director.  The Board voted 5-0 to appoint Nikki Mathews as Emergency Management Director.

8.      Administrative Assistant.  The Board approved publishing an advertisement to fill the AA position created by Gwyn’s upcoming retirement.

Assessors’ Actions

1.      The Board signed abatements for two mobile homes that were on rented lots and removed from Town.  The former owners were Vorpagel and Russell.

2.      Anne and Vic Grimshaw came in to discuss Map 19, Lot 7.  This parcel is very wet and they felt the taxes are too high.  The Board suggested they have a forester or other qualified professional prepare a report and map describing the wetlands on the parcels.  This could be the basis for adjusting the parcel’s value if appropriate.

3.      Assessors’ Agent Tom Hayes came in to discuss several issues involving implementation of the tiered land value system.

In accordance with State law, contiguous separate parcels of less than 5 acres cannot be combined for tax purposes.  Tom will follow up with the State to resolve some related questions.

Parcels not having a base lot will be taxed as rear land and the rate for the first 5 acres will be the tier one rate.

For people having remote or isolated parcels, they will need to apply to get reduced or no base lot charges.  We will need to get the word out on this.

Tom is making progress in implementing changes to land values and cleaning up other issues; he will be able to work on this year’s tax commitment very soon.

4.   Waste land.  The Board voted 5-0 to set the value of “waste” land at $100 per acre, based on                
Tom Hayes’ recommendation.  Previously, it has been $50 per acre.

_______________________              ______________________    ________________________
Steven C. McCormick, Chair              Lester Sheaffer                       Franklin A. Ober

________________________            ______________________
Thomas Colpitt                                   Dennis Merrill
Town of Whitefield
Select Board Meeting Minutes
August 28, 2012
Present:  Tom Colpitt, Frank Ober, Lester Sheaffer, and Dennis Merrill

Select Board actions

1.      The minutes of the August 21 meeting were approved 4-0. 

2.      Two warrants were signed.

3.      Animal Control Officer.  Margaret Sirois of Chelsea came in to meet the Board.  She is interested in contracting as our ACO. She has worked for Bremen in the past and is being sworn in for the same job in Chelsea.  To work for Whitefield, she would want to be paid mileage from the town line and an hourly rate from the time of being called out.  She would like the Town to provide some sort of official identification such as a badge.  She will be taking refresher training in conjunction with her work for Chelsea.  Further discussions are needed.  She was asked to fill out a job application.

4.      Fire Department.  Scott Higgins reported the bad hose on Engine 2 is being replaced.  Other appurtenances such as valves and nozzles will be modified as needed.

5.      Public salt shed.  The Board voted 4-0 to proceed with purchase of large cement blocks to serve as the foundation of a sand shed for public use. A wooden structure will be built on the blocks.  Even alone they would be helpful in containing sand.  A Notice to Build has been submitted at the Town Office.

6.      The Board noted receipt of an application for part-time work at the recycling center.  The Board will arrange a time to meet the person.

Assessors’ Actions

1.      The Board voted 4-0 to proceed with sale of two parcels of undeveloped land off Hilton Road formerly owned by the Green Heirs and Webster.  Access to these is by two very small parcels in Jefferson that are also tax-acquired.  Jefferson has expressed interest in a joint sale.  After some discussion, the Board voted 3-1 to not do a joint sale. 

2.         In executive session, the Board discussed one poverty tax abatement.  No action taken.

_______________________              ______________________    ________________________
Steven C. McCormick, Chair              Lester Sheaffer                       Franklin A. Ober
 ________________________            ______________________
Thomas Colpitt                                   Dennis Merrill

 

Town of Whitefield
Select Board Meeting Minutes
September 4, 2012

 

Town of Whitefield
Select Board Meeting Minutes
September 11, 2012
Present:  Steve McCormick, Tom Colpitt, Frank Ober, Lester Sheaffer, and Dennis Merrill

Select Board actions

1.      The minutes of the September 4 meeting were approved 5-0. 

2.      Roads.  David Boynton reported the winter sand is put up in the shed.  Everything went well and we got good quality sand.  He does not yet have all of the final numbers but it appears the sand cost $8.43 per yard to buy and put up.

3.      Two warrants were signed.

4.      Two quit claim deeds were signed.

5.      Plowing bond.  The Board reviewed the bond submitted by Spicer Tree for plowing of the roads this winter, and had no concerns.  Also, we need to inspect the trucks; Tom will coordinate this.

6.      D.A.R. request. The Daughters of the American Revolution submitted a document asking that the Town recognize Sep 17 to 23 as Constitution Week.  The Board voted 5-0 to do this.

7.      Executive session 1.  The Board voted to go into executive session to discuss a personnel matter.  Following the session, the Board voted 5-0 to hire Diane Brush as an attendant at the Recycling Center, to fill in when Jeff Newell is not available.

8.      Clary Lake dam.  George Fergusson of Clary Lake Association came in to discuss possible Town ownership of the dam.  This could be an option if the current owner decides to give up ownership.  The Association would pay all maintenance and operating costs but is concerned about liability issues.  A town is better protected from liability claims.  George will be meeting with the Jefferson selectboad as well since joint municipal ownership is a possibility.  This was a general and preliminary discussion and the Board was not asked to take any action.  To take ownership of the dam, a vote of the Town Meeting would be required.  Another possibility would be for a LLC to be formed to own the dam.  Finally, George noted that DEP has yet to decide on a water level order and getting that in place would be the next step in any event.

9.      The Board received a letter from Roger Marjorwicz describing the sculpture he is donating to the Town.  This is now located at the fire station.

10.  Executive session 2.  The Board voted to go into executive session to review applications received for the Administrative Assistant position. 

Assessors’ Actions

1.      Executive session 3.  The Board voted to go into executive session to review an application for a poverty tax abatement.

2.   Tax commitment.  The Board voted 4-1 to set a mil rate of 14.75 for the 2012 tax bills, and based on the valuation amounts in tax commitment papers prepared by Assessor’s Agent Tom Hayes.  The commitment papers were signed. 

 

_______________________              ______________________    ________________________
Steven C. McCormick, Chair              Lester Sheaffer                       Franklin A. Ober

________________________            ______________________
Thomas Colpitt                                   Dennis Merrill

 

Town of Whitefield
Select Board Meeting Minutes
September 18, 2012
Present:  Steve McCormick, Tom Colpitt, Lester Sheaffer, and Dennis Merrill

Select Board actions

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

2.      Plow trucks.  Tom reported he had inspected plow trucks to be used by Spicer Tree this winter to maintain Town roads.  Spicer Tree has more than the minimum number of vehicles required by the contract and all were in excellent condition.  The sanders are the centerline type with computer controls.

3.      The Board voted 4-0 to set the pay for the newly hired recycling attendant at $9.00 per hour.

4.      Noise issues.  Some residents came in asking for a noise ordinance to be proposed.  They were concerned with noise from a neighbor’s continuing excavation and building activities.  That project was under a now-expired permit issued by the Planning Board.  Rather than proceed with an ordinance, the Board suggested that the issue addressed by the Code Enforcement Officer, who could stop the work until a new permit is issued.  The Planning Board can address noise issues when considering a new permit.

5.      Fire Department.  Scott Higgins reported that two policies not found during an insurance inspection are in place.  There were there right along but were overlooked by the inspector.  Scott noted that all policies required by state or federal law are in one book.  He is working on updating equipment lists for insurance purposes.

6.      The Board noted a complaint had been received about heavy construction vehicles using Maine Street, and possibly damaging the road.  There are no restrictions that would prevent any vehicle from using the road.  We will inspect the pavement.

7.      Tax certificates.  The Board signed certificates of settlement for 2006 to 2012 taxes that transfer tax collection from the now-retired Gwyn to Robin.

8.      Invoice.  The Board approved an invoice for $4,000 for cutting of roadside brush.

Assessors’ Actions

The Board signed one abatement. 

_______________________              ______________________    ________________________
Steven C. McCormick, Chair              Lester Sheaffer                       Franklin A. Ober

________________________            ______________________
Thomas Colpitt                                   Dennis Merrill

Town of Whitefield
Select Board Meeting Minutes
Sept. 25, 2012
Present:  Frank Ober, Tom Colpitt, Lester Sheaffer, and Dennis Merrill

Select Board actions

1.      The minutes of the September 18 meeting were approved 3-0-1. 

2.      Two warrants were signed.

3.      David Boynton reported he would get the concrete blocks for the public sand shed on Thursday.

4.      County budget.  The Board noted a draft of the County’s proposed budget for next year.

5.      ACO.  The County has sent a letter inquiring if towns would be interested in participating in hiring a county animal control officer.  This raised several questions: cost, apportionment of costs, how shelter costs would be figured, the number of officers, response time and general details of the program.  These questions will be forwarded to the County.

6.      Utility poles.  The Board noted a communication form Central Maine Power saying they plan to replace several poles on route 218 and or 126.

7.      Tree removal.  The Board voted 4-0 to have Spicer tree remove dead trees at the intersection of Doyle and Vigue Roads. 

8.      Rat issue.  The Board discussed an issue with rats in the area of Doyle Road near the Windsor town line.  The source of these is a residence in Windsor and that town is taking the lead in investigating and controlling the issue.  Apparently, a person has been raising and releasing domesticated rats.

9.      The Board voted to go into executive session to discuss a personnel matter.  Following the session, no formal action was taken.

Assessors’ Actions

Assessor’s agent Tom Hayes brought to the Board’s attention an abatement request that had been overlooked.  The structure in question had been classified as a ranch style home when it actually is a double-wide mobile home.   The Board voted 4-0 to grant an abatement.

_______________________              ______________________    ________________________
Steven C. McCormick, Chair              Lester Sheaffer                       Franklin A. Ober

________________________            ______________________
Thomas Colpitt                                   Dennis Merrill
Town of Whitefield
Select Board Meeting Minutes
October 2, 2012
Present:  Frank Ober, Tom Colpitt, Lester Sheaffer, and Dennis Merrill

Select Board actions

1.      The minutes of the September 25 meeting were approved 4-0. 

2.      Junk yard issue.  Some residents came in to express concerns with an auto disassembly operation on Mills Road that is operating without proper permits.  Among other things, they were concerned with potential risks to ground water.  This has been a long-standing problem that the CEO has investigated before.  We will contact the CEO and further investigate the laws involved.

3.      Fire department.  Scott Higgins reported he in investigating a 50-50 grant for forest fire equipment.  The ladders have been inspected and are in good shape.  The new air packs are in service.  A resident questioned the cost of operating the consolidated fire department versus the associations.  After some discussion, Dennis will look up some old budgets to see how the costs compare.

4.      Tax loan.  The Board voted 4-0 to authorize the Treasurer to obtain a tax anticipation note in the amount of $500,000.  We are only charged interest on that portion actually used; it is cheaper to take out more than needed at this time since legal fees for a second note, if necessary, can be avoided.

5.      State valuation.  The Board noted the State’s notice that it has set the Town’s valuation at $181,100,000.  This is used as the basis for some State payments to the Town.  We will ask the Assessor’s agent to review this.

6.      Risk pool.  The Board noted a request from MMA’s risk pool for information on payroll numbers to underwrite worker’s compensation.

7.      New business.  The Board noted information received from a person planning to open a bakery at Sheepscot General.

8.      Rat issues.  The ACO has reported additional complaints about rats on Doyle Road.

9.      General assistance.  The Board voted 4-0 to adopt a new schedule of housing maximums for general assistance.  This is Appendix C of the ordinance.

10.  The Board voted 4-0 to go into a brief executive session.

11.  New Administrative Assistant.  The Board 4-0 to hire Aaron Miller of Alna as our new Administrative Assistant.  He has a background in journalism and for the last three years has served as deputy clerk, deputy tax collector and deputy treasurer in Boothbay Harbor.
  
Assessors’ Actions

A person came in to ask about the assessment on land she owns on Crocker Ave.  This is a discontinued road that provides only limited and difficult access to the middle section where the land is located.  A policy on base lot assessment will be mailed to her and we will discuss the situation with the assessor’s agent.

Town of Whitefield
Select Board Meeting Minutes
October 9, 2012
Present:  Steve McCormick, Frank Ober, Tom Colpitt, Lester Sheaffer, and Dennis Merrill

Select Board actions

1.      The minutes of the October 2 meeting were approved 4-0-1. 

2.      Two warrants were signed.

3.      Tree removal.  Steve reported Spicer Tree has taken down and removed dead trees at the intersection of Doyle and Vigue Roads.

4.      Fire Department.  Scott Higgins reported the Department is working on a presentation at the school for fire prevention week.  There was a discussion of Fire Department budgets for the last several years, as prepared by Dennis.  For operational costs (personnel and general expenses), the formation of the consolidated town department has not had any significant effect on overall expenditures.

5.      Emergency Management.  We currently do not have an Emergency Management Director.  Scott Higgins will contact possible candidates.  Anyone interested can call the Scott.

6.      Funding request.  The Board noted receipt of a request from the Children’s Center for consideration for funding next year.  Requested amount: $1,136.50.

7.      Lion’s Club request.  The Lion’s Club is planning a Christmas party and is requesting the names of needy children in the area.

 

Assessors’ Actions

1.      To follow up on a taxpayer inquiry, the Board reviewed a lot on Crocker Ave. with consideration to the value of base lots due to inaccessibility.  The taxpayer will be advised to file an abatement request.  Base lots for all parcels in the area will be reviewed for next year’s taxes.

2.      Taxpayer inquiry.  A resident came in to ask about land values.  The Board explained how the tiered system of land values works.  The resident also expressed concern with ever-increasing property taxes.

3.      Sale of tax acquired property.  The Board discussed selling some parcels that are tax acquired land.  Two of these have portions in Jefferson and Frank will contact Jefferson to see about a joint advertisement.  One other parcel in the Town’s records is apparently part of a single larger parcel in a landowner’s deed. The person has paid the taxes on the other part of the parcel.  This situation will need further investigation before a sale can go forward.

_______________________              ______________________    ________________________
Steven C. McCormick, Chair              Lester Sheaffer                       Franklin A. Ober

________________________            ______________________
Thomas Colpitt                                   Dennis Merrill
Town of Whitefield
Select Board Meeting Minutes
October 16, 2012
Whitefield selectmen’s meeting October 16, 2012
Present: Steve McCormick, Tom Colpitt, Lester Sheaffer, Dennis Merrill and Frank Ober

Select board actions:
1. Minutes of the October 2 meeting were approved 5-0
2. Road Commissioner David Boynton reported that he was planning on doing some surface work on some of our gravel roads: Hollywood Boulevard, Devine Road and Benner Lane completing work started last year. He is also planning on doing some cold patch work prior to freezing weather.
3. A committee representing the local food bank came in to ask selectmen for any assistance we could offer in locating a new location for a food bank. The Sheepscot Valley Community Church is growing and needs the space for classrooms. A suggestion was made to approach the grange and see if they might provide a space for the food bank. At this time the town does not have any space available in any of our present buildings.
4. Chiefs Higgins and Talacko reported that Engine 2 had passed inspection with some work done, hose was tested and passed and they were planning on meeting with Heidi Swiderek of Maine Municipal Association to coordinate the insurance information on our policies. Chief Higgins reported that he may have a candidate for the Emergency Management Director.
5. The board discussed hiring a new lawyer for the town now that Cliff Goodall has retired. Several possible candidates will be asked to come and talk with the board.
6. Board signed nine copies of the RSU warrants.
7. Board set a hearing for next week for the new Schedule C for General Assistance.
8. Board reviewed modified layout for voting at the fire station on November 6th.
9. Two General Assistance reports were signed.
10. Dennis reported that the base for the salt and sand shed is to ready build on. A work session has been set for October 27th.
11. Board members Tom and Frank are planning on doing a road tour with our plowing contractor Dave Spicer and Sam Snow in the next week or so.
Assessors Actions
1. A taxpayer came in with an abatement request which will be given to Tom Hayes for evaluation.
2. Two abatements were signed
3. Regarding tax acquired property sales: Research is being done on the issues around the ownership of some of the properties. Tom Hayes has been asked to research this.

Steve McCormick, Chair      Lester Sheaffer         Tom Colpitt

Dennis Merrill        Franklin Ober
Town of Whitefield
Select Board Meeting Minutes
October 23, 2012
Present: Steve McCormick, Frank Ober, Tom Colpitt, Lester Sheaffer, and Dennis Merrill
Administrative Assistant Aaron Miller
Select Board actions
1. The minutes of the October 16 meeting were approved 5-0.

2. Two warrants were signed.

3. Match Motors. The new owner of Match Motors came in with paper work for change of ownership needed to obtain a new State license. The paper work was signed.

4. Fire Department. Scott Higgins reported MMA will be coming Oct 31 to review information regarding insurance underwriting. They are in the process of hose testing; problems were found with the hose on one truck.

5. Roads. David Boynton reported So. Fowles Ln., and Hollywood Blvd., and Devine Rd. have been resurfaced and graded. Benner Ln. will be done soon. Potholes are being patched on various paved roads. There is a short section on Hollywood Blvd. where the roadside brush is especially bad and David will be cutting that back. On Friday, Frank and Tom will accompany Spicer Tree on a tour of Town roads in preparation for the plowing season. They will identify all roads to be plowed and turn-around locations.

6. Recycling. The Board noted a letter from Coopers Mills fire association expressing interest in getting returnable bottles collected at the Recycling Center. The request will be forwarded to the Recycling Committee.

7. Historical Society. Libby Harmon came in to discuss improvements to the Historical Society’s area in the Townhouse. They want to remove two voting booths that are not original to the building. Also, they want to improve the electrical system by adding some outlets and new circuits. A licensed and insured electrician would do this work. The Historical Society would pay for the work with its funds. The Board voted 5-0 to authorize this work.

8. Paperwork for the bank to add Aaron Miller to the Town’s account was signed.

9. General assistance. The Board noted that a public hearing has been set up for Oct 30 to receive comments on proposed changes to GA guidelines.

10. No. Whitefield fire association. The now defunct association has a certificate of deposit that was intended to be transferred to the Town. The money remains from Town payments to the association over the years. Aaron will prepare a letter to the bank. Also, we will try to learn if the association had any specific desires for use of the money by the Town.

 

Assessors’ Actions

1. The Board signed two abatements for Ronald Miller to adjust for a mobile home that was previously removed from his property.

2. Nancy and Arthur Peters came in with concerns over the amount of acreage in a parcel they own. A portion of the parcel is in Windsor. The land was bought in 1973 and listed as 40 acres until 1991 when the Town changed the size to 51.9 acres. The basis for the change is unclear, although the exact acreage of 51.9 suggests specific information was available to prompt the change. The Peters now assert the Whitefield portion of the parcel is 40 acres. We will need to research this further.

3. The Board voted 5-0- to approve an abatement for the Corbin property since there is no building on the property as was assessed.

4. A request was received from Richard Howell and Dorothy Burns to combine lots on both sides of Townhouse Road, Map 13, Lots 8, 13 and 56. We will consult with the Assessor’s Agent and research the law before taking action.

5. The Board voted 5-0 to approve an abatement for Heather Ryan to reduce by 50% the value of the base lot on her Crocker Ave parcel. The lot is remote and not as easily developed as if it were readily accessible to power and a maintained public road.

6. The Board voted 5-0 to approve two abatements for Steve Smith’s land on Route 17. One parcel has a well but no septic. The other parcel has septic but no well. They had been assessed as each having both improvements.

7. Sam Bartlett came in inquiring about his house and garage. These are assessed as being two lots but Mr. Bartlett said there is actually only one lot. He will be provided with the forms to request an abatement. Also, he wants to combine two parcels (accounts 199 and 1023) and three parcels (Map 17, Lots 26, 30A and 30C). We will research these.

Steve McCormick, Chair      Lester Sheaffer         Tom Colpitt

Dennis Merrill        Franklin Ober

Town of Whitefield
Select Board Meeting Minutes
October 30, 2012
Present: Steve McCormick, Frank Ober, Tom Colpitt, Lester Sheaffer, and Dennis Merrill
Administrative Assistant Aaron Miller
Select Board actions
1. The minutes of the October 23 meeting were approved 5-0.

2. Municipal valuation. The State municipal valuation return was signed. This serves as the basis for some State grants and payments to the Town.

3. Fire Department. Scott Higgins reported that during hurricane Sandy, the Department ran a mock disaster event as a training exercise. All went well. Scott introduced Richard Parlin, a firefighter, who is interested in the Emergency Management Director job. He will complete a job application form and the Board will then take action on that application. A large tree is broken off and hung up near Townhouse Road. While on private property, this poses a public hazard if it were to fall. The road commissioner will be contacted and asked to notify the property owner and request the tree be taken down.

4. Fire truck. Chief Higgins asked the Board to sign a form that will allow him to investigate acquiring a federal surplus 5 ton truck through the Maine Forest Service. This would be valuable as a heavy-duty forest fire truck. Cost – free, although we would have to outfit it with a water tank and pump. The truck would carry 1,000 gallons of water, and that would also be helpful in responding to all fires. The Board voted 5-0 to sign the form. This only authorizes looking at a potential truck should one become available but does not authorize any purchase.

5. Handley Lane. This discontinued road is accessed through East Pittston. A property owner there has inquired about winter maintenance. We will let that person know the road is not an active Town road. Also, there were some questions about the addressing of this road for 911 purposes. It was an extension of Philbrick Lane and if that name is still being attached to the road, it could be a problem in directing emergency responders.

6. General assistance hearing. The Board held a brief public hearing on adoption of a revised Appendix C to the GA ordinance. No comments were received and the Board voted 5-0 to adopt the new appendix.

7. Route 126. The Board received notice that the State DOT intends to repave Route 126. The intersection of Rooney Road is a safety concern due to line of sight on a curve and we will contact the DOT to see if corrections can be made in conjunction with the paving project.

8. Administrative Assistant. Aaron Miller reported on several items:

a. He is now using a logbook to record mileage for Town business. Reimbursement will be at the IRS approved rate;
b. He will be attending a training course for tax collecting. Robin will be invited to attend as well.
c. The general assistance program in seeking the names of veterans receiving GA to include them in other assistance programs.
d. The general fund currently has a balance of about $351,000, including the proceeds of the tax anticipation note we recently took out.
e. Tax receipts Since July 1 have been about $523,000.
f. At Aaron’s request, the Board signed letters of authorization to our banks adding him to the accounts and removing Gwyn.

9. Tax acquired property. After some discussion, the Board decided to advertise for public sale tax map 11, lots 34 and 35. The abutters will be notified of the sale. The properties at tax map 7 lot 41 and 42 appear to be part of the same deed. This would affect the tax and interest owed. We will refigure the amount due eliminating one base lot and present this information to the owner of record before proceeding with sale of the property.

Assessors’ Actions

1. The Board signed four abatements: Corbin, Ryan and Smith (2)..

2. The Board voted 5-0 to approve three abatement requests: 1) Perry and Jumars for part of a parcel of land they did not purchase. 2) Jamison Grady for a part of a parcel he did not purchase ( a supplemental bill will be sent to the person retaining the balance of the property). 3) Soule removing the base lot for a parcel that is mostly in resource protection and not buildable.

3. The Board voted 5-0 to adopt the policy of allowing undeveloped lots of 5 acres or more to be combined for tax purposes, provided the action is consistent with State law. This includes parcel divided by a road, power line, etc.

4. A request from Richard Howell and Dorothy Burns to combine lots on both sides of Townhouse Road, Map 13, Lots 8, 13 and 56 was approved 5-0.

Steve McCormick, Chair      Lester Sheaffer         Tom Colpitt

Dennis Merrill        Franklin Ober
Town of Whitefield
Select Board Meeting Minutes
November 6, 2012

Present: Frank Ober, Tom Colpitt, Lester Sheaffer, and Dennis Merrill
Administrative Assistant Aaron Miller

Select Board actions

1. The minutes of the October 30 meeting were approved 4-0.

2. Two warrants were signed.

3. Emergency Management Director. The Board voted 4-0 to appoint Richard Parlin Jr. as Emergency Management Director.

4. Vigue Road speed limits. Aaron reported a resident has expressed concerns about the speed limit being too fast on Vigue Road. The DOT has been contacted to evaluate the situation. The resident was also advised to contact the Sheriff’s Office.

5. Salt shed. The overhead opener is not working. It was worked on within the last year or two and we will need to run down who did that work and contact the company to investigate the current problem. Also, Frank reported work on the public sand shed is coming along well with only the metal roof and some final trim to be done. This will hopefully be done this weekend.

6. Administrative Assistant Aaron Miller reported on several items:
a. He has prepared a newspaper advertisement for sale of two parcels of tax-acquired property off Hilton Road. This will be run for the next two weeks.
b. Aaron is investigating repainting the Town office interior. This could be done using inmates from the county jail and no cost other than the materials and perhaps a pizza. The Board agreed with moving forward on this. First, there should be general clean-up and organization the office space
c. We are already receiving funding requests from non-profits. To receive full consideration, these should be received by December 1. Aaron proposes to use a standard funding request form to get the same basic information from all requestors so comparisons can be made. The Board agreed with this approach.
d. The County has requested contact information for winter road maintenance issues. They will be provided with David Spicer’s phone numbers.
e. The general fund currently has a balance of about $_________,
Assessors’ Actions

1. The Board signed three abatements: Grady, Perry & Jumars and Soule..

2. The Board voted 4-0 to approve one abatement request for the Mooneys to correct a clerical error in the Town’s records.

_______________________ ______________________ ________________________
Steven C. McCormick, Chair Lester Sheaffer Franklin A. Ober

________________________ ______________________
Thomas Colpitt Dennis Merrill
Town of Whitefield
Select Board Meeting Minutes
November 13, 2012
Present: Frank Ober (arrived late), Tom Colpitt, Lester Sheaffer, and Dennis Merrill
Administrative Assistant Aaron Miller

Select Board actions

1. The minutes of the November 6 meeting were approved 3-0.

2. Fire Department. Chief Higgins asked about fuel deliveries and furnace cleanings for the stations. We have contracted for fuel, and Frank will check on deliveries. McCormick’s has cleaned furnaces in the past and will be contracted.

3. Mutual aid. The Board voted 4-0 to enter into a mutual aid agreement with Somerville for fire services. The agreement proposed by Somerville was signed.

4. Vigue Road speed limits. The Board voted 4-0 to send a letter to the DOT requesting a traffic evaluation to determine proper speed limits. The recommendation could be higher or lower than the current situation.

5. Salt shed. The overhead opener was repaired by Lee’s; they replaced a control switch. The small shed for public sand has been completed.

6. Administrative Assistant Aaron Miller reported on several items:

a. He provided a form for non-profits to apply for funding consideration. On a 3-0 vote the Board approved the form with some amendments.
b. Aaron confirmed the suggestions for Spirit of America awards.
c. The general fund currently has a balance of about $426,000.

7. The Board voted to go into executive session to discuss two personnel matters. No action was required following these discussions.

 

Assessors’ Actions

1. The Board signed one abatement: Mooney to correct a clerical error.

2. The Board voted 3-0 to approve an abatement request for the Cayers to adjust the size of their parcel, based on a land survey that was provided. Dennis noted he had looked into ownership of the balance of the parcel and found it may belong to the Morehouse estate. This information will be given to the Assessor’s Agent for further investigation.

3. The Board voted 3-0 to table an abatement request from Coastal Enterprises in order to get more information.

4. A letter to the Peters regarding the size of their parcel was reviewed. With one change it will be sent out. In order change the parcel size in its records, the Town would need a survey to validate the parcel size.

5. Dennis reported that the tax acquired land formerly owned by M. Fenderson is all in one deed, and not two parcels as described in the Town’s records. We will need to recalculate the tax and costs owed for a single parcel. This information will be given to Mr. Fenderson for his consideration.
_______________________ ______________________ ________________________
Steven C. McCormick, Chair    Lester Sheaffer                      Franklin A. Ober
________________________ ______________________
Thomas Colpitt                         Dennis Merrill

 

Town of Whitefield
Select Board Meeting Minutes
November 20, 2012
Present: Steve McCormick, Frank Ober, Tom Colpitt, Lester Sheaffer, and Dennis Merrill
Administrative Assistant Aaron Miller

Select Board actions

1. The minutes of the November 13 meeting were approved 4-0-1.

2. Fire Department. Chief Higgins got a call from the ISO insurance rating organization. It has been many years since they have reviewed Whitefield’s status. He will begin the process of updating with ISO. Chief Higgins and Lynn Talacko reviewed some elements of the Department’s budget with the Board. Finally, there was a general discussion about the Department’s future needs for equipment and building space. In general, the Department is following the February 2005 assessment report. Chief Higgins will review that plan with an eye toward space and truck requirements going forward. For example, the tanker and pumper trucks in Coopers Mills are getting old and could be replaced with one new combination pumper/tank truck. This sort of long-range planning should be discussed with the Coopers Mills association as they move forward with plans for a new station.

3. Two warrants were signed.

4. Worker’s Compensation. Aaron Miller distributed copies of MMA’s annual Worker’s Compensation rating form. This needs to be completed and returned soon. The Fire Department’s input is needed.

5. Roads. David Boynton will look into improvements to the road leading to the salt shed and recycling area (Balltown Lane).

6. Tax acquired land. Bids were received for two parcels on Hilton Road. Due to some question about the location of the property line with relation to a neighboring building, the Board voted 4-1 to table opening the bids until more information is collected. Tom, Lester and Dennis will follow up.

7. Administrative Assistant. Aaron presented the following items:

a. A letter of appreciation to Erik Ekholm for his work on the public sand shed was signed by the Board. Frank and Dennis were also recognized for working on the shed.
b. Aaron provided background information received from a resident concerning junkyard laws. CEO Arthur Strout will be in next week to discuss enforcement of junkyard laws.
c. The current cash on hand is $341,455.

8. The Board voted to go into executive session to discuss a personnel matter. No action was required following the discussions.

 

Assessors’ Actions

1. The Board signed one abatement: Cayer to correct the amount of land in the parcel.

2. The Board considered seven abatement requests. All were recommended by the Assessor’s Agent stemming from corrections or updates to the Town’s records. All seven were approved by votes of 5-0 each:

  1. Coastal Enterprises to reduce the parcel size since a portion has been sold and to correct a clerical error;
  2. Bradley Bowden to delete a building previously removed from the property and for changes to the condition of a remaining building;
  3. Robert Blagdon to remove a commercial gravel pit from the parcel as the existing pit is less than 5 acres and not licensed by the State;
  4. Lee Richards for removal of a base lot from land that is isolated and removal of a waterfront designation;
  5. Karl Richards for removal of a base lot from land that is isolated and removal of a waterfront designation;
  6. Violet Richards for removal of a base lot from land that is isolated and removal of a waterfront designation; and
  7. Jean Keegan to reduce the size of a parcel due to the sale of a portion.

_____________________ ______________________ ________________________
Steven C. McCormick, Chair   Lester Sheaffer                   Franklin A. Ober

________________________ ______________________
Thomas Colpitt                                 Dennis Merrill

Town of Whitefield
Select Board Meeting Minutes
November 27, 2012
Present: Steve McCormick, Frank Ober, Tom Colpitt, Lester Sheaffer, and Dennis Merrill
Administrative Assistant Aaron Miller

Select Board actions

1. The minutes of the November 27 meeting were approved 5-0.

2. Fire Department. The Board discussed additional insurance premiums for the fire trucks to get full replacement cost coverage. The cost of this is $453 per year for all four trucks. The risk of major damage to a fire truck might be small but in such an event, the cost to the Town to replace the truck could be very large. The Board voted 3-2 to purchase the extra insurance. There is enough money in the current budget to cover the added cost.

Chief Higgins noted that even small power interruptions trip the fire station’s alarm system resulting in the alarm company calling him at all hours of the day. Also, sometimes a power loss can cause the bay door to open, possibly due to power surges. We will probably need to consult with the alarm company and an electrician.

3. Junkyard violations. CEO Arthur Strout attended the meeting to discuss long-standing concerns over a junkyard operation on Mills Road. By State law, junkyards must be permitted the Town; this one is not. Notices have been sent in the past and the discussions have been had with the property owners. Generally, the law does not allow permitting of junkyards closer than 300 feet from a neighboring well. In this case, given the size and shape of the lot, this may not be possible and neighbors have long had concerns about groundwater contamination. After some discussion, the Board voted 5-0 to seek legal advice and move forward to correct existing violations.

4. Tax acquired property 1. The Board opened six bids for tax acquired property described on tax map 11, lots 33 and 34, 2.2 and 34 acres, respectively. The taxes owed are $4024.66 on lot 34 and $1298.90 on lot 33, although the latter may have been over-assessed since it does not have enough road frontage (100’) to meet the Town minimum lot size. The bids received were:

Fred Woodbury both lots $5000
David and Melissa Boynton lot 34 $1450
Laura Kenney lot 33 $590
Laura Kenney lot 34 $1471
Sam Bartlett lot 34 $2451
Franklin Smith both lots $5000

The Smith bid contained several conditions not consistent with the bid specifications.

The Board voted 5-0 to accept the bid from Fred Woodbury.

5. Tax acquired property 2. Dennis reported on his investigation of the property formerly owned by Mark Fenderson, Map 7, lots 41 and 42. These two lots have been listed in Town records as two separate parcels. However, the deed shows them as one unit. This would have the net effect of removing one base lot and combining the total acreage into one lot. In doing this, the value of the land is reduced. Mr. Fenderson had paid the back taxes on one lot, but not the other. After recalculating the value on one combined parcel plus interest and costs and giving credit for past payments, the balance clear the account is about $1660. A letter will be sent to Mr. Fenderson to see if he is interested in clearing the account before the parcel is put out for public bid.

6. Administrative Assistant. Aaron present the following items:

a. Aaron and Steve went to Key Bank and Savings Bank of Maine to take Gwyn’s name off Town accounts there and add Aaron’s. Aaron will be looking into the various accounts and the possibility of combining some at a single bank to simplify things.
b. The auditors will be here Friday to conduct the annual audit.
c. The current cash on hand is $638,040.74. Tax payments are coming in in advance of the Nov 30 deadline.

7. Pursuant to 1 MRSA §405(A)(6), the Board voted to go into executive session to discuss a personnel matter regarding staff pay. No action was required following the discussions.

9. Pursuant to 1 MRSA §405(A)(6), the Board voted to go into executive session to discuss a personnel matter regarding appointment of a Health Officer. Following the session, the Board voted 5-0 to appoint Nicole Ripley as Town Health Officer. She replaces Sandy Brown.

 

Assessors’ Actions

1. The Board signed seven abatements that were approved last week.

2. The Board met with Brad Bowden to discuss his concerns about taxes for a building on his property that was removed several years ago. The current year’s taxes were abated last week. As to prior years, we will need to research what the law might allow.

3. Assessor’s Agent Tom Hayes presented two supplemental tax biils, both of which the Board voted 5-0 to approve. The first was for Steve Grady for a portion of a parcel he retained in a sale. The Town had recorded that he sold the entire parcel. The buyer previously received an abatement for the same amount of land. The second was for Bob Tupper for 2.6 acres he had purchased but was not initially recorded by the Town.

4. The Board met with Jeff and Beth Vigue concerning combining two parcels on opposite sides of the Vigue Road. They filled out the necessary paperwork that the Board signed. Also they have some wetland areas on their property as delineated in their farm’s nutrient management plan. This will require more follow-up. Finally, they discussed the possibility of placing some of their land in the farm and open space program.
_______________________ ______________________ ________________________
Steven C. McCormick, Chair     Lester Sheaffer                 Franklin A. Ober

________________________ ______________________
Thomas Colpitt                          Dennis Merrill

Town of Whitefield
Select Board Meeting Minutes
December 4, 2012
Present: Frank Ober, Tom Colpitt, Lester Sheaffer, and Dennis Merrill
Administrative Assistant Aaron Miller

Select Board actions

1. The minutes of the November 27 meeting were approved 4-0.

2. Two warrants were signed.

3. Fire Department. Chief Higgins reported the Department has received a donation from a citizen in thanks for the response to a false alarm at his property. Lynn Talacko reported he has been working on stipend payments. Department members will receive $8 per training session and $16 per call. Scott and Lynn distributed a proposed Department budget for next year. Overall it is down $2,350 from this year, and includes $9,000 for air pack and hose replacement as does this year’s budget.

4. New Business.

a. The Board voted 4-0 to have the Town Office close at Noon on Dec 24 and Dec 31, with employees receiving administrative leave. Aaron will get out notification via newspapers, the website and posted notices.
b. The Board reviewed the recycling report for November: 5.6 tons were recycled.
c. A proposal from MMA for “event” insurance was received. Currently, the fire associations have their own private insurance and Chief Higgins will review the MMA proposal to see if it would be a better deal for the associations.

5. Old Business.

a. The Board signed a letter to the Rideouts concerning their unpermitted junkyard. Among other things, the letter requested that the Rideouts attend the December 11 Board meeting.
b. Aaron reported the successful bidder for the tax acquired property on Hilton Road will make payment on Friday, and we can anticipate signing the deed next week.

6. Pursuant to 1 MRSA §405(A)(6), the Board voted to go into executive session to discuss a personnel matter regarding a citizen complaint. No action was taken following the discussions.

7. Pursuant to 1 MRSA §405(A)(6), the Board voted to go into executive session to discuss a personnel matter regarding an unemployment claim. No action was taken following the discussions.

8. Animal Control Officer. The Board met with ACO Peggy Sirois. She was given use of a Town ACO badge for official identification. As a result of a call where she had to transport a dog, her vehicle is infested with fleas. The Board agreed she should be reimbursed for a “flea bomb” to get rid of the fleas - about $25. She also inquired about getting a safety vest as one is required for work along roadways. We will check with the fire department to see if one is available. Finally, Peggy was concerned about her mileage costs that are more than she had anticipated when she proposed a fixed monthly stipend. She has not been keeping records of time and miles, but will begin doing so and we will review her activities as we go forward and change to a hours and miles payment scheme if that is more appropriate.

9. Freedom of information. The Board voted 4-0 to appoint Aaron as the Town’s freedom of information officer.

 

Assessors’ Actions

The Board voted 3-1 to send a letter to Mark Fenderson revising the account for the parcel in Kings Mills in his name. The Town has merged two lots into one and eliminated one base lot to reflect the description in the deed and reduced the amount owed.

Town of Whitefield
Select Board Meeting Minutes
December 11, 2012
Present: Tom Colpitt, Lester Sheaffer, Dennis Merrill and Steve McCormick (arrived late)
Administrative Assistant Aaron Miller

Select Board actions

1. The minutes of the December 4 meeting were approved 3-0.

2. Fire Department. Chief Higgins reported a representative from the ISO has spoken with him to update their records for Whitefield. The Chief noted the sheriff’s office no longer does background checks for job applicants and we would have to go to the State which charges for the service. Aaron will investigate the need and alternatives with MMA. There was a discussion of how to handle department members who may be on prescribed drugs that might impair their performance or show positive in a drug test. Marijuana is a particular concern since it stays in the body for up to a month after use. There is no easy answer for this issue. Finally, there was general discussion about the department’s proposed budget for next year.

3. The Board signed two deeds to Fred Woodbury for purchase of the former Webster and Green properties on Hilton Road. The Board also voted 3-0 to approve an abatement on the Green property to reconcile the account with the bid amount accepted.

4. Speed limit issue. A resident on Henry Lane came in to express concern about the speed of traffic. There is currently no posted speed limit on that lane. Aaron will prepare a letter to the State DOT requesting an assessment be done.

5. Town website. Debbie Rogers who operates the Town’s website came in to meet with the Board. The current host for the website is going out of business and a new one must be found. The Board authorized Debbie to do so. Also, Debbie has been maintaining the site for three years at no cost to the Town; with was originally intended to be a one-year job. She would like to continue, but would like a $200 per year stipend for all the time she puts in. The Board agreed and acknowledged Debbie’s contribution to the Town. Finally, there was a discussion of possible expansion of the site’s content, which Debbie would like to do.

6. Notary Services. Aaron proposed a policy for providing notary services for the public at the Town Office. Many towns around the state already provide this service. Notary services would be provided to Town residents at no charge and non-residents would be charged $5 per signature. Weddings would be preformed for a fee of $25 for all. The Board voted 3-0 to adopt the proposed policy with one small wording change; it will be signed next week.

7. New Business.

a. The Board noted a letter from the US Department of Commerce saying they will be conducting a routine boundary survey for town properties.
b. There was general discussion of the budget line in preparation for developing next year’s budget and the process going forward. . The current budget for lien costs is about used up already and no credits are shown. Aaron will research what happens to monies received for prepayment of lien costs. Similarly, he will also investigate the overlay budget line.
c. Aaron reported the annual audit of the Town’s books is going well and the auditor’s preliminary report is expected soon.

8. Old Business.

a. Aaron reported that he purchased a clipboard and safety vest for the ACO’s use.
b. In a response to a letter sent by the Board concerning operation of an unpermitted junkyard, the Rideouts came in to discuss cleanup of their property. This is underway and should be completed by the end of the week. We will conduct a follow up inspection.

9. Pursuant to 1 MRSA §405(A)(6), the Board voted to go into executive session to discuss a personnel matter regarding compensation. No action was taken following the discussions.

Assessors’ Actions

1. The Board voted 3-0 to approve an abatement for Tim Chase. His property on Mills road was charged a second base lot for the dry kiln that burned down several years ago. Also, the property has been assessed as having two septic systems and two wells, which is not the case.

2. Pursuant to 36 MRSA §841, the Board voted to go into executive session to discuss a tax abatement based on poverty. No action was taken following the discussions.

Town of Whitefield
Select Board Meeting Minutes
December 18, 2012
Present:           Frank Ober, Lester Sheaffer, Steve McCormick and Dennis Merrill
                        Administrative Assistant Aaron Miller

Select Board actions

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

2.      Fire station.  Lynn Talacko provided some information on ceiling tiles for the meeting room.  These have a higher acoustic (sound deadening) factor than regular tiles.  He will be doing some more investigation.

3.      The Board signed two warrants.

4.      The Board signed an abatement for Tim Chase that was approved last week.

5.      New Business.

a.       Aaron reported he has set up direct deposit and has used it successfully for pay checks.  This could possibly be used for regular vendors as well.  The system costs $10 per month and can handle up to 100 transactions.
b.      After some discussion, the Board agreed that the old policy of how payroll checks are authorized/signed needs to be reviewed.

6.      Old Business.

a.       The final notary policy approved last week was signed.  A citizen expressed some concern that notary services being free for residents could impact private individuals who are notaries.
b.      A letter to Me DOT requesting a speed limit evaluation on Henry Road was signed.

7.      Meeting schedule.  With the upcoming holidays, the Board decided to meet on Dec 28 for a budget workshop and Jan 2 for a regular meeting.  Both meetings will be at 6 PM.

8.      Budget process.  The Board discussed the process for developing next year’s budget.  Aaron will circulate a list of last year’s budget committee for Board members to review.  The Committee will have to be appointed on Jan 2 and will hold its meeting starting Jan 8 at 7PM.  The Board set Feb 12 as the date to sign warrants for town meeting.

9.      Budget discussion.  Aaron led a discussion of the current budget we are nearly half way through to highlight some areas that may need attention for next year’s budget.  Following is a brief summary of some of the areas discussed.

·         The animal control officer line is running quite a bit higher than last year.
·         Earned benefit time is overdrawn due to Gwyn’s leaving and taking unused time.
·         Health insurance costs are projected to go up next year, maybe by as much as 20%.
·         The town meeting moderator stipend should be increased to $200.
·         The amount for road ditching is unspent as of now but such work may done in the spring on the road(s) to be paved.
·         The money for paving will be carried forward and combined with money appropriated at town meeting to allow enough to pave a larger segment of road.
·         The allocation for legal advertisements should be increased, say to $500.
·         The budget for registry of deeds is nearly gone and we may want to increase this.  This is due to more liens having to be filed.  The money is recovered when liens are discharged but that is returned to surplus and not included in the current year’s budget.
·         Trash disposal at the Town Office could be cut back.
·         A new door is needed at the Town Office.
·         In the computer maintenance line, we should think about a replacement plan, over time; we should get some technical advice.  Also, provisions should be included for backing up data off-site.
·         The computer software line is tight and future needs should be reviewed.  It would be good to get assessment information available on line via the town’s website.
·         The recycling building needs a new roof; the cost is $2000 for a metal one.
·         Only five requests have been received from various charities.
·         The amount we appropriate for general assistance will need to be reviewed.
·         The Planning Board has not used any money so far this year.
Assessors’ Actions

None