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Town of Whitefield
Select Board Meeting Minutes
January 6, 2015

Present: Sue McKeen, Tony Marple, Frank Ober, Lester Sheaffer and Dennis Merrill
Administrative Assistant Aaron Miller

Select Board actions

  1. The minutes of Dec 30 were approved 4-0-1.

 

  1. A payroll warrant was signed. 
  1. Repurchase agreements.  Aaron reported that of the agreements for repayment of back taxes, those with Thayer and Carlton are currently behind.  He will write a letter to Carlton.

 

  1. Plowing contract.  The Board ratified the contract extension agreement with Spicer Tree for extension of the plowing contract through the 2015-6 season. 
  1. Budget discussion.  The Board continued its discussion of the proposed FY 16 budget. Additional lines were completed and some others were reviewed or discussed with some adjustments being made.  No votes have been taken as yet.

 

  1. Budget Committee.  The Budget Committee convened its first meeting.  Members Carl Ribeiro, Taryn Marcus, David Hayden, Barry Tibbets, Erik Ekholm, Lisa Kolloch and Charlene Donahue were present and sworn in.  Malinda Caron was absent.  Barry was selected as committee chair and Malinda was selected as secretary.  The Board explained its proposed budget using a spreadsheet, and the Committee asked questions and discussed various elements of the proposal.  Considerable time was spent on the roads budget that has increased significantly based on recommendations of the roads committee.  Representatives of that committee will be asked to attend a future Budget Committee meeting.  The roads report will be emailed to committee members.  The role, responsibilities and training for the CEO were also discussed and the Board will follow up on these.  The Board will follow up on maintenance needs for Moosehead Lane. 

Assessor’s Actions

None

 

Town of Whitefield
Select Board Meeting Minutes
January 13, 2015

Present: Tony Marple, Frank Ober, Lester Sheaffer and Dennis Merrill
Administrative Assistant Aaron Miller
Absent: Sue McKeen

Select Board actions

  1. The minutes of Jan 6 were approved 4-0.

 

  1. Payroll and accounts payable warrants were signed. 
  1. Road naming.  Clifton Bronn, Chris Post, Theresa Simpson and addressing officer Tim Chase came in to discuss naming of a right of way Mr. Bronn has over the Post’s land to reach some mobile homes he is placing on his land.  That way needs a name for 911 purposes.  The Posts, whose driveway is part of the right of way, would like to retain their Head Tide Road address.  They proposed to create a parallel drive to make that possible.  This would appear to satisfy the needs of all parties.  The new name for the right of way has not been decided.  The parties will discuss options and come back to the Board, which must the final decision.

 

  1. Budget Committee.  The Budget Committee convened its seond meeting.  Members Carl Ribeiro, Taryn Marcus, David Hayden, Barry Tibbets, Erik Ekholm, Lisa Kolloch and Charlene Donahue were present and sworn in.  Malinda Caron was absent.  The Roads Committee came in to provide an overview of its findings and recommendations and answered questions.  The discussion took much of the meeting.  The Committee also discussed a proposal for a new parking lot adjacent to the fire station.  Erik will meet with some Board members to stake the layout and review options.  Updates to various lines were also discussed and a revised spreadsheet will be sent out for the next meeting.

Assessor’s Actions

Assessor’s Agent Tom Hayes came in give the Board an update of his recent activities.  He also provided information on proposals for identifying and taxing personal property.  This would focus on property used for commercial purposes only.  The Board will review the information for future discussion. 

Supplemental assessments for property owned by Aqua-Fortis were signed.

Town of Whitefield
Select Board Meeting Minutes
January 20, 2015

Present:  Sue McKeen (delayed), Frank Ober, Lester Sheaffer and Dennis Merrill
            Administrative Assistant Aaron Miller
Absent: Tony Marple

 

Select Board actions

  1. The minutes of Jan 13 were approved 3-0.

 

  1. Road naming.  Clifton Bronn and Theresa Post came in to discuss naming of a right of way Mr. Bronn has over the Posts’ land to reach some mobile homes he is placing on his land.  They settled on the name of Angel Line Lane.  This is the name of the CMP power line in the area.  The Town will provide and place a street sign.
  1. Town meeting.  We will contact Jeff Frankel to see if he would like to moderate the annual meeting again this year.  Aaron will investigate the possible use of the Baptist church, as many people seemed to like at location last year.

 

  1. Budget.  The Board had a general discussion of the proposed budget.  One point of discussion was whether or not to support funding requests for the various charitable organizations.
  1. Planning Board request.  Planning Board member Carl Ribeiro presented a proposed amendment to the Development Ordinance that would allow the Select Board to set the fees for applications annually.  The current fees have been in place for many years and the Planning Board would like to have a new method to keep them current.  Fees are intended to cover costs of processing an application.  After some discussion, no conclusion was reached on putting the proposal on the warrant for town meeting.  Also, Carl proposed an article that would formally establish the Planning Board and outline its duties.  This is something of a formality as such an action has not been found in Town records.

 

  1. Budget Committee.  The Budget Committee convened its third meeting.  Members Carl Ribeiro, Taryn Marcus, David Hayden, Barry Tibbets, Malinda Caron, Erik Ekholm, Lisa Kolloch and Charlene Donahue were present.  Various charitable organizations were present to explain their requests for Town funding and answer questions.  Also Erik explained investigations into the proposed parking lot for the fire station.  He suggested landscaped steps up the hill to reach the fire station.  After some discussion, the Committee added $500 to the proposal to also build similar steps from the existing parking lot on the other side of the station.  Malinda gave a brief update of the RSU budget and activities.  Hopefully, the budget will be flat next year.

Assessor’s Actions

Abatements previously approved were signed.

Town of Whitefield
Select Board Meeting Minutes
January 26, 2015

Present:  Sue McKeen, Tony Marple, Frank Ober, Lester Sheaffer and Dennis Merrill
Administrative Assistant Aaron Miller

Select Board actions

NOTE:  This meeting was held in lieu of a regularly scheduled meeting on January 27 that was cancelled due to a blizzard. 

Payroll and accounts payable warrants were signed.

 

Assessor’s Actions

None.

 

Town of Whitefield
Select Board Meeting Minutes
February 3, 2015

 

Present:  Sue McKeen, Tony Marple, Frank Ober (delayed), Lester Sheaffer and Dennis Merrill
Absent:  Administrative Assistant Aaron Miller

Select Board actions

  1. Development Ordinance fees.  Planning Board member Carl Ribeiro was present to discuss a proposed amendment to the Development Ordinance that would allow the Select Board to set the fees for processing of applications.  The fee schedule in the ordinance is very old.  Having the Select Board keep them current on an annual basis would ensure Town costs are covered.  The Development Ordinance applies to commercial type activities, and not residential buildings.

 

  1. Votes on FY 16 budget. The Budget Committee convened its forth meeting.  Members Carl Ribeiro,  David Hayden, Barry Tibbets, Malinda Caron, Erik Ekholm, Lisa Kolloch and Charlene Donahue were present.  Independently, the Select Board and the Budget Committee voted on the various elements of the budget.  The results are tabulated below.

 

Area or Item

Amount

Select Board Vote

Budget Committee Vote

01

Administration

$152,431

5-0

7-0

02

Insurance

$13,400

5-0

7-0

03

Town Roads (includes use of estimated surplus)

$393,850

4-1 (Lester opposed)

7-0

04

Snow and Ice

$251,200

5-0

7-0

--

Moosehead Lane snow and ice, if accepted

$1,500

5-0

7-0

05

General Government

$50,600

5-0

7-0

06

Town Office

$21,335

5-0

7-0

07

Townhouse

$900

5-0

7-0

08

Interest on Tan Anticipation Notes

$600

5-0

7-0

09

Loans – No votes required

$54,240

 

 

10

Fire and Rescue, Including Capital Equip.

$91,000

5-0

7-0

11

General Assistance

$5,000

5-0

7-0

12

Miscellaneous Appropriations

$56,170

5-0

7-0

--

Town Parking Area

$9,500

4-1 (Lester opposed)

7-0

13

American Red Cross

$0 SB
$250 BC

5-0

7-0

13

Midcoast Maine Community Action

$1,000

4-1 (Lester opposed)

7-0

13

Coastal Transportation

$100

4-1 (Lester opposed)

7-0

13

HealthReach

$0

5-0

7-0

13

Knox Waldo Lincoln

$0

5-0

7-0

13

Kennebec Behavioral Health

$1,000

4-1 (Lester opposed)

7-0

13

New Hope for Women

$580

4-1 (Lester opposed)

7-0

13

Spectrum Generations

$500

4-1 (Lester opposed)

7-0

13

Whitefield Food Bank, with $2,000 to come from Worthy Poor fund

$4,000

5-0

7-0

13

Young at Heart

$150

4-1 (Lester opposed)

7-0

13

Healthy Kids

$1,000

4-1 (Lester opposed)

7-0

13

Lincoln County Dental

$1,000

4-1 (Lester opposed)

7-0

13

Maine General Hospice Volunteers

 

 

 

13

Children’s Center

 

 

 

13

MPBN

$0

5-0

7-0

13

Life Flight

$0

5-0

7-0

 

Voting on Maine General Hospice Volunteers and the Children’s Center was tabled so conflicting information on requested amounts could be clarified.

 

Assessor’s Actions

None.

Town of Whitefield
Select Board Meeting Minutes
February 10, 2015

Present:  Sue McKeen, Tony Marple, Frank Ober, Lester Sheaffer and Dennis Merrill
Administrative Assistant Aaron Miller

Select Board actions

  1. The minutes for Jan 20 were approved 4-0-1; the minutes for Jan 26 were approved 5-0; and the minutes for Feb 3 were approved as amended 5-0.

 

  1. Road rates.  Road Commissioner David Boynton was present to discuss proposed rates for his work.  These were largely a continuation of past rates.  Added was a stipulation that routine work over $10,000 would be put out to bid, with the Road Commissioner being able to place a bid.  David indicated he was okay with the proposed rates.  The Board voted 4-0-1 (Frank abstaining) to adopt the rates.
  1. Road sand.  David Boynton will keep an eye on the remaining sand supply and investigate sources of more if needed.  We will also contact the plowing contractor on this.

 

  1. Accounts payable and payroll warrants were signed.  These included payment for the Town’s new fire truck that is scheduled to be delivered on Thursday.  The truck will require some outfitting (radios, etc.) before it will be ready to put into service.
  1. Foreclosures.  The Board reviewed a list of some 73 tax accounts that will go to automatic foreclosure on March 28 unless the taxes are paid.  On Jan 23 Aaron sent a courtesy letter to the owners; certified notices are required by law will be going out soon.  These go to all interested parties such as mortgage holders.  It was noted that in past years the Town has done searches of the Registry of Deed records to determine all interested third parties.  With the departure of the former Tax Collector, the expertise to do this is currently lacking.  However, failure do notify third parties does not render a foreclosure invalid, but can delay the effective date.  Going forward, we will get training for the office staff in title searches.

 

  1. Coopers Mills Dam.  The Sheepscot Conservation Association and the Atlantic Salmon Federation are interested in the Town forming a committee to study alternatives for the Town-owned dam in Coopers Mills.  Potentially the committee should include the Fire Chief, the Historical Society, some persons involved in a previous committee, residents of the area and townspeople at large.  There will be an effort to solicit interest.
  1. Town meeting.  The Baptist Church would make its building available for town meeting if we want to use that location.  After some discussion, it was decided to use the school gym, as some people might not agree with holding a public meeting in a church setting.

 

  1. Firefighters.  The Women of Whitefield have expressed interest in doing something to recognize the firefighters for all of their work in recent fires.  They are considering purchasing new coffee pots for the fire station.  Also, there will be a recognition function at 6:30 on March 9.
  1. Budget.  Charlene Donahue, Barry Tibbetts, Eric Ekholm, David Hayden, and Taryn Marcus of the Budget Committee were present to finalize votes on the budget.  Both the Board (vote of 5-0) and the Committee (vote of 4-0-1) decided to put the Children’s Center on the warrant for $0.  A request from Maine General Hospice Volunteers, formerly HealthReach, for $1,137 was recommended by the Board 4-1 (Lester opposed).  The Committee voted 5-0 to recommend $550.  The Board voted 4-1 (Lester opposed) to reconsider its previous recommendation of $0 for the Red Cross.  The Board then voted 4-1 (Lester opposed) to recommend $250 for that organization.

 

  1. Fire Department.  Scott Higgins, Lynn Talacko and Tom Fenney were present and Scott announced that Tom has been appointed as Deputy Chief.
  1. Coopers Mills Volunteer Fire Department.  Richard Parlin, David Landmann, and Chuck Vaughn representing CMVFD came in to present their proposal for construction of a new fire station.  This would be on land between the present station and Coopers Mills cemetery now owned by the Huntly family.  The building would be about 34 x 63 feet and have two equipment bays, a meeting room and a bathroom.  The cost of something just less than $300,000 would be borne by CMVFD.  The cost of maintaining the new building (heat, lights, etc) would be expected to be less than the old building that is energy inefficient.  Hopefully, construction may begin in the spring.  As plans are finalized, discussions will continue.

 

 

Assessor’s Actions

None.

 

Town of Whitefield
Select Board Meeting Minutes
February 17, 2015

Present:  Sue McKeen, Tony Marple, Frank Ober, Lester Sheaffer and Dennis Merrill
Administrative Assistant Aaron Miller

Select Board actions

  1. The minutes for Feb 10 were approved 4-0.

 

  1. Plowing concern.  Katherine Morse of East River Road came in to express concern with plowing.  Her home, which is located close to the road, has been hit with snow, dirt, slush, etc. thrown up the plows.  She feels the cause of this is trucks plowing too far back from the pavement and going too fast.  She had pictures to demonstrate her points.  After some discussion, it was decided to ask the plowing contractor to come in next week to discuss the matter.
  1. Warrant.  The Board reviewed the latest draft of the warrant for Town Meeting, making some minor edits.  The final version should be available for signing next week.

 

  1. Recycling building.  The recycling attendant has inquired if keys to the building could be given to a private trash/recyclables hauler to allow drop off when the Recycling Center is not open.  The consensus of the Board was that materials should be left only on Saturdays when the Center is open. 

 

Assessor’s Actions

1.         Assessor’s Agent Tom Hayes presented the Board with information regarding the so-called LD-1 requirements.  This limits the increases in a town’s budget without a vote of the town to ratify more money being spent.  It appears we will not trigger this requirement this year. 

  1. The Board voted 5-0 to approve combining two lots for Avery Dunn on Vigue Road.

 

  1. The Board voted 5-0 to grant abatements for two years to Ernie Barron whose house is on the Pittston town line has had been taxes 100% by both towns.  It is now taxes 50-50.
  1. Tom discussed updating personal property assessments.  A letter will be sent to all businesses identified in town asking for lists of property used in their business.  He will provide the Board with a list of the businesses to receive letters. 

 

 

Town of Whitefield
Select Board Meeting Minutes
February 24, 2015

Present:  Sue McKeen, Tony Marple, Frank Ober, Lester Sheaffer and Dennis Merrill
Administrative Assistant Aaron Miller

Select Board actions

  1. The minutes for Feb 17 were approved 5-0.

 

  1. Accounts payable and payroll warrants were signed.
  1. Town meeting warrant. 

 

4.         Plowing concerns. Katherine Morse of East River Road and George Hensbee of Mills Road came in to express concerns with plowing contractor David Spicer. Catherine said her home, which is located close too the road, has been hit with snow, dirt, slush, etc. thrown up by the plows. David acknowledged this had been the case in one storm this year. George said piling of snow by a loader had damaged his stone wall and fence. The area is subject to heavy drifting. David thought any damage was minimal, limited to a few fence posts, if any. The snow will need to melt to determine what the situation is. There was a general discussion of both of these issues and David will try to find ways to prevent any further problems. There was a general discussion of plowing; it has been a difficult year given all of the recent snow causing high bank and narrow roads. Some mailboxes have been damaged.

  1. Warrant.  The Board approved the warrant for town meeting 5-0 with some minor corrections.

 

  1. Fire Department.  Scott Higgins reported he had contracted to have buildings heavily damaged in recent fires knocked down with an excavator.  The cost will come from the emergency management recovery fund.
  1. Town report.  The Board will need to prepare its annual report.  Some possible topics to include are: increased taxable valuation, the roads committee, the new fire truck, the work of firefighters, dealing with fraud, the town’s financial condition, the roads acceptance policy and a new office employee.

 

  1. Dam committee.  Tony said he has recruited the following to serve on a committee to study the Coopers Mills dam – Chuck Vaughn, Louis Sell, Tim Chase, Jane Chase, Tony Marple, Scott Higgins and Leslie McCormick (tentative).  The Board voted 5-0 to form the committee.
  1. Frank provided an updated “to do” list.

 

  1. Emergency Management.  Frank distributed a job description for EM director.  The Board discussed filling that vacant position and Aaron will make some effort to recruit candidates.
  1. There will be a meeting between select boards of area towns and local legislators on March 16 (tentatively scheduled) to discuss the impact of the Governor’s proposed budget on property taxes.

 

  1. Executive session.  Pursuant to 1 MRSA §405(6)(A), the Board voted 5-0 to go into executive session to discuss a personnel matter.  Following the session, no action was taken.
  1. Next week.  Try to arrange to have the auditors present their annual audit results; review the “to do” list.

 

Assessor’s Actions

Bill Gauvin and Assessor’s Agent Tom Hayes were present to discuss the assessment of two buildings Bill owned in Coopers Mills.  These have now been mostly torn down.  Bill felt the assessment was too high given the condition (gutted and unoccupied).  Tom explained how he had arrived at his assessment, taking those conditions into consideration.  He did explain that for 2015 tax, the building demolition had been effectively done and the building value could be reduced to $0 and the land value could be reduced by $10,000 to reflect removal of a second base lot on the parcel.  The Board voted 5-0 to abate the 2015 taxes accordingly. Tom will look into the assessment for the two buildings for the 2013 tax year and report back to the Board next week.  Finally, Tom also noted that through a computer error, Bill’s primary residence, also in Cooper Mills, was omitted in the 2015 assessment.  The Board voted 5-0 to approve a supplemental assessment for that property.

 

Town of Whitefield
Select Board Meeting Minutes
March 10,

Present:  Sue McKeen, Tony Marple, Frank Ober, Lester Sheaffer and Dennis Merrill
Administrative Assistant Aaron Miller

Select Board actions

  1. The minutes for March 3 were approved 5-0.

 

  1. Accounts payable and payroll warrants were signed.
  1. Audit report.  It was noted we need to prepare a written response to the “management letter” included with the annual audit report.  Changes to implement the recommendations in the letter need to be implemented next week.  Aaron agreed with the three-person option recommended for financial controls.  Tony and Aaron will work on the response to the letter.

 

  1. Abatements previously approved were signed.
  1. Foreclosures.  The Board discussed the status of upcoming foreclosures and some outstanding tax accounts.

 

  1. Town Meeting.  The Board discussed logistics for the upcoming Town Meeting.
  1. Inter community meeting.  The Board discussed the March 16 meeting with other towns and area legislators regarding state budget concerns.  Aaron noted that the town does many functions on behalf of the state, including agent for motor vehicles, Fish and Wildlife, vital records, and elections. We also are expected to provide accounting for those programs.  We also provide plowing on state aid roads.

 

  1. Executive session.  Pursuant to 1 MRSA §841, the Board voted 5-0 to go into executive session to discuss a poverty abatement request.  Following the session, the Board voted 5-0 to grant an abatement in the amount of $2,305.87 for tax year 2013.  A letter will be sent to the property owner discussing obligations for subsequent tax years.

 

Assessor’s Actions

Assessor’s Agent Tom Hayes was present to discuss several issues.

  1. The Peaslees from Benner Road came in to discuss their abatement request.  Tom reported their home had not been correctly valued based on size, condition and other factors.  This resulted in an abatement for the current year’s taxes being approved by the Board 5-0.  Additionally, the Peaselees requested that the Board also consider abatements for preceding years, based on the same circumstances.  Tom supported that based on most, but not all, of the factors used for the current year.  He will do some research and report back.

 

  1. The Kellers on Grand Army Roads asked for an abatement for an unoccupied building they purchased next to their home.  Tom reported the building has a non-functional well and septic system and has had the interior stripped out and is uninhabitable.  The structure is in poor condition.  The Board approved an abatement 5-0.
  1. Tom distributed a sample of the paperwork he proposes to send to businesses regarding personal property they have.  He will also forward to the Board a list of businesses on his mailing list.  These materials will be discussed next week in advance of being sent out. 

 

Town of Whitefield
Select Board Meeting Minutes
March 24, 2015

Present:  Sue McKeen, Tony Marple, Frank Ober, Lester Sheaffer and Dennis Merrill
Administrative Assistant Aaron Miller

Select Board actions

  • Lester was sworn in as a newly re-elected Board member.

 

2.   Dennis was elected Board Chair 4-0-1.

  • The minutes for March 17 were approved 5-0; the minutes of March 19 were approved 3-0-2.

 

4.  Accounts payable and payroll warrants were signed.

  • Aquafortis and Pleasant Pond Mill.  Richard Smith and Paul Kelley representing Aquafortis and Pleasant Pond Mill (PPM) respectively came in to discuss some issues related to properties owned by these entities.  Richard was concerned about an error made dating back in 2010 when PPM sold the red building atop Clary Lake Dam to Aquafortis.  The Town didn’t make note of the sale and continued to send bills to PPM and bills remained unpaid until 2015 when ownership records were changed and a new tax bill was issued.  Aquafortis then paid the bill, but was not charged interest or fees on the red building. Richard stated concurrently Aquafortis did not pay any taxes on two other parcels (map 17, Lots 55B and 4A) so as to, “not reward bad behavior” by the Town for not promptly changing the records for the red building.  Town reports checked during the meeting indicated the two parcels had been in the name of Aquafortis during the relevant time period.  The 2013 tax has now been paid off, but 2014 and 2015 bills are outstanding.  Richard asked how the charges for interest and costs could be appealed.  We will check into this and respond in writing. 

 

There was also discussion about a previously submitted request for combination of Map 17 Lots 55B and 4A.  The Town has not acted on that.  The Board noted it is its policy to not combine parcels across a public ways as these are.  Richard said he wants to combine the parcels for development purposes, and the Board noted its authority was limited to consideration of combinations for tax purposes.  Richard stated they had been advised by the Maine DOT that the agency does not own the land under the Rt. 218 bridge and Aquafortis does, making the parcels all one.  Also, he said the Lot 55B parcel is “grandfathered”.  We will need to research this information and respond in writing on the status of combining these lots.

Paul noted that he is in the process of dissolving PPM and asked that it be taken off the tax roles.  To do so, we will need to have a deed or some other suitable instrument recorded in the Registry of Deeds.

  • Foreclosures.  The Board discussed the list of 18 properties that were recently foreclosed on for non-payment of taxes.  Of these, some have payment agreements or other arrangements that will resolve the problem.  Some parcels are undeveloped land and the Board will move ahead to sell those consistent with its policy.  Also, the Board voted 5-0 to authorize our attorney to file a complaint against Patrick Thayer for failure to abide by the repurchase agreement he signed with the Town.  We need to clarify if a quit claim deed can be issued to a person who has paid off a foreclosed year but has other years still with liens.
  • Liquor license.  The Board voted 5-0 to renew a liquor license for Sheepscot Links. 
  • Budget.  The Board reviewed the status of the current year budget.  The current bank balance is about $346,000 and most expenses are running within their respective budget lines.  Some lines within Administration may go over due to training of new staff but overall that area will likely be okay due to salary savings.
  • Town Meeting.  The Board discussed the Town Meeting held last Saturday.  Overall, it went well.  Some areas for improvement include:
  • The Board should provide discussion on at least major articles even if no one in the audience asks so voters are informed
  • We should be more organized with information on charities
  • In the budget process, we need a defined screen of charities
  • Efforts should be made to attract younger people to attend
  • We need to acknowledge the presence of legislators present
  • We need to reach out to people for roads committee members
  • EMA director.  Two people have expressed interest in the EMA director job.  Aaron will follow up once resumes are received.

Next week:  discussion of long and short term goals, the EMA position, review of personal property tax effort.

 

Assessor’s Actions

None

 

Town of Whitefield
Select Board Meeting Minutes
March 31, 2015

Present: Tony Marple, Frank Ober, Lester Sheaffer and Dennis Merrill
Administrative Assistant Aaron Miller
Absent: Sue McKeen

Select Board actions

  1. The minutes of March 10 and March 24 were approved 4-0 each.

2.   An accounts payable warrant was signed to pay off an abatement for Ernest Barron.

  1. Aquafortis.  A letter responding to Aquafortis’ questions from last week’s meeting was signed.
  1. Foreclosures.  Next steps for each parcel on the foreclosed property list were discussed.  In most cases, letters will be sent to the former owners informing them of the Town’s intent to move forward with sale of the property or other actions consistent with the Board’s policy on tax acquired property.  The Town’s attorney will handle the Patrick Thayer property, and a complaint of foreclosure will be filed.  We will try to visit the individual properties to evaluate the options for sale, etc.
  1. Personal property.    The Board reviewed the forms for soliciting information for personal property taxes from businesses and voted 4-0 to authorize their being sent out. 

School records.  Aaron noted the Town still has many records regarding the school while it was under Town control.  He will contact the RSU to arrange for transfer of relevant records to them.  We will retain financial records and anything to do with utilities or other subjects of continuing interest to the Town.

  1. Septic system.  Aaron reported the pump for the Town Office’s septic system has failed and will be replaced. 

Fire Department.  Scott Higgins, Tom Feeney, and Lynn Talacko came in to discuss some issues.  Scott will work with Aaron to advertise for sale of the 1980 tanker truck. Scott will send a letter to the Coopers Mills department informing them their old engine is now out of service.  Both that engine and the tanker will be stored at the central station until they are sold.  The Town will continue to carry insurance on these vehicles for 60 days.  We will need to review the lease arrangements with Coopers Mills in light of their proposals to build a new station.  This will ensure everyone is agreed on the terms prior to any commitments for construction are made.

  1. Financial controls.  Tony noted that resident Ed Karass is willing to review internal financial controls at no cost to the Town.

Small community forum.  Frank attended the small communities forum on Monday and reported that much of the discussion was about possible solid waste disposal options for the region.  Pittston noted that they got a good deal on printing of town reports by shopping around.  The next meeting will be April 27, possibly in Chelsea. 

  1. Executive session.  Pursuant to 1 MRSA §405(6)(A) the Board voted 4-0 to go into executive session to discuss a personnel matter.  Also present at the session were the Fire and Rescue personnel noted in #8 above.  Following the session, it was decided to have a subgroup (Tony and/or Frank) meet with a person interested in a job. 

Assessor’s Actions

None

 

Town of Whitefield
Select Board Meeting Minutes
April 7, 2015

Present: Sue McKeen, Tony Marple, Frank Ober, Lester Sheaffer and Dennis Merrill
Administrative Assistant Aaron Miller

Select Board actions

  • The minutes of March 31 were approved 4-0-1.

 

2. Accounts payable and payroll warrants were signed.

  • EMA Director.  The Board voted 5-0 to appoint Nicole Ripley as the town’s EMA Director.

 

  • Deed.  The Board signed a quit claim deed to Kimball.
  • GA reports.  The quarterly general assistance reports to the State were signed.

 

  • Priorities and To-Do list.  The Board reviewed and discussed a consolidated list to priorities and issues needing attention.  Some of the topics identified as having relatively high importance included:
  • improvement of the road to the salt shed
  • the new townhouse fire station parking
  • long term solid waste disposal
  • implementation of roads committee recommendations
  • investigation of flood zone insurance
  • access to the hydrant at Coopers Mills
  • good financial controls, and
  • fair taxation of personal property, out buildings, commercial properties and aircraft.

 

7.  Correspondence.  There will be a flood zone mapping meeting in Waldoboro on May 11.  The Red Cross sent a letter describing the assistance it provided as a result of the fire at the Fenderson home.

 

Assessor’s Actions

None

 

Town of Whitefield
Select Board Meeting Minutes
April 14, 2015

Present: Sue McKeen (delayed), Tony Marple, Frank Ober, Lester Sheaffer and Dennis Merrill
Administrative Assistant Aaron Miller

 

Select Board actions

  1. The minutes of April 7 were approved 4-0.

 

  1. Brush cutting.  Dennis reported that he spoke with the company contracted to cut brush on the S. Hunts Meadow and Heath Roads.  They are going out of business and will send a letter to that effect.  After some discussion, it was decided to wait for the letter to arrive and then consider offering the work to another bidder, re-bid the work, or include these roads with those for next year making a single bigger project.
  1. Social media policy.  The Board discussed a draft social media policy to address appropriate use of Town sites such as Facebook.  The Board voted 4-1 (Lester opposed) to adopt the policy with one change to allow more broad comments on political and ballot issues, with a disclaimer that opinions are not those of the Town. 

 

  1. Bad check policy.  Aaron discussed issues of handling bad checks the Town receives.  Only about 6 of these are received per year but they can create quite a bit of work.  Aaron will give this further consideration and propose a draft policy.
  1. IRA.  The current personnel policy is silent on when a new employee is eligible to begin receiving contributions to an IRA account.  The Board interpreted this as allowing eligibility upon hire.

 

  1. Overpayments.  Aaron noted that some banks send large checks to cover several property tax bills.  On occasion, the homeowner also pays the tax bill or the bank may not get the amount of the tax correct.  These circumstances can cause accounting problems and consume time to straighten out accounts and make refunds.  For now, he will work with the existing situation.
  1. Cemetery repairs.  Some headstones at the Coopers Mills Cemetery are in need of repair and the vault also needs repairs.  The trust fund for the cemetery has ample funds to make some repairs.  The Board voted 5-0 to use the fund to pay for repairs.  Barry Tibbetts (a Turner family relative) is interested in the cemetery and will be kept in the loop.  Aaron will contact a person who specializes in headstone repairs. 

 

  1. Town web site.  Currently, only Debbie Rogers, our webmaster, has access to the town web site and Aaron will contact her to get the information necessary to be the backup.  Also, the Planning Board would like to add content to the web site, and the Board felt all additions should be coordinated through Debbie.
  1. Next week.  Assessor Agent status report on personal property, reassessments, commercial property and aircraft; review of brush cutting contract; review goals list.

 

 

Assessor’s Actions

None

 

 

Town of Whitefield
Select Board Meeting Minutes
April 21, 2015

Present: Sue McKeen, Tony Marple, Frank Ober, Lester Sheaffer and Dennis Merrill
Administrative Assistant Aaron Miller

 

Select Board actions

  1. The minutes of April 14 were approved 5-0.

 

2.   Accounts payable and payroll warrants were signed.

  1. The Board met with a resident to discuss payment of back taxes.  A follow up meeting will be scheduled to discuss details.

 

  1. Social media policy.  The Board signed the final draft of the policy approved last week. 
  1. Planing Board.  Carl Ribiero and Jim Torbet of the Planning Board came in to discuss a new fee schedule for the development ordinance pursuant to the vote at Town Meeting to allow the Select Board to set the fees.  Presently, there are no fees until the Board approves a new schedule.  The Board voted 3-2 (Lester and Tony opposed) to continue to use the old fee schedule until new rates are set.  Jim will contact Dennis to arrange a work session to draft new fees.  There was also a discussion of the CEO’s work log to track hours and activities.

 

  1. Tax collector.  Aaron reported that Deborah Willette has submitted her letter of resignation, effective May 8.  The Board voted 4-1 (Lester opposed) to accept the resignation.  There was a general discussion of the many duties of staff in the Town Office.  Aaron has posted the job vacancy on the MMA web site.
  1. Brush cutting.  The Board decided to re-advertise the brush cutting work that the contractor has backed out of due to the company closing.  The roads to be done, Heath and S. Hunts Meadow, will be combined with more from next year’s budget to make one lager contract.  Also we will contact other area towns to see if any might want to join such a contract in hopes of getting better prices. 

 

  1. TRIO rebate.  Aaron reported he contacted our software vendor about a technical glitch.  That problem caused extra expense in conjunction with the fraud audit done this winter.  The company has agreed to credit the Town $2,347 on next year’s services to cover the costs.
  1. General journals were signed.

 

  1. Tax acquired properties.  Frank reported on visits made last Friday to several properties that the Town now owns to evaluate situations and potential for sale.  We will contact the realtor we have retained to discuss listing some of the properties. 
  1. Recycling trash.  Lester reported there was quite a bit of trash and mis-sorted materials at the Recycling Center last Saturday.  Aaron will contact the Sheriff’s Office to see what assistance they can render.

 

  1. Cemetery.  Aaron has contacted one company to get an estimate for repair of headstones.
  1. Next week.  Discuss annual calendar, update on Thayer property, update on fraud case,  review goals list.

Assessor’s Actions

1.  Assessor’s Agent Tom Hayes came in to present several abatement requests:

  1. Vigue on Grand Army Road.  The home is overvalued as the records incorrectly show a full basement, a full second story and an overrated general condition.  The Board voted 5-0 to grant an abatement.
  2. Harmon on Wild West Lane.  The home is not as was shown in town records, with the interior not fully finished, the incorrect number of stories, an unusual layout and other factors. The Board voted 5-0 to grant an abatement.
  3. Kimball.  The amount of acreage was adjusted from 6 to 3.2 acres. The Board voted 5-0 to grant an abatement.
  4. Rideout.  This property is on the Pittston town line and the home has been taxed as being in Whitefield but is actually in Pittston. The Board voted 5-0 to grant an abatement.

 

  1. Tom reported on his activities for March.  In addition to his regular work, he has been assisting the office staff with issues after the former tax collector left.  He also updated the Board on his work to assess aircraft in Town.
  1. Personal property.  The Board discussed ongoing efforts to identify and assess personal property in Town.  A follow up letter will be prepared to address some confusion and questions that have arisen from the first mailing.

Town of Whitefield
Select Board Meeting Minutes
April 28, 2015

Present: Sue McKeen, Tony Marple, Frank Ober, Lester Sheaffer (delayed) and Dennis Merrill
Administrative Assistant Aaron Miller

 

Select Board actions

  1. The minutes of April 21 were approved 4-0.

 

  1. Road acceptance.  Fred Fagin of Fox Farm Lane came in to inquire about how the Town might take over this private lane.  He was given a copy of the Board’s policy on the subject.  To be considered at the next Town Meeting, the matter would have to be proposed to the Select Board by December 2015.  Also, Fred noted that the Town-owned land in this area is in bad need of mowing.  Tony said he would consider doing the work if transportation for his tractor can be found.
  1. Cooper Mills fire station.  The Coopers Mills Volunteer Fire Department has submitted a Notice to Build form and plans for a new fire station in Coopers Mills.  The Association is proposing to build the new station at their cost and lease the building to the Town to replace the currently leased station.  Fire Chief Scott Higgins will be asked to review the plans to ensure the proposed building meets the Town’s needs.  Also, the Board will review the existing lease and discuss needed changes to reflect a new building with CMFD.

 

  1. Animal Control.  Frank reported that the County has asked for $166 as Whitefield’s share for purchasing equipment for the Animal Control Officers.  Other towns in the ACO program will share costs as well.  The Board voted 4-1 (Lester opposed) to approve the expenditure.
  1. Recycling trash.  Aaron reported he has spoken the Sheriff’s Office about problems with trash at the recycling center.  There are several laws that can be enforced.  They recommended we post signs about no littering or use when the facility is not open.  Video surveillance can be used to identify offenders.

 

  1. Cemetery repairs.  Aaron said he has contacted a second person to get quotes on needed repairs at the Coopers Mills Cemetery. 
  1. Will Turner Trust.  Resident Barry Tibbetts came in to discuss some of the history of the two Will Turner trusts.  Both are held by Key Bank.  Barry is a relative of Will Turner. When Mr. Turner passed away in 1958, he left two trusts.  One is for maintenance of the Coopers Mills Cemetery and the Town is using it for that purpose.  The other trust passed through two individuals and then the Baptist Church in Coopers Mills.  When the church ceased to exist, the trust could be used for the Cemetery if needed or for charitable purposes as the trustee (Key Bank) directs.  In practice, the bank has deferred to the Town on charitable needs.  It was suggested we send a letter to Key Bank to make sure all parties have the same understandings for use of the trust.

 

9. Executive session. Pursuant to 1 MRSA §405(6)(A), the Board voted 5-0 to go into executive session to discuss a personnel matter.  Following the session, no action was taken. 

 

Assessor’s Actions

Personal property.  The Board discussed a letter to be sent to all residents regarding personal property tax.  The tax is focused on businesses, but since the Town does not have a comprehensive list of businesses, sending the letter to all addresses in Town will ensure no one is missed. 

 

Town of Whitefield
Select Board Meeting Minutes
May 5, 2015

Present: Sue McKeen, Tony Marple, Frank Ober, Lester Sheaffer and Dennis Merrill
Administrative Assistant Aaron Miller

Select Board actions

  1. The minutes of April 28 were approved 5-0.

 

  1. Road Grader.  Road Commissioner David Boynton came in to discuss the Town’s road grader.  The transmission has failed and it is beyond reasonable repair.  For the short term, he has contracted with someone from Pittston to finish spring grading at a rate of $87.50 per hour.  David estimates that most roads require grading four times per year and at a rate of $100 per hour, the cost for contracted grading would be $25,000 to $30,000 per year, as a rough estimate. It takes about 30 hours to grade all gravel roads once.  In addition to routine maintenance work, the grader is used in resurfacing roads.  Over the long term, it would appear far more cost effective for the Town to purchase a used grader at a cost of maybe $50,000.  David will contact the State surplus program to see what may become available and approximate costs.  In the event a grader might come up, a special town meeting to consider purchase would be in order.
  1. Turnaround.  A snowplow turnaround area on Howe road has raised some concern with a resident about gravel having been pushed up and other damage.  Lester and David Boynton will visit the area to evaluate the situation.   The plowing contract will be contacted about the need to use this area as a turnaround next year.

 

  1. Citizen concerns.  Residents owning land near the recycling building came in with concerns about trash blowing on their land causing problems with haying equipment.  This has been a long-standing problem with plastic containers, cans and plastic bags blowing around.  After some discussion, it was decided to investigate a snow fence or chain link fence around the building to help contain materials that may be blow around. 

There were questions about the recent mailing about the personal property tax survey, as it pertains to a small farming operation.  There will be a public meeting on the personal property program next week.  Specific questions should be directed to the Assessor’s Agent.

Concerns were raised about some unlicensed auto junkyards in Town.  We will ask the Code Enforcement Officer to visit the locations identified.

  1. Payroll and account payable warrants were signed.  The Board voted 5-0 to have the Road Commissioner review and approve invoices submitted for various road projects to ensure charges to the Town are valid.

 

  1. Warrants for a special town meeting on May 19 to consider the proposed RSU 12 budget were signed.
  1. Budget review.  The Board reviewed the current year’s budget and discussed several specific lines.  Overall, we are in the black, but some lines are overdrawn and will be made up with surpluses in other lines.  Aaron with follow up with more details on credits shown in some lines. 

 

  1. Foreclosures.  The Board reviewed the list of foreclosed properties.  Our real estate agent has visited some of these properties and we are waiting to hear back on steps forward to market these.  The Board voted 5-0 to offer 3 acres off Wiscasset Road for sale by sealed bid. 
  1. Cooper Mills Fire Station.  With Lynn Talacko present, the Board discussed the proposal for a new fire station to be built by the Coopers Mills Volunteer Fire Department.  The Fire Chief and others will review the plans to ensure the building will meet the Town’s needs.  Sue and Frank will work with that group and then meet with CMVFD to discuss the building and the lease with the Town.

 

  1. Tax Collection position.  Aaron reported there have been four applications have been  received thus far for the Tax Collection position.  Sue and Frank will be the subcommittee for hiring of this position.  They will try to conduct initial interviews on Friday. 
  1. Coopers Mills Cemetery.  Aaron reported he has received a proposal for restoration work at the Coopers Mills cemetery.  Another firm was contacted but has not responded.  The Board voted 5-0 to authorize Thomas Steven Cemetery Restoration to do the work at a cost not to exceed $5,000.  Proposals for repairs to the vault will be sought separately.

 

  1. Tanker truck.  The Board voted 5-0 to authorize sale of the 1980 tank truck by sealed bid for with a minimum bid price of $5,000. 
  1. Due to the RSU 12 budget meeting on May 19, the Board meeting scheduled for that day will be moved to May 18 at 6:30 PM in the Town Office.

 

Assessor’s Actions

None.

Town of Whitefield
Select Board Meeting Minutes
May 12, 2015

Present: Sue McKeen, Tony Marple, Frank Ober, Lester Sheaffer
Administrative Assistant Aaron Miller and new-hire Karen Bryant
Mike Rogers, Maine Revenue Services and Tom Hayes Assessors’ Agent

Select Board Actions

  1. The board met in Executive Session to discuss a personnel matter under 1 M.R.S.A. Section 405 (6)(A).
  2. Tax Collector. The board voted 4-0 in favor of hiring Karen Bryant, of Livermore Falls, as Tax Collector, Deputy Town Clerk, Registrar and Treasurer. The board agreed that Bryant will earn $14 per hour during the six month probationary period; $14.50 per hour after six months and $15 per hour after one year. The town will also pay for a “Silver Insurance Plan” for Bryant through the Marketplace. Bryant attended the meeting and gave some background about herself.
  3. BMV Agent Appointment. Frank Ober and Tony Marple signed a letter required by the state’s Bureau of Motor Vehicles appointing Karen Bryant as the town’s motor vehicle agent.
  4. BMV Audit. Aaron reported that the state’s Bureau of Motor Vehicles has conducted an examination of BMV records to assure transactions and funds were properly handled by outgoing agent, Robin White. The audit was based on standards developed to ensure accuracy in determining municipal internal controls as they relate to motor vehicle transactions, inventory, cash handling, cash handling, security and registration processing procedures. The audit found no financial discrepancies with Motor Vehicle transactions in the period reviewed; records and inventory were properly organized and secured; and deposits were made on a regular basis.
  5. Taxpayer Benefit Program. Aaron informed the board of tax deferral program that could benefit senior citizens under MRSA Title 36. This program would require a town meeting vote. The board will discuss this at their next meeting on May 18.
  6. Town grader. Aaron reported he spoke with David Jackson who knows of a used grader the town could purchase. The board will need to discuss whether to replace the broken grader or hire out services in the future.
  7. Coopers Mills Cemetery. Aaron informed the board that Thomas Stevens, of Newcastle, reported that the tomb at Coopers Mills Cemetery is crumbling. Stevens recommended the board consult with a foundation contractor who guessed the repair could be $5,000 or more. Stevens recommended that the tomb be demolished, salvage the doors and possible granite blocks. Tony suggested speaking with resident Barry Tibbetts who has an interest in the cemetery. Aaron will contact a foundation contractor as recommended by Stevens.
  8. Personal Property Informational Meeting. The board met for two hours with over 50 residents and business owners on a recent personal property tax survey.

Tony Marple opened the discussion by explaining that the personal property tax list is out of date and is unfair to the few that pay. He added that assessors are required under state law to collect personal property tax and if no taxes are collected, the State of Maine can estimate the assessment and use that number to reduce its share of revenue sharing and school funding. Marple noted that nearby towns including Windsor, China and Chelsea do a survey annually and tax businesses based on those results. One town exempts any single item under $1,000 and all hand tools, while another exempts any item valued under $3,000. He said that Whitefield’s Select Board has not discussed limits yet, but will. The board also must discuss how the tax will be enforced, however, must towns use small claims court to go after unpaid personal property taxes.

Mike Rogers, Maine Revenue Supervisor of Municipal Services, explained that the taxing authority lies at the state level and not at the local level. Resident Christi Mitchell asked for clarification, noting that the law reads “all taxable goods” and doesn’t exempt residential. Rogers explained that a lift in a garage would not be exempt, however, individual hand tools are exempt.
Marple reiterated that the town will make decisions as far as what items would be taxable. Resident Drew Sell asked if the town would face any penalties if the personal property tax law was not enforced. Rogers explained that there are no penalties, per say, however if the town doesn’t follow the law, it’s possible the state could reduce school subsidy.
Selectman Lester Sheaffer asked about taxing a homeowner’s tractor. Marple said that the board can use their discretion.
“Not too many towns go after non-businesses,” Rogers said. “Why? Discovery is the problem.”
Resident Louie Sell noted that the City of Portland is only taxing business equipment and this is inconsistent of the law. Rogers confirmed that assertion saying, “It is.”
Resident Dan Joslyn noted that in 1929 the town had a personal property collection rate of 53%; 1968, 52%; 1987, 7%; and 2011, 1%.
Resident Steve Smith suggested appointing an assessing panel who could assume this authority. Rogers said this is popular in other towns, however, the problem he has seen is power struggles between the Board of Assessors and the panel.
Resident Frank Monroe suggested a flat tax. Drew Sell suggested the Board establish guidelines and expand the timeline for when the surveys are due.
Resident Jennifer Grady said that not everyone in town received the survey and that a tax on just business will hurt a lot of people in town. “This tax should be on everybody, not just businesses,” she said.
Resident Clint Towle agreed, adding that the way the town “rolled out” the survey was botched.
Sheaffer noted that the matter is contentious among selectmen.
Resident Barry Tibbetts said he recognized selectmen are between a “rock and a hard place,” and that there is so much latitude in the law. Resident Gigi Hutchins asked if the mill rate would drop if the taxes were collected.
“Whatever is collected will drop the mill rate,” Marple responded.
Before the close of the meeting, selectmen voted in favor of extending the deadline for personal property submissions to July 1, 2015.

 

Town of Whitefield
Select Board Meeting Minutes
May 18, 2015

Present: Sue McKeen, Tony Marple, Lester Sheaffer and Dennis Merrill
Administrative Assistant Aaron Miller
Absent: Frank Ober
Select Board actions

  1. The minutes of May 5 were approved 4-0.
  1. Accounts payable and payroll warrants were signed.
  2. Personal property tax. The Board had a general discussion of personal property tax issues with several interested citizens present. Some of the issues discussed included:
  • Limiting the tax only to businesses
  • Collection and enforcement
  • The effect on revenue sharing
  • How telephone company equipment is taxed
  • Possible use of caps
  • How mil rate might compare to those on real estate
  • The cost of maintaining a collection program

The Board voted 3-1 (Lester opposed) to appoint the following citizens to a personal property tax advisory committee. Mark Doyon, Tom Colpitt, Tim Chase, Mike Moody, Dan Joslyn, Rodney Bailey and Louis Sell. A first meeting is scheduled for May 21 at 7 PM in the School library.

  1. Turnaround. Lester and the Road Commissioner visited a snowplow turnaround area on Howe road that has raised some concern with a resident about gravel having been pushed up and other damage. A gate there was damaged before plowing activity started. The Road Commissioner will clean up some debris in the area.
  2. Liquor license. With owners Steve Dumas and Wyatt Steven present, the Board voted 4-0 to approve a new liquor license application for a restaurant under construction on Rt 17. The establishment will be primarily a restaurant but intends to serve alcohol. Aaron reported the Code Enforcement officer expressed no concerns with the proposal.
  3. Tax relief for the elderly. The Board discussed a state law that allows lower income persons over 70 to not pay property taxes on their homestead as long as they live there. Once they vacate, the taxes, plus interest, would come due. Implementing this in Town would require enactment of an ordinance at town meeting. Aaron will contact other towns to find out how much this provision is used and how well it works.
  4. Paperwork appointing newly hired Karen Bryant as a motor vehicle agent was signed.
  5. Curran property. Aaron reported that Mr. Curran contacted him about selling the foreclosed home he formerly owned. Mr. Curran has a potential buyer for the property and would like the town to participate in a three-way sale to allow the transaction to go forward. A quit claim deed would be given to Mr. Curran at closing upon receipt of all past due and current taxes. Dennis will contact the Town’s attorney to see if this approach is appropriate.
  6. Recycling fence. We should get an estimate for a high chain link fence in the recycling area to help contain debris from blowing around. Since the cost may be fairly high, this work may have to be included in next year’s budget.
  7. Tanker truck. Aaron reported the old tanker truck has been advertised and some inquiries have been received. The due date for bids in June 1.
  8. The fire station meeting room floor needs stripping and refinishing. We will work with the Fire Chief to get someone lined up to do the work.

 
Next week. Update on Curran property, personnel policy update, road grader, brush cutting contract, tanker truck
Assessor’s Actions
None.

Town of Whitefield
Select Board Meeting Minutes
May 26, 2015

Present: Sue McKeen (delayed), Tony Marple, Frank Ober, Lester Sheaffer and Dennis Merrill
Administrative Assistant Aaron Miller
Select Board actions

  1. The minutes of May 12 and May 18 were approved 3-0-1 each.
  1. A payroll warrant was signed. The Board had a general discussion about contributions to employee IRA accounts and procedures for doing this.
  2. Solid Waste. Resident Carole Cifrino came in and explained an upcoming meeting on regional solid waste disposal options. This is being conducted by the Mitchell Center at the University of Maine. The meeting will be June 11 at Bowdoin College. The Board voted 5-0 to have Carole represent the Town at the meeting.
  3. Liquor license. On a 5-0 vote the Board approved an annual renewal for a liquor license for the Lions Club.
  4. Personnel Policy. The Board voted 5-0 to modify the Personnel Policy to clarify that Town contributions to an employee IRA will begin after the six month probationary period.
  5. New position. The Board discussed hiring a new part time office assistant to help supplement internal financial control and help with general office needs. Aaron will consult with existing staff to see if they want any of the new 13 hours per week. He will prepare an advertisement for the new position.
  6. Foreclosures. The Board discussed the status of tax acquired properties. Unless accounts are paid up or firm arrangements are made by the end of the month, we will proceed to list them with the Town’s real estate broker. Frank and Tony will visit the Fairservice property next week. The Town’s attorney will be asked to expedite actions on the Thayer property.
  7. Health Insurance. In discussing health insurance benefits, the Board noted a typo in the personnel policy referring to "gold" plan coverage instead of "silver" coverage as is the intent; the policy will be corrected.
  8. Roadside mowing. A proposal for three years of roadside mowing was reviewed. It was unclear in some aspects so the person making the proposal will be contacted for clarification before deciding if mowing should be put out to bid.
  9. Annual audit. Aaron noted the auditors will be coming in June 19 to start preparing for the annual audit. A standard letter of engagement was signed.
  10. Recycling center. The Board discussed a video surveillance system for the recycling area to help identify persons leaving trash. First signage needs to be improved. We will ask the recycling attendant to come in to discuss operation of a video system.
  11. Grader. In lieu of the broken down grader, we will plan to hire one as needed for now and place an article on the warrant for next year’s town meeting to see if the Town wants to purchase another grader. In the interim, we will try to get prices on used graders.
  12. Flood insurance. Frank reported on a meeting he went to on the national flood insurance program, and the Board had a general discussion about the program. Whitefield is one of a relatively few towns in the State that does not participate in the program. Dennis will contact the Planning Board chairman to begin a process of considering whet her the Town should adopt and ordinance to enable the program to be implemented.
  13. Executive session. Pursuant to 1 MRSA, §405(6)(A), the Board voted to go into executive session to discuss a personnel matter. Following the session, the Board voted 4-1 (Lester opposed) to accept a final settlement with former Tax Collector Robin White as recommended by the Town’s attorney in which all costs to the Town resulting from the case of fraud will be repaid. A Board member will be authorized to sign the final settlement document.

Next week: Update on foreclosed properties. Discussion with recycling attendant.
NOTE: the meeting on June 9 will be held in the Town Office due to RSU 12 budget voting at the Fire Station.

Assessor’s Actions
None.

 

Town of Whitefield
Select Board Meeting Minutes
June 2, 2015

Present: Sue McKeen, Tony Marple, Frank Ober, Lester Sheaffer and Dennis Merrill
  Administrative Assistant Aaron Miller

Select Board actions

  1. The minutes of June 2 were approved 5-0.

 

  1. Coopers Mills Volunteer Fire Department.  Several representatives of CMVFD were present to discuss their plans for a new building.  Bids for construction of a new building came in higher than anticipated, causing that proposal to be abandoned.  As an alternate, CMVFD is now proposing to renovate its existing building.  This would include upgrading of wiring and insulation as necessary and inspection by a structural engineer.  Also, new heating, lights, insulation and a bathroom would be provided.  There would three bays as there are now and the possibility for expansion would be preserved.  Fire Chief Scott Higgins noted that the Town’s need is for one bay to house the new pumper tanker truck.  Following some discussion, the Board voted 5-0 to support the concept presented by CMVFD.
  1. Foreclosed land.  The Board met with the former owner of a relatively small parcel of undeveloped land.  She asked for a 45-day extension of the Town’s intent to sell the land by sealed bid to allow time to reclaim the property.  The Board agreed to this, setting July 24 as the deadline.

 

  1. Spirit of America.  The Board voted 5-0 to nominate the Whitefield Food Bank volunteers for the Spirit of America award.
  1. Balltown Lane.  The lane leading to the sand and salt shed and recycling center is in poor condition and needs repairs.  The Board discussed options, including grinding the pavement and making most of the lane gravel.  The portion near Townhouse Road and the pavement in front of the buildings would be retained. 

 

  1. Fire station lease.  The Board had a general discussion about the lease with CMVFD.  In light of the proposal to upgrade their building, the lease may need some updates or revisions.  Possible areas include ensuring any new construction meets all applicable codes, clarifying who is responsible for various maintenance and what might happen should upgrades not be made in the next year.
  1. Fourth of July parade.  The Board voted 5-0 to sanction the Kings Mills parade on the Fourth of July as a Town event.

 

Assessor’s Actions

1.  With Assessor’s Agent Tom Hayes present, the following abatements were approved 5-0 each.

  1. Tax acquired property on Townhouse Road, formerly R. Chase.  The building value was reduced due to very poor condition.  New total value $37,141.
  2. Tax acquired property on Wiscasset Road, formerly R. Chase.  The building value was reduced due to very poor condition.  New total value $44,583.
  3. Tax acquired property on Hemlock Lane, formerly M. Fairservice.  The mobile home value was reduced due to very poor condition.  New total value $77,326.
  4. Property on Townhouse Road owned by G. King.  Mobile home value reduced due to incorrect prior measurements, undependable water supply and other issues.  New total value 37,699.

 

2.  The Board voted 5-0 to remove one base lot from a parcel owned by W. Chiappini and V. Stanley. 

3.  The Board voted 5-0 to combine lots 9-5 and 90-5A.

Town of Whitefield
Select Board Meeting Minutes
June 9, 2015

 

Present: Sue McKeen, Tony Marple, Frank Ober, Lester Sheaffer and Dennis Merrill
Administrative Assistant Aaron Miller

Select Board actions

  1. The minutes of June 2 were approved 5-0.

 

  1. Coopers Mills Volunteer Fire Department.  Several representatives of CMVFD were present to discuss their plans for a new building.  Bids for construction of a new building came in higher than anticipated, causing that proposal to be abandoned.  As an alternate, CMVFD is now proposing to renovate its existing building.  This would include upgrading of wiring and insulation as necessary and inspection by a structural engineer.  Also, new heating, lights, insulation and a bathroom would be provided.  There would three bays as there are now and the possibility for expansion would be preserved.  Fire Chief Scott Higgins noted that the Town’s need is for one bay to house the new pumper tanker truck.  Following some discussion, the Board voted 5-0 to support the concept presented by CMVFD.
  1. Foreclosed land.  The Board met with the former owner of a relatively small parcel of undeveloped land.  She asked for a 45-day extension of the Town’s intent to sell the land by sealed bid to allow time to reclaim the property.  The Board agreed to this, setting July 24 as the deadline.

 

  1. Spirit of America.  The Board voted 5-0 to nominate the Whitefield Food Bank volunteers for the Spirit of America award.
  1. Balltown Lane.  The lane leading to the sand and salt shed and recycling center is in poor condition and needs repairs.  The Board discussed options, including grinding the pavement and making most of the lane gravel.  The portion near Townhouse Road and the pavement in front of the buildings would be retained. 

 

  1. Fire station lease.  The Board had a general discussion about the lease with CMVFD.  In light of the proposal to upgrade their building, the lease may need some updates or revisions.  Possible areas include ensuring any new construction meets all applicable codes, clarifying who is responsible for various maintenance and what might happen should upgrades not be made in the next year.
  1. Fourth of July parade.  The Board voted 5-0 to sanction the Kings Mills parade on the Fourth of July as a Town event.

 

Assessor’s Actions

1.  With Assessor’s Agent Tom Hayes present, the following abatements were approved 5-0 each.

  1. Tax acquired property on Townhouse Road, formerly R. Chase.  The building value was reduced due to very poor condition.  New total value $37,141.
  2. Tax acquired property on Wiscasset Road, formerly R. Chase.  The building value was reduced due to very poor condition.  New total value $44,583.
  3. Tax acquired property on Hemlock Lane, formerly M. Fairservice.  The mobile home value was reduced due to very poor condition.  New total value $77,326.
  4. Property on Townhouse Road owned by G. King.  Mobile home value reduced due to incorrect prior measurements, undependable water supply and other issues.  New total value 37,699.

 

2.  The Board voted 5-0 to remove one base lot from a parcel owned by W. Chiappini and V. Stanley. 

3.  The Board voted 5-0 to combine lots 9-5 and 90-5A.

 

Town of Whitefield
Select Board Meeting Minutes
June 16, 2015

Present: Sue McKeen, Tony Marple, Frank Ober, Lester Sheaffer and Dennis Merrill
Administrative Assistant Aaron Miller

Select Board actions

  1. The minutes of June 9 were approved 5-0.

 

  1. Accounts payable and payroll warrants were signed.
  1. Road issues.  Road Commissioner David Boynton joined the Board to discuss putting up salt and sand for next year.  About $25,000 remains in this year’s budget to begin this process which can be completed in July under next year’s budget, as has been done in recent years.  David estimated four loads of salt and about 3,500 yards of sand will be needed.  The source of sand we have used in recent years is closed this year, so another pit will have to be used at a higher price per yard of sand.  However, the new pit is closer so trucking costs will be lower, hopefully making the total cost not too much different from last year.  The Board voted 4-0-1 (Frank abstaining) to authorize David to put up the sand and salt using other local truckers as well.  David will share samples of the sand with our plowing contractor to ensure he is satisfied with the sand.  There was also a general discussion of a draft of the road committee’s preliminary work plan for this year.  More work is needed on the plan and David will try to attend the next meeting of the roads committee.

 

  1. Budget review.  With the end of the fiscal year coming up, the Board reviewed the current budget and spending.  Overall, we are in sound condition and will end the fiscal year in the black.
  1. Old fire truck.  The Board discussed sale of the old tanker truck formerly located at Coopers Mills.  Prior advertising failed to get any bids.   Aaron has found a national web site for the sale of used public equipment, similar to e-Bay.  He will place the truck on the web site and use other media as he can.

 

  1. Surplus equipment.  The Board agreed to advertise for sale two riding mowers, a trailer, weed whackers and a leaf blower, with bids due June 30.  We will use electronic media, a newspaper ad, and postings around town to get the word out.  Similarly, we will include the old non-motorized grader in this effort.
  1. Recycling center.  The Board decided to install 50 feet of chain link fence around the plastic bins at the recycling center to help prevent materials from blowing away.

 

Next week:  personal property tax discussion

Assessor’s Actions

None

Town of Whitefield
Select Board Meeting Minutes
June 23, 2015

 

Present: Sue McKeen, Tony Marple, Frank Ober, Lester Sheaffer and Dennis Merrill
Administrative Assistant Aaron Miller

Select Board actions

  • The minutes of June 16 were approved 5-0.

 

  • Brownfields program.  Mary Ellen Barnes from the Lincoln County Regional Planning came in to discuss a program they have received funding for to help evaluate certain properties for the possibility of environmental contamination.  The so-called “Brownfields” evaluations are aimed at properties that may be sold for commercial purposes.  Grants would be made to allow phase one and, if needed, phase two site evaluations.  One intent is to help redevelopment of possibly contaminated sites to create jobs.  LCRP would like suggestions of sites in Town that may be candidates.  Some possible types of eligible contamination include risks from underground storage tanks, lead, asbestos, chemical usage or agriculture. 
  • Road records.  Resident David Hayden came in to discuss updating records of Town roads.  In particular, when Palmer Road was relocated several years ago, the records need to be update to reflect ownership of the new roadway, easements, abandonment of the old road, etc.  Also, similar information is needed for Moosehead Lane that was accepted as a Town road last March.

 

  • Fire Department.  Scott Higgins came in to discuss with the Board insurance and other issues related to upgrades of the station owned by Coopers Mills Volunteer Fire Department.  During any construction, the contractor must have satisfactory liability insurance with a binder naming the Town and CMVFD as co-insured.  There were some questions on general insurance coverage when a building is owned a private party and leased and insured by the Town through MMA’s insurance program.  State Fire Marshall and Town CEO should sign off on plan for building renovations.  Tony and Dennis will be meeting with CMVFD representatives next week to begin a dialog about these types of issues, the path forward on building renovation and revision of the lease as needed.
  • Real estate sale.  The Board signed an acknowledgement of listing with our agent for sale of the former Whetmore land on Wiscasset Road.

 

  • Surplus property.  Aaron reported he is advertising for the sale of surplus lawn care and other equipment.  He is using various electronic media, posting around Town and a newspaper ad.  Bids are to be opened July 7. 
  • Hazard mitigation.  The County Emergency Management is looking for a listing of areas at risk in the event of floods, such as chemical storage, fuel storage, roadways, or other sensitive areas.  Frank will attend a meeting next Tuesday.

 

  • Audit.  Aaron reported the auditors were in to begin work for the annual audit.  The Board expressed its desire to have the audit completed within 90 days.
  • New office person.  Aaron will be advertising for a part-time office assistant.

 

  • Sand and salt.  Aaron reported that there is no road salt currently available so putting sand and salt for next year will have to be delayed.
  • Municipal calendar.  Aaron is working on an annual calendar of events the Town needs to track and is looking for additions.

 

  • Old fire truck.  Aaron is advertising the old tanker truck on a national web site for sale of surplus government property.
  • Curran property.  Aaron reported that another mortgage hold for the foreclosed Curran property has been identified and will be notified.  Any action will be delayed until we can get a response from this company.

 

  • Flood insurance.  Tony will be meeting with Planning Board Chair Jim Torbert to discuss the flood insurance consideration.
  • Recycling center.  Dennis noted that the Lincoln County program would like to get out of handling electronics.  A private firm, North Coast Services, LLC is willing to step in and will take the items the County has been plus probably some new items.  With the exception of fluorescent tubes, this would be at no cost and some items will pay small amounts.  Fluorescent tubes probably can be handled separately though a State program at no cost.  The Board was agreeable to using North Coast.  Also, the Board voted 5-0 to purchase 50 feet of chain link fence to help contain plastics blowing from containers. 

 

Next week:  Abatements, review of foreclosure list, performance appraisal process, roadside mowing contract, foreclosed land sale, ACO contract. 

 

Assessor’s Actions

Personal property tax.  Bill McKeen and Dan Joslyn presented the report of the citizen’s committee on personal property taxes.  They described the process and presented recommendations.  Following discussion, the Board voted 3-2 (Lester and Dennis opposed) to adopt the following recommendations, to be implemented by the Assessor’s Agent for the upcoming commitment.

  • Increase the automatic depreciation schedule “ADS” as previously proposed to reflect a 10% property value on year seven (7).  Subsequent years remain at 10%.

 

  • Deduct $10,000 from the aggregate total of the purchase price of all equipment owned before determining the PPT.  Assessor’s agent calculates.
  • Establish a $1,000 floor per item.  Property valued at less than $1,000 will not be reported.

 

  • PPT to be administered to businesses only.

The deadline for reporting of property was extended to July 10.  A letter will be sent to property owners and a public meeting will be held July 7.

Town of Whitefield
Select Board Meeting Minutes
June 30, 2015

 

Present: Sue McKeen, Tony Marple, Frank Ober (delayed), Lester Sheaffer (delayed) and Dennis Merrill
Administrative Assistant Aaron Miller

Select Board actions

  1. The minutes of June 23 were approved 3-0.

 

  1. Accounts payable and Payroll warrants were signed. 
  1. Road work.  The 2105 work plan from the roads committee was reviewed.  The Board agreed with the concepts and moving ahead with hiring a consultant to determine which roads should have soil borings done and to send out a RFP for geotechnical firms.

 

  1. Animal control contract.  The Board voted 4-1 (Lester opposed) to renew the animal control contract with Lincoln County.  The new contract is similar to the previous one but with a provision for cost sharing of equipment used by the various towns.
  1. Recycling fence.  The Board voted 5-0 to hire Lowe’s (through a subcontractor) to install a new chain link fence to help contain plastics blowing around.  Approximate cost is $500.

 

  1. Foreclosures.  Aaron said he has notified MMA of the foreclosed buildings we own so liability insurance can be added if needed.  The Board reviewed the status of foreclosed accounts:

Carlton. Making sporadic payments but somewhat behind.
Bills.  Making regular payments.
Curran.  A newly discovered mortgage holder has been notified.  On hold pending their response.
Minoty.  Making sporadic payments but is behind.  Review situation in September.
Peaslee.  Payment recently received on new agreement.
Dube.  Payments are current.
Pipkin.  On hold until July 24 to see if owner will repurchase.

We will begin sending monthly reminders to parties with payment agreements to help them stay on track.

  1. Accident insurance.  The Board discussed a proposal from MMA to provide accident insurance for volunteers doing work for the town but took no action.

 

  1. Insurance underwriting.  Aaron reported that MMA insurance underwriters will visit on July 17.
  1. Fire station lease.  The Board voted 4-1 (Lester in favor) against moving to terminate the lease with Cooper Mills Volunteer Fire Department until their building is improved and the town can use it once again.

 

  1. New office person.  Aaron will be advertising for a part-time office assistant.

Next week:  Roadside mowing contract,  opening bids for surplus equipment, purchasing policy, public meeting on personal property taxes.

 

Assessor’s Actions

Assessor’s Agent Tom Hays came in to present several abatements.  All were approved on 3-0 votes.

  1. Fairservice on Hemlock Lane due to the condition of a mobile home.
  2. Chase at 164 Wiscasset Road due to the poor condition of a building.
  3. Chase on Townhouse Road due to the poor condition of the home and garage.
  4. Chase at 175 Wiscasset Road due to building condition.
  5. McGuire on Howe Road (old Crowe Rope) due to re-characterization of building from manufacturing to warehouse structure.

 

The Board had a general discussion about old personal property accounts.  Tom will prepare a list of these accounts for future review.

Selectmen’s Minutes
July 7, 2015

 

Present Frank Ober, acting chair, Tony Marple, Lester Sheaffer, Sue McKeen, acting secretary - absent Dennis Merrill.  Administrative Assistant Aaron Miller on vacation.

No minutes from June 30 meeting available due to Aaron’s absence.

Select Board actions:

  • Road Crack Sealing contract:  Reviewed the contract and discussion re term of contract; proposals due.  Board deferred action on contract until Dennis returns to clarify some portions of the contract.
  • Discussed Purchasing policy - Page 2, Section C - changed to $10,000 for road work.  Voted 4-0 to approve.
  • Roadside mowing contract - the entire contract was received and reviewed.  Prices provided - Not to exceed $2,025.00 - 38.53 miles; any additional work $60.00/mile.  Vote 4-0 to accept.
  • Opened bids for town  surplus equipment.  Total raised:  $1811.00.  Frank offered to meet with the successful bidders at the shed on Friday at 6:00.   Bids attached.
  • Charter Communications:  Company bought Time Warner Cable - sent informational packet.
  • Next week’s agenda:

            Lease agreement with Coopers Mills - Tony will follow up to ask members to        
Road crack sealing contract
Parade noise level
Performance appraisals - Tony will send format to Board members.

 
At 7:00 opened public informational meeting regarding personal property taxes .

Sue McKeen
Acting Secretary

Town of Whitefield
Select Board Meeting Minutes
July 14, 2015

 

Present: Tony Marple, Lester Sheaffer and Dennis Merrill
Administrative Assistant Aaron Miller
Absent: Sue McKeen, Frank Ober
Select Board actions

  1. The minutes of June 30 were approved 3-0 and the minutes of July 7 were approved 2-0-1.

 

  1. Accounts payable and Payroll warrants were signed.
  1. Moosehead Lane.  A draft deed transferring Moosehead Lane to the Town was reviewed and approved by the Board 3-0.

 

  1. Coopers Mills FD.  A letter was received from CMVFD outlining the steps in their proposed upgrade of the present station.  They plan to have the work done by the end of October.  A vote by the association on the contractor’s price for the work is scheduled for July 20.  Aaron noted he has spoken with MMA about insurance during construction and they are okay with the situation.  Fire Chief Scott Higgins was present and there was a discussion of standards for the renovation work.  The Chief was asked to convey to CMVFD any specific accommodations needed by the fire department; he said the primary need is for an air compressor.
  1. Road work.  The Board discussed various road projects.  The contract for crack sealing will be put out to bid.  The Board voted 3-0 to allow Road Commissioner David Boynton to do ditching and culvert work in the Coopers Mills area.  David’s knowledge of local conditions and needs of residents was the primary factor in this decision.  The Board also voted 3-0 to put out to bid ditching on Hollywood Blvd. and Doy le Road plus reconstruction of a part of Doyle Road as one package.  A contract for brush clearing on Heath and all sections of the Hunts Meadow Road will be put out to bid with a completion date of not later than November 1.  The Board had a general discussion about proposing that the Road Commissioner be changed to an appointed position.  We will begin some research on this in conjunction with the Roads Committee.

 

  1. Office position.  Aaron reported seven applications have been received for the part time office assistant position.  A committee consisting of Aaron, Karen and Sue will screen the applications and conduct interviews.
  1. Accident insurance.  The Board discussed a proposal from MMA to provide accident insurance for volunteers doing work for the town but took no action.

 

  1. Insurance underwriting.  Aaron reported that MMA insurance underwriters will visit on July 17.

Next week:  Performance appraisal

 

Assessor’s Actions

None

Town of Whitefield
Select Board Meeting Minutes
July 21, 2015

 

Present: Tony Marple, Sue McKeen, Frank Ober, Lester Sheaffer and Dennis Merrill
Administrative Assistant Aaron Miller

Select Board actions

  1. The minutes of July 14 were approved 3-0.

 

  1. Road work.  The Board voted 5-0 to accept the proposal from Summit Geotechnical for doing borings on various roads. Estimated cost $12,000.
  1. Parking lot.  Dennis reported he and Erik Ekholm measured out the proposed new parking lot on Monday.  To confirm the location of the water line, it was recommended a small excavator be hired to do test digging.  By locating the line the need for insulation over it can be reduced or eliminated.  The estimated cost is less than $200.  We will proceed on this.

 

  1. Accounting seminar.  Our accounting firm is sponsoring a free half-day seminar next week.  Aaron and Tony plan to attend.
  1. Cable company.  The Board noted receipt of a legal notice regarding a merger of Charter Communications and Time Warner Corp.  No action needed.

 

  1. Thank-you.  The Board signed a letter of thank to Dolly Burns who recently painted the rail fence at the veteran’s memorial. 
  1. Clary Lake.  We may receive a request from Clary Lake Association for the Town to take action to urge the long-stalled court action to be moved along.  We will check with our attorney in preparation for such a request.

 

  1. Accounting services.  Our long-time accountant, Terry Desmond, has retired and is being replace by Scott Rocray.
  1. Executive session.  Pursuant to 1 MRSA, §405(6)(A) the Board voted 5-0 to go into an executive session to discuss a personnel matter.  Following the session, no action was taken.

 

Next week:  Performance appraisal; Coopers Mills Fire Department, deeds for Dube and Curran. 

 

Assessor’s Actions

Town of Whitefield
Select Board Meeting Minutes
July 28, 2015

Present: Tony Marple, Sue McKeen (delayed), Frank Ober, Lester Sheaffer and Dennis Merrill
Administrative Assistant Aaron Miller

Select Board actions

  1. The minutes of July 21 were approved 4-0.

 

  1. Road work.  Road Commissioner David Boynton was present for general discussion of a number of road related issues.  He was asked to make repairs to potholes and eroding shoulders around town.  Since the town grader is broken down, David will investigate hiring a grader to work on shoulder problems.  There was a discussion of general management roles and responsibilities and alternative administrative structures.  David pointed out that bidding out large road jobs disadvantages an elected Road Commissioner as he/she can be left with only small, less profitable work (signs, road postings, potholes, small repair projects, etc.)  One alternative could be to have an appointed Road Commissioner who is paid a stipend. 
  1. Parking lot.  After some discussion, the Board decided to defer a decision on bidding out construction of the new parking lot until next week.  In the meantime, David Boynton will review the specifications to see if he could do the work for less than the $10,000 that is the Board’s cutoff for bidding out road projects.

 

  1. Gravel improvements.  The Board decided to put out to bid a contract for ditching of Hollywood Boulevard and Doyle Road and reconstruction of parts of Doyle Road.
  1. Accounts payable and payroll warrants were signed.

 

  1. Quit claim deeds to William Curran and Patrick Thayer were signed.
  1. Accounting seminar.  Aaron reported on a seminar sponsored by our auditors he attended today.  He found the session on internal controls to be helpful and informative.

 

  1. Tax collector.  The Board voted 4-1 (Lester opposed) to give our tax collector a pay raise of $0.50 per hour.
  1. Executive session.  Pursuant to 1 MRSA, §405(6)(A) the Board voted 5-0 to go into an executive session to discuss a personnel matter.  Following the session, a performance appraisal was signed.

 

Next week:  Meet with the CEO, parking lot contract. 

Assessor’s Actions

Assessor’s Agent Tom Hayes was present to update the Board on personal property tax and abatements for foreclosed properties.

Town of Whitefield
Select Board Meeting Minutes
August 4, 2015

Present: Sue McKeen, Tony Marple, Frank Ober, and Lester Sheaffer
Administrative Assistant Aaron Miller

Select Board actions

  1. The minutes of July 28, 2015 were approved 4-0.

 

  1. Town parking lot. Road Commissioner David Boynton submitted a $9,485 bid to construct a parking lot between the town office and Whitefield Fire & Rescue. This work will meet specifications as required by the board and will include a culvert and removal of trees. The board voted 3-0-1 in favor of having Boynton do the work, Frank abstained.
  1. New hire. Natalia Turner was introduced to the Select Board as recommend to serve at the town office on a part-time basis. The board voted 4-0 to hire Turner as an office assistant. She will work on Wednesdays and Fridays and as needed.

 

  1. Townhouse Rd. At the request of a citizen, the board voted to send a letter to David Allen at the state’s Department of Transportation to study the speed limit at the north end of Townhouse Rd. 3-1, Les opposed.
  1. Cemetery Deed. Selectmen signed a corrected Certificate of Ownership of One Cemetery Lot (Certificate No. 6) to reflect that Lot 9, Section 7 is reserved for Wayne Mullens and Shannon Baron’s cremains. The original deed signed Aug. 27, 2014 did not have Baron’s name included.

 

  1. Coopers Mills Cemetery. Les reported that some stones have been knocked over at the Coopers Mills Cemetery. Aaron will follow up with a contractor for repair of the stones.
  1.  Executive Session. The board voted 4-0 to enter into executive session to discuss tax acquired real estate, 1 M.R.S.A. §405(6)(C). Following executive session, the board voted 3-1, Les opposed, to submit a counter offer for tax-acquired land (Map/Lot 001-005-003; 001-057-002; and 001-057-001). If the potential purchaser refused, the board agreed to accept the original offer.

 

  1. Executive Session. The board voted 4-0 to enter into executive session to discuss a personnel matter, 1 M.R.S.A. §405(6)(A). There was no action following the executive session.
  1. Assessor’s Actions. None.

Town of Whitefield
Select Board Meeting Minutes
August 11, 2015

 

Present: Tony Marple, Frank Ober, Lester Sheaffer and Dennis Merrill
Administrative Assistant Aaron Miller
Absent:  Sue McKeen

Select Board actions

  1. The minutes of August 4 were approved 3-0-1.

 

  1. Accounts payable and payroll warrants were signed.
  1. Brush clearing contract.  One bid was received for clearing brush on Heath Road and all sections Hunts Meadow Road by the published deadline of August 7.  Nathan Northrup came in to request that he be allowed to submit a bid as well.  He explained that he had attempted to obtain bid documents last week but they were not made immediately available.  After some discussion, the Board voted 4-0 to accept Mr. Northrup’s bid.  The Board then proceeded to open the two bids:

 

Nathan Northrup                           $39,000
Spicer Tree                                    $16,254

The Board voted 4-0 to accept the bid from Spicer Tree.

  1. Crack sealing contract.  Three bids for sealing cracks on Vigue, Hilton and Devine Roads were opened.  Each bidder was asked to provide a cost per foot of crack filled as the formal bid price.  In addition, each was asked to provide a non-binding estimate for completion of each road.  One bidder, B+S Paving, did not provide the required per foot price.  The bids were:

 

Firm

$ per foot

Estimate for Vigue Road

Estimate for Hilton Road

Estimate for Devine Road

Total Estimate

ProSeal

$0.47

$9,900

$4,900

$2,700

$17,500

Coastal Road Repair

$0.59

$3,900

$2,200

$1,100

$7,200

B+S Paving

None

$13,200

$6,500

$5,000

$24,700

Any decision on these bids was tabled until the references of the firms can be checked and the differences between the estimated costs can be explored.

  1. Sole Proprietor certification.  Aaron noted a resident having a part-time small business has asked that the Town acknowledge this situation to support his business requirements.  Aaron said he has checked with MMA and there is a statute that covers this, with a form to be completed and a $10 fee.  Alternately, the Town could draft a letter to the same effect.  Before the meeting ended, the resident came in and completed the State form.

 

  1. Internal controls.  Aaron provided a copy of a document describing internal controls to ensure good financial management.  This could be adopted as a Town policy; Tony will review the draft.
  1. Fuel refund.  Aaron said he is applying to the State for a rebate of highway taxes paid by the Town for fuel purchased for fire trucks, etc.  The amount is $368.

 

  1. Aaron noted we have received a rebate of $1,285 from the MMA insurance pool for having a good claims record.
  1. Coopers Mills cemetery.  Part of a stone wall at the cemetery has fallen down.  We will contact stone masons to get estimates for repairs.

 

  1. Executive session.  Pursuant to 1 MRSA, §405(6)(C) the Board voted 4-0 to go into an executive session to discuss sale of real property.  Following the session, the Board voted 3-1 (Lester opposed) to authorize Aaron or Dennis to sign a purchase and sales agreement to be negotiated by our real estate agent on terms discussed by the Board.

Next week:  Crack sealing bids.

 

Assessor’s Actions

None

Town of Whitefield
Select Board Meeting Minutes
August 18, 2015

 

Present: Frank Ober Lester Sheaffer and Dennis Merrill
Administrative Assistant Aaron Miller
Absent:  Sue McKeen, Tony Marple

Select Board actions

  1. The minutes of August 18 were approved 3-0.

 

  1. Fuel removal.  Construction is underway at the Cooper Mills fire station and about a half a tank of fuel oil purchased by the Town must be removed.  CMVFD has sold the furnace and tank itself.  The renovated station will be heated with propane.  Initially, the Board voted 3-0 to pay to have the fuel pumped out and moved to Kings Mills and the Town Office.  (The cost to do this would make the value of the fuel marginal at current prices.)  Subsequently, a check of the fuel tanks at those two locations indicated they are nearly full and cannot receive the half tank from Coopers Mills.  The Board then rescinded it previous vote and voted 2-1 (Lester opposed) to donate the fuel to CMVFD.
  1. Fuel contracts.  When securing contracts for propane this year, we need to coordinate with CMVFD to try to have the new propane tank supplied by the same company as used at the Town Office and central fire station. 

 

  1. Crack sealing contract.  The Board voted 3-0 to award the road crack sealing to Proseal.
  1. Gravel road improvements.  One bid for improvements to Doyle Road and ditching of Hollywood Blvd. and Doyle Road was received from Larry DiPietro d/b/a as 2 Sons Construction for $94,850.  The Board voted 3-0 to not accept this bid.

 

  1. Tax acquired properties.  Frank reported on visits to Chase and Fairservice to discuss payments to reclaim tax acquired properties.  The parties were asked to submit written proposal by next week.
  1. Budget.  Aaron reported the bank account stands at about $818,000.  The Board reviewed the budget set up for the fiscal year beginning July 1.

 

  1. County budget committee.  Notice has been received from the County Commissioners that the annual budget committee meeting will be held September 3 at 7:00 PM at the county court house.
  1. Elder Appreciation Day will be held Oct 17 in Damariscotta.  This information will be sent to the Whitefield News.

 

  1. Aaron noted he is signing up for an accounting course at Univ. Of Maine at Augusta.  The course fee is $745 plus $50 for the book.

Next week:  Meet with Road Commissioner; tax acquired properties.

 

Assessor’s Actions

Assessor’s Agent Tom Hayes came in to discuss several items:

He will be meeting a Maine Revenue Service representative to discuss the BETE program.

He expects the tax commitment to be complete the third week in September.

Several people have been inquiring about tax abatements for land on Clary Lake due to low water levels.

 

Town of Whitefield
Select Board Meeting Minutes
August 25, 2015

 

Present: Frank Ober, Sue McKeen, Tony Marple, Lester Sheaffer and Dennis Merrill
Administrative Assistant Aaron Miller

Select Board actions

  1. The minutes of August 18 were approved 3-0.

Road Commissioner.  Road Commissioner David Boynton came in to discuss the roles and responsibilities of the road program and the RC.  Three entities, the Select Board, the RC and the roads committee, are now involved in planning funding and doing road work.  With new roles and a larger budget, the Board wanted to review how all this can work best.  Additionally, the cap for not bidding out projects at $10,000 needs review as an elected RC has historically relied on revenue from larger projects to make the otherwise unpaid job worthwhile.  Aaron provided a synopsis of information he got from other towns to see how they administer and operate their roads programs.  He found a great deal of variability.  The Board also reviewed a list of road program jobs and responsibilities broken into administrative duties and various types of maintenance and capital projects.  There was discussion about whether the RC should be elected or appointed and the term of office. Several other towns reported they would prefer an appointed RC.  David noted if the position was for a longer term, say 3 years, he would be more inclined to invest in new equipment.  With a one year term, investments don’t pay.  We will get purchasing policies from other towns to see how they handle bidding out larger projects.  The decisions to be made going forward  include having the RC elected or appointed, the length of the RC’s term either way, whether to pay a stipend or other compensation and the threshold for bidding out projects.

  1. Gravel road improvements. The sole bidder for the gravel road improvements contract rejected by the Board last week came in to discuss the reasons for the high bid, citing the significant length of roads to be ditched and the documents being unclear as to the extent of the work needed.  He suggested possibly bidding out this work by the foot or an hourly rate.  A pre-bid meeting to help clarify the intended work would have been helpful.  The Board appreciated this feed back.  We will reconsider the ditching work in consultation with the Road Commissioner and look at still doing some work this fall. 

 

  1. Budget.  Aaron reported the bank account stands at about $818,000.  The Board reviewed the budget set up for the fiscal year beginning July 1.

 

  1. County budget committee.  Notice has been received from the County Commissioners that the annual budget committee meeting will be held September 3 at 7:00 PM at the county court house.
  1. Elder Appreciation Day will be held Oct 17 in Damriscotta.  This information will be sent to the Whitefield News.

 

  1. Aaron noted he is signing up for an accounting course at Univ. Of Maine at Augusta.  The course fee is $745 plus $50 for the book.

Next week:  Meet with Road Commissioner; tax acquired properties.

 

Assessor’s Actions

Assessor’s Agent Tom Hayes came in to discuss several items:

He will be meeting a Maine Revenue Service representative to discuss the BETE program.

He expects the tax commitment to be complete the third week in September.

Several people have been inquiring about tax abatements for land on Clary Lake due to low water levels.)

Town of Whitefield
Select Board Meeting September 1, 2015

 

Present: Frank Ober, Sue McKeen, Lester Sheaffer and Dennis Merrill
Administrative Assistant Aaron Miller
Absent: Tony Marple

Select Board actions

  1. The minutes of August 25 were approved 3-0.

 

  1. Tax acquired properties.  The Board discussed the status of accounts for six tax acquired properties.  Of those, four are on track with repayment arrangements.  One other will be asked to meet with the Board to discuss sporadic payments.  The Board decided to move forward sell the final property, formerly owned by Thomas Harvill.  The property is a rental.  The first step is to consult with the Town’s attorney.
  1. Coopers Mills cemetery.  Aaron reported that Chuck Vaughn is willing to consider doing work to repair the stone wall at the cemetery.  However, he currently does not carry liability insurance. Chuck will look into getting that.

 

  1. Recycling center signs.  Frank reported he has finished signs for the containers at the recycling center and they are in place.
  1. Executive session.  Pursuant to 1 MRSA §405(C)(6), the Board voted 4-0 to go into executive session to consider an offer for purchase of real estate.  Following the session, the Board voted 4-0 to reject the offer.

 

  1. Recycling fence.  Aaron discussed the contract from Lowe’s to install fencing at the recycling center to help contain plastics blowing around.  The company now wants a price somewhat higher than what was originally quoted, citing the location being a commercial facility.  The Board was not in agreement with this and Aaron will discuss with the company.
  1. Purchasing policies.  The Board briefly discussed purchasing policies from the towns of Woolwich and Hope.  Each had a cap for bidding of work at $5,000.  Aaron will get policies from other selected towns.

 

  1. RSU 12.  Supt. Howard Tuttle, finance committee member Jerry Nault and school board chair Hillary Holm came in to discuss RSU 12 funding.  Subsequent to adoption of the annual budget, the State has provided an additional $205,000 in subsidy to the RSU.  Whitefield’s share of this is $46,108.  Since most towns in the RSU have already made their tax commitments, assigning these extra funds to the current year budget is not feasible.  The RSU is proposing to set the extra money aside in a special account to be paid back to the towns next year. 
  1. Fairservice land.  The Board has not heard back from Mr. Fairservice regarding repayment of taxes on tax-acquired land, despite several attempts to solicit a proposal.  No one lives in the mobile home on the 50-acre property.  A certified letter will be sent informing Mr. Fairservice of the town’s intent to sell the property.  Our real estate broker will be contacted.

 

  1. Executive session.  Pursuant to 1 MRSA § 405(6)(F), the Board voted 4-0 to go into executive session to discuss two applications for poverty abatements.  Following the session, the Board voted 4-0 to deny one application as the person has property that could be sold and to return the other application as incomplete.

 

Assessor’s Actions

The Board signed the assessor’s return for the county taxes.

Assessor’s Agent Tom Hayes came in to discuss some items:

  1. An abatement for Pagurko was approved due to the current condition of the building. 
  2. Tom will be meeting with a representative of the Maine Revenue Service to discuss the BETE program and its application to accounts in town.

 

Town of Whitefield
Select Board Meeting September 8, 2015

Present: Frank Ober, Tony Marple, Sue McKeen, Lester Sheaffer and Dennis Merrill
Administrative Assistant Aaron Miller

Select Board actions

  1. The minutes of August 25 were approved 4-0-1.

 

  1. Accounts payable and payroll warrants were signed.
  1. Road work.  The Board agreed to have the Road commissioner work on some additional road projects including ditching and repair of some segments of Doyle Road, ditching of other roads (Townhouse Road is a candidate) and having a road grader work on shoulders of various roads.

 

  1. Fairservice land.  The Board voted 4-1 (Lester opposed) to delay sale of the tax acquired land formerly owner by Mr. Fairservice pending an opportunity for him to submit a written repurchase plan.
  1. Carlton property.  Mr. Carlton is expected to attend next week’s meeting to discuss payments on tax acquired property.  Aaron will provide the Board with a summary in advance.

 

  1. Coopers Mills cemetery.  We need to follow up with Chuck Vaughn regarding insurance so he could repair the stone wall at the cemetery.

Next week:  Carlton property, paving bids, Harvill property

Assessor’s Actions

Assessor’s Agent Tom Hayes came in to discuss some items:

  1. The Board voted 5-0 in each case to approve combining lots for Rosso (map 32, lots 32 & 24) and Schuendorf (map 20, lots 22A & 22). 
  2. Four applications have been received for abatement of taxes on lots with frontage on Clary Lake.  The basis of these requests is that the low water level has affected the use and value of the lots.  Since these were not received in a timely manner (within 185 days of tax commitment) they cannot be approved.  It is anticipated more requests will be received after the upcoming new tax bills; we will seek advice from our attorney. 
  3. Tom reported he is making progress in finalizing the tax commitment.  He is working to make sure that those who are eligible for BETE get the proper paperwork. 

Town of Whitefield
Select Board Meeting September 15, 2015

Present: Frank Ober, Tony Marple, Sue McKeen,  Lester Sheaffer and Dennis Merrill
Administrative Assistant Aaron Miller

Select Board actions

  1. The minutes of Sep 15 were approved 5-0.

 

  1. Paving bids. The bids for paving part of Vigue Road and Balltown Lane were discussed.  The amount of pavement in tons varied quite a bit.  A representative of Hagar Enterprises to explain his firm’s bid; it was the only one to offer alternatives to the standard bid proposals.  Ultimately, the Board voted 5-0 to award the work to Hagar at an estimated price of $208,450.  The actual amount may vary based on the actual tons of pavement used.
  1. Balltown Lane.  Owners of the field neighboring Balltown Lane came in to express concerns with ditching done recently.  They felt this work would result in water running off to their land.  To follow up on these concerns, the Road Commissioner and some Select Board members will meet on site on Monday.

 

  1. Clary Lake.  The Board signed a letter of concern about water levels in Clary Lake to the DEP, Attorney General and other parties.  This followed up a letter sent by our legislators.  The Board’s letter requested that action be taken to enforce the current water level order.
  1. Skating rink.  David Hayden came in to report on his investigations of a possible skating rink in the are between the town office and sand shed.  He had contacted the City of Augusta, which is moving away from maintaining a rink but does have many years of experience.  The net result is that there would be several obstacles in setting up and maintaining a skating rink.

 

  1. Payroll and accounts payable warrants were signed.
  1. The Board signed two contracts for cemetery lots in Coopers Mills.

 

  1. Finn Brook culverts.  Dennis reported that grant funding might be available to replace culverts that impair fish passage and pose public safety concerns.  The Finn Brook culvert on Vigue Road might be a good candidate.  The first round of grants was very competitive, but because Finn Brook is a potential salmon and trout habitant a project there might have a good chance.   The US Fish and Wildlife Service is supportive and has already done some studies and surveys.  He will look into these grants further. 
  1. Tax increment financing.  Some questions have been asked about the Town possibly setting up a TIF area to support development in the Route 17 area.  Aaron will gather more information on TIF's.

 

  1. Repayments.  Aaron reported that repayment commitments for back taxes have been received from Fairservice and Carlton.
  1. Executive session.  Pursuant to 1 MRSA § 405(6)(A) the Broad voted 5-0 to go into executive session to a personnel matter.  Following the session, no action was taken.

Assessor’s Actions

Assessor’s Agent Tom Hayes came in to discuss the tax commitment and presented preliminary information and figures.  More work is needed and he will return next week with final information. 

 

Town of Whitefield
Select Board Meeting September 29, 2015

Present: Frank Ober (delayed), Tony Marple, Sue McKeen,  Lester Sheaffer and Dennis Merrill
Administrative Assistant Aaron Miller

Select Board actions

  1. The minutes of Sep 15 were approved 3-0.

 

  1. TAN.  The Board voted 4-0 to authorize the Treasurer to take out a tax anticipation noted in the amount of $500,000.
  1. Tax Increment Financing.  Aaron provided some background information on TIFs.  Basically, these are a means of benefiting new businesses in a community by allowing some taxes to be reduced or redirected to specific projects for defined period of time.  A TIF can be for a development area (e.g. an industrial park) or a specific project.  The assessed property values within a TIF are sheltered from state valuation, thus not causing reduced state subsidies.  On the negative side, setting up a TIF can be complicated and costly since a consultant and/or attorney is needed. 

 

  1. Audit.  Aaron reported he has been in communication with our auditors about the annual audit, but a completion date is uncertain.  The Board expressed concern that the audit be done by the time work is started on the next annual budget.  Dennis will follow up.
  1. Training.  Aaron reported he attended a two-day State training program on elections and found the session very worthwhile.  He also attended a seminar put on by our auditors about fraud prevention. 

 

  1. Heating fuel.  Aaron reported on pre-bid prices for fuel oil and propane for the upcoming season.  The Board voted 5-0 to go with Fielding’s Oil: fuel oil $2.09/gallon and propane $1.69 /gallon.
  1. Fire Department.  Scott Higgins and Lynn Talacko came in to report that the Fire Department has been awarded a federal grant for purchase of an air pack refilling equipment.  The grant is for $43,810 with a $2,190 local match to come out of the current equipment budget.  This new equipment will allow air packs to be filled at the fire station rather than having to go to Togus for that service. 

 

  1. Hazard mitigation survey.  Scot Higgins will fill out a state survey to help identify locations that may be at risk during storm or other events.
  1. Public hearing.  The Board held a brief public hearing regarding adoption of amendments to the General Assistance ordinance.  One member of the public was present.  Following the hearing, the Board voted 5-0 to adopt State amounts for eligibility and payment rates. 

 

  1. Balltown Lane.  Resident David Hayden came in to report he found no record of Balltown Lane having been adopted as a town way as of 2004 when he completed research on all town roads.  That being the case, Balltown Lane is a driveway to the salt shed and recycling center.
  1. Roads management.  The Board identified the primary role for the Roads Committee as that of long range planning.  Dennis will circulate a draft job description for Road Commissioner.  As to when to bid out work, the proposed rule will be less than $10,000 the Road Commissioner will do the work; between $10,000 and $25,000, projects will be discussed individually with Road Commissioner to determine the most beneficial method considering the nature of the work and equipment needed; and over $25,000, projects will go out to bid. 

 

  1. Executive session.  Pursuant to 1 MRSA § 405(6)(A) the Broad voted 5-0 to go into executive session to a personnel matter.  Following the session, no action was taken.

 

Assessor’s Actions

Assessor’s Agent Tom Hayes came in to discuss the tax commitment.  After a discussion, the Board voted 4-1 (Lester opposed) to set the mil rate for the current tax year at 14.7 mils.  This is 0.45 mils higher than least year and 0.55 mils less than the preceding year.  Commitment papers were signed.

Town of Whitefield
Select Board Meeting October 6, 2015

Present: Frank Ober, Tony Marple, Lester Sheaffer and Dennis Merrill
Administrative Assistant Aaron Miller
Absent: Sue McKeen

Select Board actions

  1. The minutes of Sep 29 were approved 4-0.

 

  1. Old fire truck.  The surplus 1980 tanker truck has been a public auction site for over 30 days with some interest and offers.  The top offer was from resident Lloyd Brown for $2,000.  The Board voted 4-0 to accept Lloyd’s bid.
  1. Private road access.  Fire Chief Scott Higgins and Deputy Chief Tom Feeney came in to discuss access for emergency vehicles on private lanes.  There have been recent requests for opinions from residents.  There are currently no formal standards and requests have been addressed on a case by case basis.  Considerations for proper access include road width and clearing of vegetation.  The Chief will prepare a standard letter setting forth uniform criteria that can be used in response to future requests.

 

  1. Clary Lake,  George Fergusson came in to update the Board on the Clary Lake situation.  He has met with the Jefferson Select Board which is agreeable to a joint amicus brief in the pending appeal of the State water level order.  Previously, our attorney has advised such a brief is not appropriate in the type of case involved.
  1. Accounts payable and payroll warrants were signed.  There were questions about charges for fencing installation (see below) and auditing services.  These matters will be investigated further before checks are issued.

 

  1. Recycling fence.  The new fence to help contain materials from blowing around has been installed by contractor from Lowe’s.  The installer provided new materials and did not use those already purchased by the Town.   Aaron has made contacts and arranged for the materials to be picked up and credit issued.
  1. Back taxes.  Aaron reported Mr. Harville will pay half of what is due in back taxes very soon and the balance next month.  Richard Chase is paid up.

 

  1. Sale of land.  Our real estate agent came in to update the Board on sale of a parcel on Wiscasset Road.  The buyer is concerned the Town cannot provide clear title.  Typically, towns issue quit claim deeds for their interest in tax acquired property.  In this case, our agent has been in contact with the former owner who would be willing to sign a release deed to quiet the title.  The Board voted 3-1 (Lester opposed) to authorize preparation of a release deed at a cost not to exceed $200.

Roads date.   Dennis reported crack sealing on Vigue, Devine and Hilton roads is scheduled to be done next week.  The projected cost is over the budget for that line but more miles of road will be done than anticipated.  Paving of Vigue Road is expected in two weeks.

 

Assessor’s Actions

None.

Town of Whitefield
Select Board Meeting October 13, 2015

Present: Frank Ober, Sue McKeen, Tony Marple, Lester Sheaffer and Dennis Merrill

Absent: Administrative Assistant Aaron Miller

Select Board actions

  1. The minutes of Oct 6 were approved 4-0-1.

 

  1. Informational flyer.  The Board reviewed a draft flyer having helpful contact numbers for public use.  This will be distributed and published in the Whitefield News.
  1. Job description.   The Board reviewed and edited a draft job description for the road commissioner position.

 

  1. Tax relief.  The Board discussed a program allowed by state law that permits persons over 70 and meeting certain income requirements to defer property tax payments for the time they continue to live in their home.  When they leave the taxes plus interest would be due.  This may mean the estate would have to pay the taxes owed.  There was some concern that this could be a problem for heirs to come up with the money.  Additionally, the program would result in lost revenue that would have to be made up by other taxpayers.  Only one town in Maine (York?) is thought to have adopted an ordinance to do this program.  We will contact them for more information.
  1. Budget committee.  Dennis will send an e-mail to last year’s Budget Committee members to see how many are interested in serving again.  The Board’s goal is to have completed its proposed budget by mid-December and the Budget Committee will meet in January.  Some Board members noted they might be influenced by information received during Budget Committee discussions and want to change prior votes.  Nothing would prevent this.

 

  1. Parking question.  A couple of citizens have expressed concern about cars parking too close to the pavement across from the town office.  Tony will follow up to see what rule may apply.
  1. To do list.  The Board reviewed its to-do list and removed several projects that have been completed or no longer require tracking.

 

Assessor’s Actions

None.

Town of Whitefield
Select Board Meeting October 27, 2015

Present: Frank Ober, Sue McKeen, Tony Marple, and Dennis Merrill
Administrative Assistant Aaron Miller
Absent: Lester Sheaffer

 

Select Board actions

  1. The minutes of Oct 20 were approved 4-0.

 

  1. Cell phone coverage.  A resident came in to express concerns about poor cell phone coverage in his area.  The Board was not aware of anything it could do to get a company to provide a new tower, etc. for improved coverage.  However, we will investigate what may be possible.  Unlike cable service, towns don’t have any direct regulation of cell phone service.
  1. Budget review.  The Board reviewed the current year expenses compared to where we were last year. Overall, expenses are running within budget, although a few lines need to be checked to get more information.

 

  1. Road crack sealing.  It was noted that the contract for crack sealing with Pro Seal expired on October 16 and the work has not yet been done.  The specifications call for the work to be done when the temperature is about 50 degrees, and the possibility of that happening is reduced as we move into November.  It was decided to put the work off until spring.  The company will be contacted.
  1. Public meeting.  It was decided to hold an information meeting on November 17 for residents around Clary Lake to discuss current assessments in light of the lowered water level.  A notice will be made to residents.

 

  1. Cemetery work.  The Board voted 4-0 to have Chuck Vaughan make repairs to a stone wall at the Coopers Mills Cemetery.
  1. Executive session.  Pursuant to 1 MRSA §405(6)(C), the Board voted 4-0 to go into executive session to discuss sale of tax acquired land.  Following the session, the Board voted 4-0 to accept a revised offer for a parcel of land. 

 

  1. Tax deferment ordinance.  Sue and Tony will be meeting with Peter Froelich to explore his needs and thoughts on adoption of an ordinance to allow certain seniors to defer taxes until they leave their home. 
  1. Next week:  Assessor’s agent (review of shorefront property values); Budget Committee composition.

 

 

 

Assessor’s Actions

Assessor’s Agent Tom Hayes came in to present the annual state valuation report.  Overall, the town’s valuation is up some $750,000 from last year.  After some discussion, the report was signed.

Town of Whitefield
Select Board Meeting November 3, 2015

Present: Frank Ober, Sue McKeen, Lester Sheaffer, Tony Marple, and Dennis Merrill
Administrative Assistant Aaron Miller

 

Select Board actions

  1. The minutes of Oct 27 were approved 4-0-1.

 

  1. Payroll and accounts payable warrants were signed.
  1. Tax acquired properties.  Aaron reviewed the status repayments on tax acquired properties, and most are on track to meet their obligations needed to reclaim the properties.  For the current year, about 100 accounts are presently facing foreclosure in March if the owners do not address past due amounts.  Historically, most people do clear their accounts before the deadline.

 

  1. Tax deferment ordinance.  The Board had a general discussion about adoption of an ordinance to allow certain seniors to defer taxes until they leave their home.  Board members will reach out to groups in Town to gauge interest in this proposal.
  1. Tax collector.  Aaron reported the Tax Collector, Karen Bryant, who had put in her notice for Nov. 20 quit as of Monday evening. 

 

  1. MMA insurance inspection.  Aaron reviewed the report of MMA’s insurance risk assessment for the Town done last summer.  A few areas need to be addressed, but none were major problems.  MMA can offer assistance for some items.
  1. Cemetery lot.  The Board signed a purchase agreement for a lot in the Coopers Mills cemetery.

 

  1. Executive session.  Pursuant to 1 MRSA §841, the Board voted 5-0 to go into executive session to discuss an application for a poverty abatement.  Following the session, no action was taken, as more review was needed.
  1.  Executive session.  Pursuant to 36 MRSA §405(6)(E), the Board voted 5-0 to go into executive session to discuss pending or contemplated litigation.  Following the session, no action was taken.

 

  1. Next week:  Concerned citizen about broadband on Thayer Road

Town of Whitefield
Select Board Meeting
November 10, 2015

Present: Frank Ober, Sue McKeen, Lester Sheaffer, Tony Marple, and Dennis Merrill
Administrative Assistant Aaron Miller

 

Select Board actions

  1. The minutes of Nov 3 were approved 5-0.

 

  1. Broadband access.  Thayer Road resident Paul Kanavich came in to discuss the lack of broadband on his road.  He operates a small business and is hurt by the lack of good, high-speed broadband service.  He has spoken with a representative of FairPoint who indicated there might be grant money available to help under-served areas.  After some discussion, it was decided to contact FairPoint and ask them to attend a meeting to discuss what could be done. Previously, Time Warner secured a State grant to expand service on Wiscasset Road and may be willing to work on the Thayer Road area as well. 
  1. Sale of property.  Tax acquired land in Wiscasset Road formerly owned by Wetmore has been sold through a real estate broker retained by the Town, and the Board signed the paperwork needed to complete the sale.  The closing will be Friday.  After paying all costs and recouping all taxes owed, the Town will net a gain of $13,378.

 

  1. Health Officer.  On a vote of 5-0, the Board voted to reappoint Nicole Ripley to another term as Town Health Officer.
  1. Lawn mowing.  The Town of Chelsea has inquired about having a joint contract with other area towns for mowing lawns next year.  The Board indicated its interest in exploring such an arrangement and this will be communicated to Chelsea.

 

  1. Motor vehicle audit.  Aaron reported that the DMV conducted an audit of our vehicle registration program as is standard when an agent changes.  They found everything to be in good order.
  1. Spirit of America award.  A ceremony honoring Spirit of America award recipients will be held on Nov 17 at noon at the Lincoln County Communications Center.  Whitefield’s award winner this year is the Food Bank.

 

  1. Tony spoke with the Town’s attorney about the tax deferment program for seniors.  She was generally okay with the program, but did caution that the administrative steps required did create complexities that would have to be accommodated.
  1. Emergency vehicle access.  In response to some inquiries about when the Town can respond to emergencies using private ways.  Frank prepared a standard letter outlining the criteria for safe passage for fire and rescue equipment.  Basically, a road must be at least 12 feet wide and have 14 feet vertical clearance.  The Board discussed this and made some edits.

 

  1.  Executive session.  Pursuant to 30-A MRSA §2702, the Board voted 5-0 to go into executive session to discuss a resume from a person seeking municipal employment.  Following the session, no action was taken. 

 

Assessor’s Actions

Assessor’s Agent Tom Hayes came in to present more information on waterfront property values in preparation for anticipated abatement requests on Clary Lake due to the low water level. There have not been any recent arms length sales on Clary Lake.  Looking back several years, Tom found some sales that compared well to similar sales in Jefferson during the same time frame.  These demonstrated the fair market value of land on the lake at that time.  Those values suggested that the assessed value set by Jefferson was fairly close to the market at the time.  Tom said that water level decline has impacted market values from full-lake conditions, but having any lake frontage still does add some value to a lot.  Based on this, he would not recommend abatements from Whitefield’s present assessment for lake frontage.

Town of Whitefield
Select Board Meeting Minutes
November 17, 2015

Present: Frank Ober, Sue McKeen, Lester Sheaffer, Tony Marple, and Dennis Merrill
Administrative Assistant Aaron Miller

Select Board actions

  1. The minutes of Nov 10 were approved 5-0.

 

  1. Payroll and accounts payable warrants were signed.  The current bank balance is about $365,000 with large bills for recent paving and the November RSU payment outstanding.
  1. Sale of property.  The sale of the former Wetmore property closed last Friday and a check for the proceeds has been received.

 

  1. Agendas.  Aaron reported a link has been added to the Town web site to make agendas for our meetings more accessible.
  1. Balltown Lane.  It was noted the shoulders on the newly paved Balltown Lane need to be built up.  The same may be true for Vigue Road as well.

 

  1. Budget Committee.  Aaron will post on Facebook and the Town web site that there are vacancies on the Budget Committee.
  1. Harvell property.  A partial payment for this foreclosed property was received.  A letter will be sent stating the repayment agreement is in arrears.  Receipt of the remainder of the partial payment will clear the account.

 

  1. Moosehead Lane.  Moosehead Lane was accepted as a Town way last March and $1,500 as appropriated for plowing this year.  A check for that amount will be cut for that amount so the plowing contractor is made whole.
  1. Plowing contract.  The present plowing contractor, David Spicer, will be invited to submit a proposal for a one-year contract extension for the 2016-7 season if he wishes.  If an acceptable extension can be worked out, uncertainty could be removed from the upcoming budget process.

 

  1. Economic development.  Resident Steve Smith came in to discuss economic development possibilities in Town.  He suggested an economic development committee be formed to explore possibilities.  After some discussion, it was decided the next step would be to hold a joint meeting with the Planning Board to discuss options, and this will be scheduled. 
  1.  Executive session.  Pursuant to 30-A MRSA §2702, the Board voted 5-0 to go into executive session to discuss a resume from a person seeking municipal employment.  Following the session, the Board voted 5-0 to hire Darlene Beaulieu as our new Tax Collector.  She will start Dec 4.

 

  1. Tempoary Tax Collector.  The Board signed paperwork to make Aaron the Tax Collector until Darlene starts work, and the tax commitment was assigned to him. 
  1. Executive session.  Pursuant to 1 MRSA, section 405(6)(A), the Board voted 5-0 to go into executive session to discuss a personnel matter.  Following the session, no action was taken.

 

 

Assessor’s Actions

 

Clary Lake assessments.    The Board held an informational meeting for those interested in shoreline property values on Clary Lake and how the low water level has affected them.  Eight residents were present.  Assessor’s Agent Tom Hayes explained shore front parcels are assessed an extra $10,000 regardless of the size or nature of the shore.  He distributed a summary of his comparison of shore front values in other local towns.  Using open market sales is used to value and assess land.  Shore frontage in Whitefield is assessed far below what it is in other towns.  The value of buildings or other factors are not used to set water front values.  Residents feel they have lost all practical use of the Lake in many cases as they cannot swim, boat or fish as they had before the water level was lowered.  One, however, noted he can still make use of the lake.  Some of the impact varies given the nature of the shoreline.  It was pointed out that very little property has sold in recent years and that which has sold was for much reduced prices.  Tom will follow-up with residents to investigate information o recent sales and bring that information back to the Board.

 

Town of Whitefield
Select Board Meeting Minutes
November 24, 2015

Present: Frank Ober, Sue McKeen, Lester Sheaffer, and Dennis Merrill
Administrative Assistant Aaron Miller
Absent: Tony Marple

Select Board actions

  1. The minutes of Nov 17 were approved 4-0.

 

  1. Bailey Road.  The Alna selectmen came in to discuss keeping Bailey Road open.  They have some concern that any proposals for expansion of a gravel pit in the area could result in requests to discontinue the Whitefield end of the road.  The Alna end would then become a dead end road causing problems with efficient travel, emergency responses, school bus routes and plowing.  Alna proposed that in exchange for Whitefield not voting to discontinue its section of the road, Alna would take over plowing.  Such an arrangement would be in the form of an inter-community contract to be ratified by both town meetings.  The arrangement could be terminated with notice. Alna will prepare an initial draft for our consideration.  In doing so, they will also give consideration to plowing of Rt 218 and summer maintenance of Bailey road.
  1. Gardiner Library.  Sue noted that some people would like to use the Gardiner Library but the Town’s joining the library would be needed for new people to obtain library cards.  The annual cost is about $4,500.  The Librarian will be sending a letter describing the membership and services.

 

  1. Coopers Mills cemetery.  Frank noted that large metal letters saying “Coopers Mills” are on the side of the vault structure are in poor condition and should be reclaimed and made into a new sign.  Dennis said Chuck Vaughn has begun work on restoring the stone wall and fence.
  1. Roads.  Dennis said the Roads Committee had met today and is discussing next year’s work and a long-range plan.  As part of this engineer Jim Coffin will be asked to help develop what needs to be done on some roads and cost estimates. 

 

  1. Budget committee.  So far there are 5 people have confirmed willingness to serve on the budget committee.  Notices on the website and Facebook have not brought any responses.  Board members will contact people to see if more interest can be generated. 
  1. December schedule.    The Board discussed the agendas for December as the month will be a busy one.  We will need to work on the budget and hear from various groups about issues that may be put on the list for action at Town Meeting.  The following is the tentative schedule.

 

December 1 – Meet with our auditors to receive their report of the annual audit
December 8 – Meet with the Planning Board to discuss the flood zone program and        economic development.  Meet with the Fire Chief on next year’s budget proposal.
December 15 – Meet with the Dams Committee to receive their report.  Meet with the Roads Committee and Road Commissioner on next year’s budget proposal.
December 22 – Discussion of a possible ordinance allowing seniors to defer tax payments.

Other items to be discussed for possible inclusion in the Town Meeting Warrant include:

Revisions to requirement that all registered voters be notified of special town meetings.
Purchase of a new road grader.
A discount for early payment of property taxes.
A three year term of the elected Road Commissioner.

Each meeting in December will follow the general format of 6:00 to 7:00, meeting with persons coming in; 7:00 to 7:30, general board business; and 7:30, budget discussions.

  1.  Back tax payments.  Aaron noted the last payment by Fairservice under a back tax payment agreement was Oct 5.  Harville said he plans to make a payment Dec 7.

 

Assessor’s Actions

 

Tom Hayes came in to present an abatement for the Lewis’ on Wiscasset Road to adjust the lot size.  The abatement was approved on a vote of 4-0.

Tom also noted there was a recent sale of a property on Clary Lake but he has not yet received the sale price to compare it to the assessed value to help evaluate the impact of lower water levels on property values.

 

Town of Whitefield
Select Board Meeting Minutes
December 1, 2015

Present: Frank Ober, Sue McKeen, Tony Marple, Lester Sheaffer, and Dennis Merrill
Administrative Assistant Aaron Miller
Absent:

Select Board actions

  1. The minutes of Nov 24 were approved 4-0-1.

 

  1. Audit report.  Mark Roy of Berry, Talbot, Royer came in to present the annual audit of the Town’s books. This covered 7/1/14 to 6/30/15. The audit is done a fairly “high level” and is not a detailed analysis but considers amounts to be “material” or significant when they exceed around $9,000 No problems were found in the conduct of the audit.  Overall, we are in good shape with a relatively high balance in the surplus account. Mark recommended that the surplus balance be maintained at a level that would cover about 90 days of average expenses.  For the year, revenue was more than anticipated comparing to previous years and expenses were less than budget.  Mark recommended that these factors be reviewed carefully in developing next year’s budget.  The Board asked several questions of Mark and received good and helpful information to better understand the audit and financial process for the Town.

In addition to the audit itself, Mark presented a “management letter” that contained some observations and recommendations based on his work, including:

  1. Budget adjustments need to be posted promptly.
  2. Abatements should be logged promptly and reconciled on a regular basis.
  3. The used of an outside payroll firm to do the Town’s payroll.  In small town offices, the complexity of payroll rules and procedures can be challenging and time consuming. 
  4. The understanding and use of balance sheets should be strengthened. 

Mark recommended some budget line for monies being held by the Town for specific groups or purposes be separated out from the general fund.  Finally, it was noted that the format of the audit could be changed to more closely track the lines used in our software systems.  The Board voted 5-0 to accept the audit.

  1. Payroll and accounts receivable warrants were signed.  This included the bill for paving Vigue Road and Balltown Lane at $201,483, which was less than the estimated cost for the work.

 

  1. Homestead exemptions.  It was noted that due to changes in state law, the homestead exemption will go up to $15,000 next year and $20,000 the following year.  Half of the exemption is paid by the state and the other half by towns.  The net result is revenue neutral to the town, but there is a benefit to homeowners.
  1. Howe Road bridge.  We received work that the state owned bridge on Howe Road will be closed by MeDOT of December 4.  This is permanent and the state has no intentions of replacing the bridge.  The estimated cost to do so would be $1,300,000.

 

  1. Next week.  Meet with a taxpayer on an abatement request.  Meet with the Planning Board and budget discussions.

 

Assessor’s Actions

None

 

Town of Whitefield
Select Board Meeting Minutes
December 8, 2015

Present: Frank Ober, Sue McKeen, Tony Marple, Lester Sheaffer, and Dennis Merrill
Administrative Assistant Aaron Miller

Select Board actions

  1. The minutes of Dec 1 were approved 5-0.

 

  1. Solar energy.   Resident Erik Ekholm came in to explain some of the research he has been doing about a solar energy project to benefit the Town.  He noted the fire station is oriented such that it is a great location for a solar project.  Erik plans to continue with his research and received the Board’ blessing to do so.
  1. Road renaming.  Tim Chase, our 911 road naming guru, and Tom Feeney and Lynn Talacko of the fire and rescue, came in to discuss renaming / renumbering of Howe Road in wake of the recent bridge closure.  The fire and rescue personnel have gone door to door to homes on Howe Road as a temporary measure designating the road as having North and South segments.  This will avoid confusion in emergency responses until a permanent system can be worked out.  The Board discussed naming and number systems.  Typically, roads are numbered beginning with “1” at the end closest to the post office.  This is now done on the three segments of Hunts Meadow Road.  Such a convention for roads with similar names could lead to possible confusion during emergencies.  Tim will check with State 911 folks to see what options there are for naming and numbering.

 

  1. Planning Board.  Members of the Planning Board came in to discuss various issues.  They are preparing an ordinance to a flood management program.  The ordinance is following a State model.  The intent is to present this for a vote at town meeting.  Two articles would be required on the warrant: a resolution and the ordinance enactment.  Flood management would not effect most properties in Town but would allow those people in flood areas to purchase federal flood insurance.  It might also help the town obtain grants for repair of roads, bridges, etc in the event of natural disasters. 

There was also some discussion of forming an economic development committee to help promote appropriate development in Town.  There was general consensus that this would be a good idea to investigate further and the Planning Board will make some contacts to see if some residents interested in serving on a committee can be found.

The roles and responsibilities of the CEO position were discussed briefly.  Development of a written job description will be investigated.

Finally, the Planning Board foresees no changes in its budget needs for next year.

  1. Northy Bridge.  Resident David Hayden came in to discuss asking the MeDOT to consider repairs to the Howe Rd. bridge rather than simply closing it.  Repairs to allow at least limited (posted) use may be possible to avoid permanent closure.  We will contact MeDOT.

 

  1. Snow plowing contract.  The Board received a proposal from the current plowing contractor David Spicer for extension of the current contract for 2 more years at a cost of $190,000 per year, a 1.88% increase from this year.  For this amount and a two-year extension, the new parking lot at the fire station would be plowed at no extra cost.  The existing contract allows for only one-year extensions, so the Board did not feel it could consider two years.  Aaron reported on a survey he made of per mile plowing costs for other towns.  Whitefield’s rate compares very favorably to those towns.  On a vote of 5-0, the Board accepted the proposal for one year with favorable consideration to another year of extension. 
  1. Tax collector benefits.  Aaron said our new tax collector would like to purchase dental insurance at her own expense and to begin the income protection plan now.  Our insurance carries, MMA, requires that towns waive a 6 month waiting period for coverage to begin.  The Board voted 5-0 to authorize waiving the dental coverage waiting period.  The personnel policy needs to be checked to see the status of short term disability.

 

  1. Shoulder work.  Recent paving of Balltown Lane and Vigue Road has left drop-offs at the edge of the pavement that need to be filled to eliminate the drop-off and stabilize the edge of the new pavement.  On recommendation of the Road Commissioner, the Board voted 5-0 to authorize Hager Enterprises, who did the paving work, to build up the shoulders for an estimated cost of $15,000. 
  1. Deed.  The clear the estate of Patricia Weeks, the Board voted 5-0 to authorize issuance of a quit claim deed to Ron Pooler for the Town’s interest in the estate now cleared of back property taxes.  When Ms. Weeks passed away, paperwork transferring the estate as not filed with the county; Mr. Pooler is the only apparent heir.  MMA legal has advised us issuance of a quit claim deed would be appropriate. 

 

  1. Budget.  The Board began its detailed discussion of next year’s proposed budget, working through administration, insurance and winter roads.  Some information is still needed to complete certain lines in these areas. 

Assessor’s Actions

Arthur Peters of Doyle Road came in to seek an abatement of past taxes.  He stated he had purchased a parcel in 1972 with about 40 acres in Whitefield and another 12 acres or so in Windsor.  He said that in 1983 the Town’s records changed the parcel size to 51 acres.  He discovered this in 2013 and sought and was granted an abatement for the current year’s taxes and the lot size was changed going forward.  Mr. Peters is now requesting abatement of taxes back to 1983.  After some discussion, the Board decided to get more information and a legal opinion. 

Town of Whitefield
Select Board Meeting Minutes
December 15, 2015

Present: Frank Ober, Sue McKeen, Tony Marple, Lester Sheaffer, and Dennis Merrill
Administrative Assistant Aaron Miller

Select Board actions

  1. The minutes of Dec 8 were approved 5-0.

 

  1. Coopers Mills dam.  The Dam Committee and Andy Goode of the Atlantic Salmon Federation (ASF) and Steve Patton of Sheepscot Valley Conservation were present to report on studies for potential removal of the Coopers Mills dam.  There are essentially three options for the dam: do nothing, repair the dam or remove the dam.  ASF has hired engineers and consultants to evaluate various options and plans.  The repair of the leakage through and under the dam would cost a minimum of $350,000 to repair by engineering estimates. 

ASF proposed a plan for removal of the dam at its expense.  This would include three components: dam removal, fire protection and site redevelopment.  Fire protection is a major concern for all.  Currently, the leakage renders the dam unsuitable as a water source 2-3 months in the summer.  The proposal is for two separate intakes with holes in the riverbed to provide storage.  As a back up, a dry hydrant would be installed on the West Branch of the River where it crosses Rt. 17.  Fire Chief Scott Higgins said this proposal is acceptable. 

ASF also proposed to re-develop the site to include information kiosks, access ways down to the river, a viewing outlooks, etc.  ASF would set up a separate fund of money for the Town’s use for long-term maintenance of the area. 

ASF will fund town specific purpose funds to maintain and repair the fire access and site improvements.

The dam committee will meet on Jan 7, 2016 at 6:30PM to vote on a course of action.  There will be a public meeting on the proposals on Jan 21.

  1. Road renaming.  Following closure of the bridge, the Board voted 5-0 to rename the Howe Road as South Howe Road and North Howe Road while retaining the same numbering system so there will be no duplication of numbers North to South.

 

  1. Roads Committee.  Members of the Roads Committee came in to discuss the Committee’s proposal for next year’s budget and related issues.  The budget proposes about the same amount as last year with changes in various areas.  Emphasis will be placed on paving of the Coopers Mills area, ditching and improving gravel roads.  Road Commissioner David Boynton suggested that a gravel spreader for the back of a dump truck be purchased.  This will allow gravel to be spread along the sides of paved roads to maintain shoulders.  The Board voted 5-0 to authorize purchase of this unit for $9,000 from this year’s budget.  Finally, there was a discussion of purchase of a road grader to replace our old one that has a blown transmission.  David estimated a reasonable used unit could cost about $75,000. 
  1. Fire Department.  Scott Higgins and Lynn Talacko came in to present the Fire Department’s proposed budget for next year.  It is flat from this year at $91,000, include purchase of replacement air packs.

 

  1. Payroll and accounts payable warrants were signed.
  1. Tax recommitment.   With the hiring of a new Tax Collector, the Board signed paperwork recommitting the taxes to her.

 

  1. Deed.  The Board signed a quit claim deed to R. Pooler for the former P. Weeks property.
  1. Tax Collector benefits.    The Board signed a waiver to MMA allowing our new Tax Collector to enroll for dental and short term disability benefits prior to MMA’s normal 6-month waiting period.

 

  1. Back taxes.  Aaron reported that Harvell has paid off all back taxes on his Rt 17 property.  The status of Fairservice’s payments is unclear; he will bring in receipts for past payments.
  1. Gardiner library.  On a vote of 4-1 (Lester opposed) the Board decided to put joining the Gardiner library on the warrant with a recommendation of $0.  This will give the voters the opportunity to decide on spending the approximately $4,500 for the Town to join for a year.

 

  1. Mowing contract.  The Town of Chelsea will advertise a joint mowing contract for themselves and Whitefield.  This joint proposal will hopefully save money.  Aaron will track.
  1. Budget.  The Board continued its discussion of next year’s proposed budget.  Much of the discussion centered on financing of future road work.  Some roads, notably Townhouse and Heath, will require large expenditures that cannot be paid for within one year’s budget.  The Roads Committee’s proposed budget allocated $100,000 to be carried forward to the subsequent year as a down payment for Townhouse Road.  At that time a proposal for borrowing the balance would be considered.  An alternative would be to spend the money on other work and projects and propose borrowing a larger amount in the future.

 

Assessor’s Actions

Legal advice on a request from Mr. Peter for abatement of 30 years of past taxes indicated that by law the Board could consider only one year back.

David Boynton inquired about a lot on Heath Road he purchased from the Town several years ago.  He said he has determined that the lot does not now exist and he would like it to be removed from the tax roles.  We will investigate further with the Assessor’s Agent.

Town of Whitefield
Select Board Meeting Minutes
December 22, 2015

Present: Frank Ober, Sue McKeen, Tony Marple, Lester Sheaffer, and Dennis Merrill
Administrative Assistant Aaron Miller

Select Board actions

  1. The minutes of Dec 15 were approved 5-0.

 

  1. A warrant was signed for payment of mowing charges was signed.
  1. Deferred tax ordinance.    Resident Peter Froehlich was present for a discussion of an ordinance that would allow certain residents over 70 to defer property tax payments for as long as they live in their homes.  The Board reviewed demographic information about the number of residents potentially eligible for such a program and the possible impact on other taxpayers.  Previously, the Board had decided to place a draft ordinance on the warrant for town meeting in March.  On a vote of 3-2 (Lester and Frank opposed) the Board voted to have the ordinance decided on the floor of the meeting rather than by written ballot.  Lester will prepare a draft ordinance.  The Board agreed to prepare an mailing to be sent to residences in Town to inform people of this and other issues to be decided at town meeting.

 

  1. Peter Froehlich noted he is working on an idea to develop an resource to help guide residents to various help and informational resources.

5.  Coppers Mills Fire Dept.  The Board briefly discussed updating and revising the lease for the fire station in Coopers Mills.  Tony and Dennis will arrange to meet with the association to discuss changes.

6.  Budget.  The Board concluded its review of next year's budget.  It voted 3-2 ( Lester and Tony opposed) to set the Office Assistant's salary at $12 per hour next year.  Aaron will review the number of hours that should be budgeted for this position to allow for filling in for vacation, sick time, training, etc.  Other than changes for inflation or experience from past years, no significant from last year's budget were proposed.   However, presenting purchase of a new grader to the voters have yet to be finalized. 

Assessor’s Actions

Assessor's Agent Tom Hayes came in to present an abatement for Austin Moore on Townhouse Road.  This dwellings had been recorded as two stories when they are actually 1.5 stories.  Since there are two buildings on one lot, a base lot was removed.  Finally, some changes in buildings' conditions were made.  The abatement was approved on a vote of 5-0.

Town of Whitefield
Select Board Meeting Minutes
December 30, 2015

Present: Frank Ober, Sue McKeen (delayed), Tony Marple, Lester Sheaffer, and Dennis Merrill

Note: this meeting was rescheduled from Dec 29 to Dec 30 due to a snow storm

Select Board actions

  1. The minutes of Dec 22 were approved 4-0.

 

  1. Payroll and accounts payable warrants were signed.
  1. Meeting with DOT.  The Board briefly discussed a meeting in January with DOT.  They have requested this to go over the closing of the Howe Road bridge and next steps.  The Board agreed that its focus should be the bridge in Coopers Mills.  To accommodate DOT staff, a daytime meeting time would be set with Tony and Dennis acting as the Board's representatives. 

 

6.  Budget.  The Board reviewed the draft of next year's budget and voted on the various lines:

01 Administration $155,742;  4-1 (Lester opposed)
02 Insurance $14,070; 5-0
03 Roads $393,375; 4-1 (Lester opposed)
04 Snow and Ice $246,500; 5-0
05 General Government $54,916; 5-0
06 Town Office $20,304: 5-0
07 Townhouse $900; 5-0
08 Interest on Notes $600; 5-0
09 Loans $53,946; 5-0
10 Fire Department $91,000; 5-0
11 General Assistance $5,000; 5-0
12 Miscellaneous Appropriation $56,531; 5-0
13 Other Miscellaneous $10,180 in requests from various groups; no vote taken

The Board discussed how to handle carryover in the roads budget.  In past years, the Town has voted to carryover any balances to the ensuing year.  Last year, the amount raised was lower than the total recommendation in anticipation of there being $59,100 in carryover.  (The actual amount was $78,268.)  This year, an estimate of potential carryover is not available since there is work pending for the spring.  One proposal was to ask the Town to dedicate any carryover to reducing the FY17 taxes.  To help resolve this, Tony will contact the Road Commissioner to try to estimate the carryover.  More discussion to follow.

 

7.  Road grader purchase.  The Board discussed how much to propose as an amount for purchase of a used road grader.  Since the availability and conditions in future months is unknown, it is difficult to know how much a good unit might cost.  These are often obtained at auction and sometimes out of state.  To allow enough and provide for transportation if necessary, the Board decided to recommend $95,000, with the assumption that no more than necessary of this amount would actually be spent.

 

Assessor’s Actions

None.

 

 

 

The minutes above are the most recent available on line