City Council 1/19 Meeting Summary

  • Mayor Anne-Marie Mastraccio announced that, instead of City Council members reciting the pledge of allegiance out of unison, effective immediately one Councilor would recite it, and that they would take turns at subsequent meetings. Councilor Robert Stackpole did the honors.
  • In her report, Mayor Mastraccio spoke about the recent Leadership Team meeting she attended with Deputy Mayor Maura Herlihy, City Manager Steven Buck, Finance Director Ronni Champlin, Superintendent of Schools Matt Nelson and School Committee Chair Don Jamison and Vice Chair Paula Cote. The discussion included the budget process and transparency; the future use of school buildings including the Memorial Gym, Willard and Lafayette; and the process for naming the Converted Elementary School. The Leadership Team made a commitment to meet monthly.
  • In his report, City Manager Buck gave an update on the Covid-19 situation. He said Maine CDC Director Dr. Nirav Shah was in Sanford this week to look at a potential site for a mega vaccine center. The state plans to use the centers to administer 1,000 vaccinations per week at first, ramping up to 1,000 per day as the vaccine becomes more available. In response to a question from Councilor John Tuttle, Mr. Buck said approximately 14% of Sanford’s first responders have declined the Covid vaccine, but that compares favorably to the 17% to 18% of health care workers statewide who have refused it.
  • Mr. Buck said that the Maine Department of Transportation will be taking public comment via its website on the scheduled reconstruction of Route 202/Cottage Street/River Street. Comments will be accepted from January 25 to February 5. A link with more information will be available at https://www.maine.gov/mdot/vpi/ beginning on the 25th.
  • James Nimon of the Sanford Growth Council gave an update on economic development projects. See separate story.
  • Hazen Carpenter presented the Trails Committee’s Annual Report. He spoke about the many improvements to the trails that have happened in the past year. He said that new maps of the trails are being printed now, and will be uploaded to the sanfordrec.com website when done.
  • Katelyn Molloy of Partners for Healthier Communities, along with Nicole Quarto and Brent Colman from the Sanford schools, presented the results of the 2019 Maine Youth Health Survey. See related story.
  • In public participation, Dianne Connolly requested that the Land Bank Authority post their agenda packets on the city’s website, as the other subcommittees do.
  • The Council unanimously approved a zoning change to allow signage for medical marijuana businesses. Mr. Stackpole pointed out that graphics are allowed on these signs, but they are regulated by the state as to content.
  • After some confusion and discussion over an error by the Planning department, the Council unanimously approved a zoning change to allow Mental Health Practitioner offices in the same zones where other medical offices are allowed. See previous story. Due to the mixup, residential mental health facilities are now prohibited in all zones, but this will be addressed at a future meeting, as that was not the intent of the Zoning Subcommittee.
  • There was discussion of the activation of the Fire Station Feasibility Committee, to study constructing two new fire stations to replace the three current ones. Mayor Mastraccio, Councilor Ayn Hanselmann and Councilor Luke Lanigan will be part of the Committee, along with Fire Chief Steve Benotti, Assistant Chief Robert Arnold, Lieutenant Scott Chase and Code Enforcement Officer Jamie Cole representing the City of Sanford. Community members on the Committee will include Shawn Sullivan representing public relations; Steve Dumont, a developer; and Becky Brink, who was on the Core Building Committee for the new schools. A Realtor is also needed to round out the Committee.
  • The Council approved amendments to its Rules of Procedure. See separate story.
  • The Council approved the transfer of funds from snowmobile registrations to the Southern Maine Sno-Goers Snowmobile Club, to be used for equipment purchases and trail maintenance.
  • The Council approved an amendment to the lease between Pilot’s Cove Café and the Sanford-Seacoast Regional Airport. See related story.
  • The Council approved the Trails and Urban Forestry Committee’s bylaws.
  • The Council unanimously approved the third extension of the city’s emergency ordinance, which allows the City Manager to review warrants and sign on behalf of the Council. The extension will expire in 91 days if it is not renewed again.
  • Mayor Mastraccio appointed Councilors Hanselmann and Stackpole, along with community members Kendra Williams and Paul Auger, to a new committee to set up a process for choosing a permanent name for the former Junior High, which is currently referred to as the Converted Elementary School. The School Department will appoint members as well. This new committee will not choose the name for the school, merely determine the process by which the name will be chosen.
  • In Councilor Comments, Mr. Lanigan advocated for the return of restaurants to regular operating hours. Mr. Stackpole spoke about the need to be able to trust information received from city staff. Mayor Mastraccio said she has received many calls and emails from residents with wonderful ideas for improvements to Sanford, and asked for patience while she gets back to everyone.
  • Under Future Agenda Items, Ms. Hanselmann said that Police Chief Connolly is not moving forward with the council on racial equality, and said the city should look into bringing in a moderator, rather than pressuring townspeople to take it over. Mr. Stackpole expressed concern about the mill area, and said that it is a hindrance to making the city more livable. He believes the Council should address the issue.

The full meeting video can be viewed here.

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