The Sanford City Council met November 1, 2022. All members were present.
Councilor Jonathan Martell motioned to amend the minutes of the October 18 regular meeting to reflect that the meeting was abruptly adjourned by Mayor Mastraccio without opportunity for other members of the Council to object. The amendment failed by a vote of 2-5, with Councilor Michael Termath joining Councilor Martell. The minutes were then approved without amendment by a vote of 5-2.
There was no Mayor’s Report.
City Manager’s Report
Airport Application: City Manager Steven Buck reported that Airport Manager Allison Navia has filed a new application for funding from the Federal Aviation Administration for a multi-phased development project at the Airport, which would include the acquisition of 6 acres of land, design and installation of a dedicated access roadway and construction of a new terminal building with landside parking and airside apron with de-icing capabilities. Ms. Navia applied last year but the project was not awarded. If this funding is granted, the Airport would be able to attract jets year-round, which would be a boost to revenue.
RAISE Grant Hearing: Mr. Buck announced that the first public hearing on the RAISE Grant projects will be held in Council Chambers at City Hall on Thursday, November 17. There will be a live (not televised) workshop from 3:00 to 5:00 pm which will allow abutters and other interested persons to view maps of the projects and have one-on-one discussions with City officials. A public hearing to take comments will be held from 6:00 to 8:30 pm, which will be Zoomed, televised, streamed and recorded. For more about the RAISE Grant projects, see this story.
ATV Trail Report: At the Council’s next meeting on November 15, Parks and Recreation Director Brady Lloyd will present a summary of activity on the shared use segment of the Rail Trail. The purpose of the presentation will be to discuss the levels of mixed use (motorized and non-motorized) and make possible recommendations for changes to the Rail Trail policy.
New E-Newsletter: The City’s new e-newsletter, called The Main Street Memo, will be released on the second and fourth Tuesdays of each month. Anyone may subscribe to the e-newsletter on the City’s website at sanfordmaine.org. Current and future editions will be archived at https://www.sanfordmaine.org/community/main_street_memo.php.
Property Tax Stabilization: The City has received 815 applications for the state’s new Property Tax Stabilization program for residents age 65+. Mr. Buck said the assessor’s office has received 30 applications that do not include the required documentation (birth certificate or driver’s license) to verify the applicant’s age, and is in the process of trying to contact the applicants to get this info.
Communications / Presentations
Growth Council: Keith McBride, Director of the Sanford Regional Economic Growth Council, presented his quarterly Economic Development Dashboard, which includes metrics for measuring the Growth Council’s activities and economic development in Sanford. The Growth Council has 15 projects in the pipeline, ranging from small businesses to large developments, but no details were provided on the projects. Other metrics included the number of small businesses in Sanford in 2021, which is 743. Small businesses assistance projects that the Growth Council completed this year included Maker’s Way Studio, Kids Cove Daycare, Coastal Sports and Northeast Specialty Foods. Mr. McBride said one of the Growth Council’s priorities for next year will be to focus on raising the profile of Sanford as a great place to live and do business.
Online Reporting: Lt. Chad Allen of the Sanford Police Department gave a presentation on using the SPD’s online system for non-emergency crimes and other incidents where there is no known suspect. He demonstrated the process of using the Online Reporting System and encouraged resident to report crime, even if they know there is no way to identify the culprit. He gave an example of multiple incidents of property damage in the same neighborhood. “If that crime is trending and no one is reporting it, we don’t know about it,” he said. The Online Reporting System is available on the City’s website at https://www.sanfordmaine.org/departments/police/create_a_report_online.php.
Public Participation: Former City Councilor Fred Smith, who now lives in Shapleigh, said he is trying to open a used furniture store in Springvale but has had difficulty getting open. He said he submitted a building permit to do some work on the building three weeks ago and finally got a call from the Code Enforcement Office that they need more info. He said the store’s manager has already left her previous job and “a five or ten minute walk through could have solved everything, and that bothers me.”
There were no public hearings and there was no old business.
Fuel Contract: The Council approved a fixed price fuel oil contract with Dead River Company for 25,000 gallons of #2 heating oil at the fixed price of $3.8401/gal. In addition to the City Hall and other facilities, the contract includes the Historical Museum, the Memorial Gym and a few other partners.
Dispatchers Retirement: The Council approved changing dispatchers who work more than 20 hours per week at the Sanford Regional Communications Center to a new plan with the Maine Public Employees Retirement System (MainePERS) beginning January 1, 2023. The new plan provides for a 25-year, no age retirement, which Mr. Buck said helped to attract an experienced dispatcher to the department. He said other dispatch centers across the state are moving to this new plan as well.
Holly Daze Parade: see separate story.
Main Street Marketplace: The Council approved changing the name of the Midtown Mall to the Main Street Marketplace, with new granite signs at the Main St. and Washington St. entrances. The signs were approved by the Site Plan Review Committee and the Design Review Committee. Mr. Buck clarified that the areas where the new signs will be placed will not be impacted by the RAISE Grant reconstruction of downtown. Mayor Mastraccio thanked Partners Bank for paying for the signs, which will be made and installed by Heritage Memorials. The signs will be eight feet long and 42 inches high, with eight inch lettering.
Councilor Termath said the Midtown Mall name and sign are part of Sanford’s history. He added that the Mall needs a facelift and suggested the City “have the owner remodel the whole center.” Councilor Hanselmann responded that the City does not own the buildings, only the parking lot, so has limited ability to make change. She said a small step like changing a sign or opening a new store can get people thinking in a more positive light, which can lead to greater changes. Councilor Martell said he was not a fan of the name change, and suggested Sanford Marketplace as an alternative. The Council approved the name change and signs by a vote of 5-2, with Councilors Termath and Martell in opposition.
Dangerous Buildings: see separate story.
Subscribe to our twice-weekly email newsletter and never miss a story! Visit sanfordspringvalenews.com/subscribe/ to sign up.