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At the Sanford City Council’s regular meeting on December 22, the following items were presented or discussed:

  • Councilor Ayn Hanselmann announced a donation of 1,000 cloth face masks from United Way. She asked local organizations to contact her if any are needed.
  • City Manager Steven Buck gave an update on Covid-19 numbers and the latest vaccination plans. See separate story.
  • Mr. Buck reported that the solar facility at the airport went live and began sending power to the ISO New England grid on November 16. He detailed several other solar operations that are planned for Sanford, including a 20 Mgw project at the Rushton Street landfill, and a ConEdison 4 Mgw project to be built off Route 4. Both of these are slated to begin construction in the spring. Construction on the NBD project on Airport Road and a project at the former CGA site on New Dam Road are anticipated to begin later in the summer. There are two additional solar projects in the early planning stages.
  • Mr. Buck reported that EcoMaine will not be renewing our current recycling contract, which expires in June 2021. They can no longer cover their costs, due to China’s ban on the importation of most recyclables. City officials are working with EcoMaine to design a new plan that would work for all.
  • Christian A. Smith of Wipfli presented the results of the annual independent audit of the city and school financial statements. He gave a very general overview of the reports, while the lengthy actual reports were included in the packet that each Council member receives. There were no issues found with the audit. Assets exceed liabilities by $45.2 million. The city has $46 million cash in the bank, which is down $3 million from last year. Our debt service is high compared to other towns, but it is mostly funded by the state, and the city is in a very good position otherwise as regards debt. The audit report was approved.
  • A proclamation was read honoring retiring Treasurer/Tax Collector Paula Simpson on her nearly 30 years of service to Sanford and Springvale. Council members were unanimous that she will be greatly missed.
  • The Council approved contracts for two airport projects. One provides for engineering fees for reconstruction of the airport’s main taxiway. The second is for planning fees for new airport development.
  • A proclamation was read honoring outgoing Deputy Mayor Joe Hanslip on his more than 17 years of service to the community. He was presented with a compass inscribed “With thanks for your dedication in charting a course for Sanford, Maine.”
  • A public hearing and first reading were held on amendments to the zoning ordinance regarding signage for medical marijuana production facilities. There was no public comment. Councilor Bob Stackpole noted that state law limits graphics that can be used on marijuana and tobacco signage. A second reading will be held in January.
  • A public hearing and first reading were held on amendments to the zoning ordinance and land use table to allow mental health and [substance] abuse clinics in the Urban Zone. Tim Cheney, CEO of Enso, spoke in favor. He would like to relocate his clinic from South Sanford to Winter Street, where clients would be able to access treatment more easily. The amendments would allow clinics to provide counseling and prescribe medication only. No medication would be dispensed on the premises. There was discussion about whether the amendments had been reviewed properly before bringing them before the Council. The Zoning Subcommittee would normally bring forward a zoning amendment, but in this case, it was reviewed by the Public Safety Subcommittee and then the Planning Board. Both of those bodies were unanimously in support of the amendments. Police Chief Tom Connolly spoke strongly in favor of the change. He noted that the same services are provided at Maine Behavioral Healthcare in downtown Springvale. The amendments were tabled until they can be reviewed by the Zoning Subcommittee.
  • The Council authorized the Chief of Police to sign a memorandum of understanding, which provides for mutual aid between York County communities in case any department becomes very short staffed due to Covid-19.
  • A proclamation honoring outgoing Mayor Tom Cote was read. He was presented with a tidal clock inscribed “Thank you for helping turn the tide for our community.” Mayor Cote can use the clock to properly time his surfing trips to Wells Beach. He thanked many people who have supported and helped him during the past seven years. He also talked about the many positive developments that have occurred in Sanford and Springvale during his tenure.

The full meeting video can be viewed here.

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