City Council 4/20 Meeting Summary

The Sanford Community Forest presentation included a short video about the project. You can view the video at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gMaFmv72gpM.

Mayor Anne-Marie Mastraccio led the Pledge of Allegiance and asked for a moment of silence. All Councilors were present.

In her regular report, Mayor Mastraccio spoke about testifying before the State Legislature’s Labor and Housing Committee in support of a bill submitted by Councilor/Representative John Tuttle, regarding workers compensation for public sector employees.

She and Councilor Bob Stackpole reported on last week’s Subcommittee meetings.

Councilor Tuttle gave a legislative update. He said there is enthusiasm among lawmakers to increase general purpose aid to education, as well as increasing the percentage of sales and use taxes that go to education. On May 13 the Legislature will begin voting on proposed bills. He will be presenting LD1525, which will exempt municipalities from paying sales tax on PAYT bags. Passage of this bill would save Sanford $60,000. A public hearing on the matter is expected in the next couple of weeks, he said.

In his report, City Manager Steven Buck briefly went over the latest Covid-19 statistics for the state and for York County. He said the decision to put a hold on the Johnson & Johnson vaccine resulted in cancellation of vaccination clinics around York County. There will be an emergency meeting at the federal level on Friday to review that decision.

He talked about “shovel-ready” projects in our community that may be able to get funding through the pending federal infrastructure bill. He announced the public hearing on the new Comcast cable TV franchise is scheduled for May 4. Contract negotiations have already begun, with the French channel being one major element under discussion.

Police Chief Tom Connolly presented a letter of commendation and certificate of excellence to Community Resource Officer Eric Small. See separate story.

Lee Burnett, a board member of Three Rivers Land Trust (3RLT), and Cheri Brunault, the organization’s Executive Director, gave a presentation on the proposed Sanford Community Forest. The 550-acre tract of land in Springvale has many possibilities for recreation, education and conservation. 3RLT is in the process of fundraising to purchase the property. They have already raised $630,000 of the $800,000 goal, and have until the end of the this year to raise the rest. See our previous story on the Sanford Community Forest.

Jim Nimon, Director of the Sanford Regional Economic Growth Council, gave his quarterly report. He talked about Volk Packaging’s expansion to Sanford. He said Winn Company is continuing to do due diligence on the Stenton Trust Building. If everything goes as planned the deal should be complete by the end of the year. He reported on the SanfordNet Fiber survey results, which revealed that many local businesses are unclear on its benefits. The Growth Council is stepping up its marketing and outreach on this.

Mr. Buck presented the municipal budget that was recommended by the Budget Committee. See separate story.

There was no public participation.

There were two public hearings for medical marijuana grower/cultivator license. The first was for a new license for Lone Wolf Gardens, at 72 Emery St, Unit 403. The second was a renewal application by Heaven’s Leaf Garden, at 72 Emery St, Unit 401. There was no public input. Both licenses were approved.

Three agenda items concerned the Sanford Seacoast Regional Airport:

  • A public hearing was held on a proposed credit enhancement agreement between the City of Sanford and Sanford LFB, LLC., relating to the development of parcels of land at the Airport identified as Hangar W56. Airport Director Allison Navia provided details on the concept for development. Mr. Nimon said the agreement sets a strong foundation for future economic growth in this section of the Airport. Councilor Stackpole pointed out that the information had been presented and discussed by the Council in executive session. “I don’t want the public to think we are just accepting this without any consideration or debate.” The agreement was approved.
  • The Council voted to accept a bid from the Sargent Corporation for reconstruction of Taxiway C at the Airport. The vast majority of funding for the $1.6 million project will come from a combination of FAA and MDOT grants. Sanford’s share of the project is estimated to be $72,655, or 3.6%.
  • The Council voted to accept $23,000 in Coronavirus Relief Funds for the Airport, to be used for approved operating expenses and capital expenditures.

The Council voted to approve the purchase of a Bobcat Skidsteer, with several useful attachments, to replace an older skidsteer in the Public Works Department’s fleet. PWD Director Matt Hill said the attachments, which include a post hole augur, log grapples and a stump grinder, give the Department more capability, at a fraction of the cost of a larger piece of machinery. The cost with trade-in is $48,281.74. The money will come from a capital reserve account which is funded by the sale of DPW equipment.

The Council voted to clarify the sidewalk materials to be used on Kimball and Twombley Streets in the Westside Village Reconstruction Project happening this year. Concrete will be used from Main to Shaw Street, with asphalt to be used for the remainder of the length.

The Council voted to accept the low bid of $7,975 for demolition and removal of the two-family house at 12 Proulx Court in Springvale, which was declared a dangerous building in 2019. Guillemette Bros. will do the work. The disposal of the demolition material is a separate cost by weight. The project is funded through the Land Bank Revolving Fund. Once the lot is cleared, it will be sold and proceeds put back into the Fund.

The Council approved the lease of a 2022 pumper for the Fire Department. The funds are in the current year’s Capital Improvements Plan. The seven-year lease will be paid in advance, which gives a savings of over $22,758 off the total cost of $643,919. At the end of the lease the City can choose to purchase the pumper, or return it and lease a new one. Fire Chief Steve Benotti explained that the equipment generally starts to need expensive maintenance beginning in year eight, so leasing the trucks avoids these costs and keeps the fleet in better condition.

The Council approved the submission of federal funding requests for improvements to the City’s parks, particularly Carpentier Park. See separate story.

The Council voted to extend the Emergency Ordinance that allows the City Manager to sign warrants on behalf of the City Council during the pandemic. The vote was 6-1, with Councilor Lucas Lanigan opposed.

The Council voted to approve awarding a contract to do mineral extraction (gravel pit) inspections. The inspections will be paid for by the operators of the pits. The contracting out of these inspections to a third party, to be done on an annual basis, is expected to catch problems of related to over-excavation before they become serious. Inspections were previously done by City engineers as part of the five-year permit reapproval process for the pits. Dave Parent, Superintendent of the Sanford Water District, said the new process will make the City more business-friendly. The Council amended the original motion to add that a task force will be appointed to work on amending the mineral extraction ordinance as a whole.

Mayor Mastraccio read a joint statement of full and final resolution of the recent legal action taken by Councilor Lanigan against the City. Councilor Lanigan agreed to dismiss his lawsuit and he was reappointed to his Subcommittee assignments. The Council’s Code of Conduct and Rules and Order of Business will be reviewed for possible revision. The statement concluded, “The parties remain committed to working together in a productive manner, and putting the interests of their constituents first.”

Toward the end of the four-hour meeting, Councilor Jonathan Martell asked for a future agenda item for the Council to consider placing time limits on presentations or discussions at Council meetings.

The full City Council meeting video can be viewed here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=chPoZ3F7SQU&t=10608s

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