The Sanford City Council met July 5, 2022. All members were present.
Mayor’s Report: Mayor Anne-Marie Mastraccio thanked the Parks and Recreation, Police, Fire and Public Works Departments for all their work in putting on the July 4th weekend activities.
City Manager’s Report
ARPA Funds: City Manager Steve Buck announced the City has received the second half of allocated funds from the American Rescue Plan Act. Sanford has now received a total of $2,244,088.38. 65% of the funds, or almost $1.5 million, has been budgeted for use in the 2022/23 fiscal year, which began July 1. See this story for more details on how the funds are being spent.
Hiring: Twelve positions have recently been filled, including five seasonal laborers for the parks and Airport. A new dispatcher came on board in May, and in June, the new Economic Development Director and new City Councilor (Councilors are considered employees because they get paid). Police Officer Matt Johns, who had retired, returned to the SPD, and in the Highway Department, there was one transfer and one promotion. Thirty new election workers were also hired, as well as 50 seasonal employees within the Recreation Department.
There are 17 people currently in the hiring or interview process for the positions of dispatcher, police officer, tractor/trailer driver, equipment operator, assistant fire chief and planner. The planner position has been open for 18 months and Mr. Buck said the City had made an offer that day that was accepted. But he said they have run into situations where a prospective employee has accepted a position, and then backed out when their current employer made a better offer.
Seventeen positions are still open and being advertised, including police officers, dispatchers, equipment operators, mechanic, seasonal laborers, lifeguard and camp counselors, administrative assistance and firefighter.
Orange Line: Mr. Buck noted that the expansion of the Orange Line bus service from Sanford to Wells was designed with a more consistent hourly schedule to help people get to work. The route has also been extended all the way to Wells Beach for the summer. The full schedule is available here.
SanfordNet Fiber: The City has sent the final close out documents to the Economic Development Administration for review, and expects to receive the final 10% of the grant money soon.
Mineral Extraction: The Mineral Extraction Task Force has finished its work and will have the draft ordinances for the City Council to review at the July 19 Council meeting.
Flags: Governor Mills ordered flags to be flown at half-staff starting that day, through Saturday, July 9, in honor and remembrance of the victims of the Highland Park 4th of July shooting.
There were no communications, presentations or public comments, and no public hearings. There was no old business.
Airport Generator: Allison Navia, Manager of the Sanford Seacoast Regional Airport, joined the meeting to request the Council accept a grant of ARPA funds through the Maine Emergency Management Agency, to fund the purchase and installation of a generator for the Airport operations building at 9 Presidential Lane. Ms. Navia said she worked with Alex Hammerle, the City’s Facilities Director, to apply for the grant funding. The building was designed for a generator but it was not purchased at the time of construction due to financial constraints. The natural gas generator will supply electrical power during outages and emergency situations. She said this has become more important with the increase in the number of extreme weather events, like the 2020 hailstorm which created a lengthy power outage. The generator will allow the Airport to continue to function during emergencies. Five of the Airport’s 21 gates are electric and currently have no backup power. The Council voted unanimously to accept the grant money and, in a separate item, accept the bid of $74,550 from Martineau Electric of Dover, NH, for the purchase and installation.
Catering Permit: The Council voted to approve a catering permit for Pilot’s Cove Café for the July 12 Sanford Mainers game, which is Partners Bank Night.
Flag Policy: The Council unanimously approved a policy regarding the display of flags on City property. Following the vote at the last Council meeting to fly the Pride flag for a week at City Hall, Councilors were in agreement that a policy should be enacted for the future. Mr. Buck developed the policy and had legal counsel review it.
The policy declares that “the flagpoles owned or maintained by the City of Sanford are not intended to serve as a form of free expression by the public, but rather as a non-public forum for the display of any governmental and non-governmental flag authorized by the City Council, either required by law or as an expression of the City Council’s official government speech.” The policy outlines that the City shall fly the United States flag, the POW/MIA flag below that, and the State of Maine flag below that.
The Council may authorize the display of a commemorative flag if the request comes from a member of the Council and is approved at a publicly noticed Council meeting. Commemorative flags shall be displayed for a period of time that is reasonable or customary for the subject that is to be commemorated, typically 7 days but not more than 30 days. A commemorative flag is defined as one that identifies with a specific historic event, cause, nation or group of people that the Council chooses to honor or commemorate consistent with the City’s mission or priorities. Flags of a particular religious movement or creed are specifically prohibited, as well as flags of a political party or those advocating a certain outcome in an election.
Future Agenda Items:
- Councilor Mike Termath requested a discussion on purchasing a vehicle for the Police Chief at the next Public Safety Subcommittee meeting.
- Councilor Ayn Hanselmann asked for information on the overgrowth of plants at Gateway Park near the dam, which she is concerned might impact the safety and integrity of the dam.
- Deputy Mayor Maura Herlihy requested an update on equipment priorities from the Public Works Department.
Executive Session: At the end of the meeting, the Council entered into executive session to discuss a pending labor agreement.