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Rick Smith is sworn in as the Sanford Fire Department's new Assistant Chief of Operations.

The Sanford City Council met August 16, 2022. All members were present.

Mayor’s Report / Subcommittee Reports

Mayor Anne-Marie Mastraccio reported on last week’s Municipal Operations and Property Subcommittee meeting (see this story) and Public Safety Subcommittee meeting (see this story). She said the Fire Station Feasibility Committee toured the new Brunswick Fire Station and has plans to tour the Wells station soon. She asked that residents send cards to Chace Fromwiller, who is in Seattle undergoing cancer treatment. His mom said a shower of good wishes would lift his spirits. The address is Room 374, 5130 40th Ave. NE, Seattle WA 98105.

Councilor Bob Stackpole reporting on the Zoning and Solid Waste Subcommittee meetings (see this story.)

City Manager’s Report

RAISE Grant: City Manager Steve Buck reported on the $25 million federal RAISE grant that Sanford has been awarded (see this story). He said last Monday he ignored repeated phone calls from a number he didn’t recognize, which turned out to be Senator Susan Collins trying to reach him with the good news. The grant award has led to positive press all over the state for Sanford.

Safe Streets: The City has completed a draft application for the Safe Streets 4 All (SS4A) Grant which is being funded through the American Infrastructure Bill. The initial application is for the Action Plan Grant in the minimum amount of $200,000, which will be used to further identify traffic, bike and pedestrian impediments in our City. The City can then make an application to the SS4A Program for funding from $200,000 to $50 million to address the safety projects identified in the Action Plan with a 20% match to these federal dollars. The final Application will be brought before the City Council in September for approval before being submitted.

Tree Removal: Mr. Buck said the City has applied to the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) for a grant to remove trees and vegetative growth below the dam at Number One Pond. A similar process was used eight years ago in the construction of Gateway Park. A local contractor will be used to do the work.

Fire Station: Adding to Mayor Mastraccio’s report, Mr. Buck said the Brunswick Fire Station is a similar design to what is being proposed for Sanford’s new Central Station. The tour provided great insight into the hot/warm/cold zones of the Station and other facility features. A tour of Scarborough or South Portland is also being considered.

Property Tax Bills: The assessment has been finalized and sent to the printer, and tax bills will be mailed on August 19, with the first installment due September 15. He reminded residents to look for the four-page insert with information on tax relief programs. The Assessor’s office reports that they have already received a large number of applications for the new stabilization program for seniors.

Marijuana Money: Mr. Buck announced the City will be applying for reimbursement of up to $20,000 for time spent in the adoption of ordinances related to adult-use cannabis, made possible by a new state law.

City Hall Hours: The City has reached an agreement with AFSCME regarding the new operating hours at City Hall, which will go into effect August 29. The new hours will be Monday – Thursday from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., with City Hall closed on Fridays. A public relations campaign is in the works to let residents know of the change.

Community Enterprise Grant: The Maine Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD) has announced that Sanford will receive $100,000 for façade improvements in the downtown area. Owners of four Main St. buildings, the former Appliance Pro store, Shaw’s Hardware, the vacant 7-11 store and the former Bergeron’s Shoe Store, have applied with the City for grants of $25,000 each.

Communications / Presentations

Fire Chief Steve Benotti introduced Jarrett Clarke, who has been promoted to Lieutenant with the Sanford Fire Department. Lt. Clarke was hired in August 2015, and has been a strong member of the SFD. He is a former Eagle Scout who has Firefighter 1 and 2, and Fire Officer 1 and 2 credentials, and HazMat certification.  He has served as a volunteer and call firefighter in other communities as well. Chief Benotti said he relates to the public in a strong positive way, and has a good rapport with patients. Accompanied by his wife Melinda, Lt. Clarke was sworn in by City Clerk Sue Cote.

Chief Benotti then introduced Richard “Rick” Smith as the SFD’s new Assistant Chief of Operations. He has been with the Department since 2009, and attained the rank of Lieutenant before becoming Asst. Chief, beating out candidates from across the country for the position. He has been Chief of the Acton FD for the past few years as well. In addition to his numerous firefighting credentials, he has a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Southern Maine and is working on his Master’s. He holds the position of adjunct instructor at Sanford Regional Technical Center. Accompanied by his wife Melissa and their new baby, and his father Capt. Harold Smith, he was sworn in by Ms. Cote.

Public Hearings

Lagooning: A public hearing was held on the proposed extension to the moratorium on lagooning related to mineral extraction operations. Mr. Buck gave a brief review of the moratorium. The extension will take it through February 24 of next year, by which time the new mineral extraction ordinance is expected to be adopted. A first reading was held. The second reading will be held at the next City Council meeting, when they will vote on the extension.

Old Business

Charter Amendments: see this story.

New Business

Legion Elevator: Joe Doiron and Bill Cameron presented their proposal to install an elevator in the American Legion Post 19 building, which is owned by the City. The Council voted unanimously to support it. Councilor Michael Termath, a veteran of the Iraq War, said he will put the word out to the VFW and Amvets to assist in fundraising for the project.

Compactor Trailer: The Council voted unanimously to approve the purchase of a new compactor trailer for the transfer station. Public Works Director Matt Hill said he carefully considered rehabbing one of the retired units, but he received multiple opinions that it would cost more than purchasing a new one. The transfer station currently has one compactor trailer, but not having a second unit means they have to haul it whether it’s full or not, which is inefficient and wasteful.

Airport Striping: The Council voted unanimously to approve an agreement with Eastern Slopes Airport in Fryeburg to do their pavement markings with the crew and paint machine from the Sanford Seacoast Regional Airport. Airport Manager Allison Navia said the crew is willing to do the work, all costs will be covered and the Airport will make a little profit on the deal.

Policy Innovation and Community Resilience Partnership: Planning Director Beth Della Valle explained that this new grant program is a state and municipal partnership which assists communities to identify, prioritize and fund climate adaptation projects. She asked the Council for a letter of support to start the process. She said it was very likely Sanford would be approved to apply for these grants. The City would appoint an Advisory Committee to engage the community in determining goals for meeting the state’s climate action plan and to choose which projects to apply for grant funds to take on. She said there are nine pages of eligible categories for projects, but that things not on the list could also be proposed.

Councilor Termath asked how this program would reduce greenhouse gas emissions in Sanford. Mr. Buck responded that the grants could be used in many different ways to address various effects of climate change. He gave an example of replacing culverts that are not up to current standards due to a higher propensity for flood events. “It doesn’t have to just be about greenhouse gas emissions…it could be a whole host of very valuable projects for our community,” he said.

New Cruisers: The Council voted to approve the purchase of two new Ford Police Interceptor utility vehicles for the Sanford Police Department. Mr. Buck said the all-wheel drive Interceptors have proven to be reliable vehicles and the officers are able to get in and out of them easily with all their gear on. The low bid from Casco Bay Ford is $21,482 per vehicle with trade-in. The funds were budgeted in this year’s CIP.

Randall’s Run: The Council voted to approve the use of sidewalks and road shoulders along Main St. and Heidi St. for Randall’s Run/Walk for the Gym on September 3. Mr. Buck clarified that this is not a road closure, but involves the SPD assisting for the safe crossing of pedestrians and race participants.

Councilor Comments: Councilor Ayn Hanselmann announced that dog waste bag stations have been installed by Number One Pond. She also reminded everyone that the Sanford Mainers’ Airport 5K and Brew Fest are coming up on August 20 at the Airport. “Do a run and drink beer and not feel guilty,” she quipped.

Future Agenda Items: Councilor Termath asked for an update on crosswalk marking. Councilor Brink asked for a quick report on next steps for downtown reconstruction, now that the RAISE grant has been awarded. Councilor Martell asked for a timeline on upcoming paving projects. He said he has received positive feedback from people about the upcoming change in hours at City Hall.

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