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The Sanford City Council met on Tuesday, September 7 via Zoom. The meeting began nearly a half hour late as the Council was in executive session. All members were present. Councilor Bob Stackpole led the Pledge of Allegiance and asked for a moment of silence.

There was no Mayor’s report and no Subcommittee reports.

City Manager Steven Buck announced the reopening of the vaccine clinic in the former Marshall’s store at the Center for Shopping. See that story.

The Council recognized the hard work of City Clerk Sue Cote over the past 18 months, in particular her handling of the election during the unique situation presented by the pandemic. Read the proclamation in her honor here.

There were no comments made under Public Participation.

A public hearing was held on the 50% design for the River St. reconstruction, and in a separate agenda item, the Council approved entering into an agreement with Maine DOT to help fund the work. See separate story.

A public hearing and first reading were held on the proposed rezoning of the former Nasson dormitories property from single family residential to urban. See separate story.

A public hearing and first reading on the proposed moratorium on mineral extraction (gravel pit) lagooning and/or creation of ponds were held. Mayor Mastraccio read the full ordinance, which states that the City has inadequate regulations on lagoons and ponds created by digging below the seasonal high water table, and needs time to develop them. The moratorium, if approved, will be for 180 days, or until an ordinance is adopted. It could also be extended for an additional 180 days.

Dave Parent, Superintendent of the Sanford Water District, spoke in favor of the moratorium, and provided some history on a City well that was contaminated by the Maine Turnpike Authority’s creation of a pond off New Dam Rd. He said the lack of regulations was his concern, not only to protect the public water supply, but also private wells. “They don’t have the resources to fight like we did,” he added.

Attorney Kristin Collins, who represents two of Sanford’s gravel pit operators, spoke in opposition to the moratorium, saying her clients’ activities would be affected by the moratorium. She said that the moratorium does not define what a lagoon is, and said the City was “throwing around a significant ban without saying exactly what it pertains to.”

Planning Director Beth Della Valle said the whole point of the moratorium was to develop a definition and standards. She and Mr. Parent appeared to agree that the water bodies on Ms. Collins’ clients’ properties were not affected by the moratorium because they were not directly related to mineral extraction activity. A second reading will be held at the next City Council meeting on September 21.

The Council voted to accept the low bid from Casco Bay Ford for three 2022 Police Interceptor Utility Cruisers, at a purchase price of $73,006, which includes a trade-in of two old cruisers. The third cruiser that is being replaced was sold to the Sanford Regional Technical Center to be used by the school’s law enforcement program. The funds to pay for the vehicles was budgeted as part of the Police Department’s Capital Improvements Program.

The Council voted to approve the purchase of a 2021/22 Ford F-550 4X4 Braun Chief XK Ambulance from Autotronics of Frenchville, ME. Fire Chief Steve Benotti explained that the new ambulance would replace the Department’s current third unit which has over 260,000 miles on it. He told the Council that the shortage of automotive chips would have made it impossible to order a custom ambulance and get it within a year, so instead they found one that was already on order by a dealer as a demo unit, and it will be customized to meet Sanford’s specifications. The cost is below what was budgeted, so the City is saving money as well.

The new ambulance will have a Stryker Powerload system, which Chief Benotti said helps prevent back injuries, as well as a new defibrillator. The total cost is $312,954 which includes a trade-in. The ambulance will be paid for over a five-year period with funds budgeted through the Capital Improvements Program, and is expected to be in service by November or December.

The Council approved an Extended Emergency Ordinance, which allows the City Manager to sign warrants on behalf of the City Council for the next 90 days.

The final item on the agenda was the warrant for the Municipal Election on Tuesday, November 2. As it was 9:01 p.m., Councilor Lanigan pointed out that the City Council’s Rules of Procedure state that the Council must vote to extend the meeting beyond 9:00. Mayor Mastraccio replied, “Well, we’re going to finish this one.” Councilor Lanigan protested that the vote would not be legal, and left the meeting. The remaining Council members voted 6-0 to approve the warrant. (See this story for more details on the election.)

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