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City Council June 18 Meeting Report

Diane Small and family

Sanford Housing Authority Executive Director Diane Small is congratulated by son Wil Cote, daughter Emily Cote and granddaughter Grace on receiving the Sanford Spirit of America Award for 2024 for her collaborative work assisting the unhoused population.

Photo: Eric Small

By Renée Morin

The city council met for its regular meeting on Tuesday June 18. All members were in attendance except for Mayor Becky Brink.

City Council Sub-Committee Reports

The Zoning Sub-Committee discussed adjusting the city ordinances regarding food trucks, as well as the trucks’ access to electrical power. A decision was also made limiting polling stations to just the high school, as opposed to both the high school and middle school. The plan is to eventually move toward having just one polling place to make it easier for the clerks. Finally, Deputy Mayor Maura Herlihy presented a house key to the new owner of a house on Allen Street built by Habitat for Humanity.

For the Property & Public Safety Sub-Committee, work has begun to codify park ordinances into law. Sanford Police Sergeant Colleen Adams and Communications Assistant Director Darcy Valido of the Sanford Regional Communications Center will be appearing in a documentary addressing yellow flag laws. Adams also received a certificate of recognition from the state legislature on May 31.

A discussion was had with the Sanford Police Department regarding the adoption of a policy of “local preference” for the distribution of wrecking permits in Sanford. Other communities in the US have adopted this policy, the lack of which has had adverse effects on the business of Sanford based wrecking companies, Councilor Ayn Hanselmann reported. Ultimately it was determined that both local and out of town companies have provided “excellent” service to the city, so the sub-committee declined to take any action at this time.

The Sanford Police Department has introduced “Bike Patrols” to the city.

In hiring news, the city has hired three new Sanford Regional Communications Center staff members, with Hanselmann referring to the center’s staffing levels as strong. The fire department has had three recent retirements, and is looking to hire 3-4 new firefighters, with 8 candidates currently having applied. The position of Assistant Chief with the Sanford Fire Department is open, and there have been four applicants

In response to concerns brought up in the Property & Public Safety Sub-Committee meeting, the council may review at a later date the policy of displaying the Pride Flag at City Hall. The flag will continue to be flown until the end of June.

Herlihy shared with the council that “National Night Out” is scheduled to take place Tuesday August 13.

City Manager’s Report

The city will receive a $50,000 grant to assess climate change vulnerability to the downtown’s stormwater drainage systems.

The results of the school budget validation referendum have been certified, with “Yes” receiving 71% of the vote in a turnout of only 8%.

Repairs on the Johnson’s Mill Bridge, which is located on Sand Pond Road and spans the Great Works River, returned higher cost estimates than expected. It is theorized that possible inaccuracies in GIS and FEMA data used in the estimate are to blame. Buck said, “the engineers concurred with the observed data and are now re-examining the project for a more cost-effective replacement, potentially with a locally administered project performed cooperatively between Sanford and North Berwick.”

Ladder 37 has been plagued with issues and has not been fully operational on several occasions. The truck’s manufacturer, Allegiance, had taken the truck to their repair facility for a bumper-to-bumper review. Issues have persisted nonetheless, and Allegiance is now conducting onsite work on the vehicle.

Information on the Heritage Crossing Encampment is discussed in a separate article.

Communications/Presentations

The Sanford Springvale Rotary Club was formally recognized by the city for their efforts in raising funds and gathering donations of clothes for Sanford’s unhoused population during their annual “January Thaw” event. Since their first fundraiser in January 2022, the Rotary Club has raised over $30,000 for this cause. According to Kim Lachance, a commissioner from the Sanford Housing Authority, these funds have been utilized to obtain shower vouchers, hotel rooms, rental assistance and travel costs.

Sanford Housing Authority Executive Director Diane Small was presented the Sanford Spirit of America Award for 2024, in recognition of her collaborative work assisting Sanford’s unhoused population. The proclamation attached to the award described Small as a person that “has consistently gone above and beyond what is expected of her in any position she holds, dedicating extraordinary personal effort to ensuring that safe, secure and appropriate housing and shelter options can be provided for all people in our community.”

Public Hearings

A public hearing was held on the application for a liquor license by Downhill Bagel at 446A Main St, Springvale, where the Hen House used to be. The owner spoke to the council about his plans for the business to be a “cafe-meets-nighttime destination” with plans to offer natural wines and craft beers on the weekends while having a “chill, small plates” nighttime experience. He assured the council that the aim is not to be a “rowdy, honky-tonk type destination” and that the city’s hospitality industry will benefit from this endeavor. The application was approved.

Old Business

Sanford Fire Chief Scott Susi presented the city’s proposed ordinance on open fire permits to the council with the addition of clarifying language in response to critiques made by councilors at the previous council meeting. The changes were subsequently adopted.

New Business

The city affirmed a contract made with Dead River Company, fixing the price of #2 heating oil at $2.8115/gal for up to 35,000 gals.

Kevin Eaton has been appointed to fill the unexpired term of Trustee of the Sanford Sewerage District following the resignation of former Trustee Keith Patterson.

A collective bargaining agreement between the city and AFSCME Council 93 General Services Union has been ratified by the council, and will be in effect between July 1, 2024, and June 30, 2027.

The area of road between the crosswalks at both ends of the International Woolen building on Heritage Crossing will be closed to vehicles from June 18 to August 1 for cleanup efforts and construction in the area.

The agenda items concerning the city Safety Action Plan and upcoming roadwork are discussed in separate articles.

Council Member Comments

Councilor Robert Stackpole congratulated the Boston Celtics for their victory in the NBA finals, and complimented the work done on cleaning up Heritage Crossing, saying that the city should not allow a similar situation to happen in the future. He also expressed appreciation for everyone who voted in the recent election. Finally, he mentioned his new dog, and stressed the importance of keeping Number One Pond clean of dog waste and litter.

Hanselmann followed up on Stackpole’s comment by alerting the council that the plastic bag dispensers for dog waste at the pond need to be refilled. She also brought up the issue of Canadian geese waste, with Herlihy expressing an interest in looking into what Boston is doing to tackle this issue. Hanselmann finished off her comments by promoting the new quilting business on Main Street, Knots & Bolts, as well as suggesting people should check out businesses on Main Street in general.

Councilor Jonathan Martell expressed an interest in discussing the location of polling places sooner rather than later, to obtain better consensus among the council.

Councilor Pete Tranchemontagne offered thanks to Diane Small for her work in the community.

Future Agenda Items

Councilor Nathan Hitchcock suggested the council have a discussion about the Sanford Springvale Development Corporation, to come to an understanding on both the council and the Corporation Board’s view of the “structure and future” of the corporation.

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