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City Council Meeting Summary: May 4, 2021

Austin Place Apartments. Photo by TPD Construction Co.

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

Mayor Mastraccio reported that she and City Manager Steven Buck testified that morning in front of the State Legislature’s Taxation Committee in support of Councilor/Representative John Tuttle’s bill to eliminate the use tax that the City pays on the Pay-As-You-Throw trash bags. The next step will be a work session that is yet to be scheduled. The Mayors’ Coalition met with the Maine State Housing Authority to discuss homelessness and housing issues facing municipalities. Mayor Mastraccio and Deputy Mayor Herlihy toured the new Summer Commons elder care facility on June St., which is scheduled to open later this month. She and Councilor Ayn Hanselmann toured the new Austin Place apartment building in South Sanford. The twelve two-bedroom units are fully leased and tenants are moving in.

In his City Manager’s report, Mr. Buck gave an update on Covid-19 vaccinations. See separate story. On the financial front, he reported there is very good momentum in Augusta around increasing revenue sharing from 3.75% to 5%, as well as increasing the Homestead Exemption reimbursement from 70% to 100%. Both of these would mean significant revenue for Sanford. There has also been discussion at the state level about increasing funding for EPS (Essential Programs and Services) which is a large part of the School Department’s revenue.

Mr. Buck said meetings are continuing on the joint land use study which was done by the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard and the town of Kittery. It includes Sanford because there are many Sanford residents who commute to work at the shipyard. A Park and Ride is being considered for Emerson St., next to Cumberland Farms. As part of the study, a multi-day conference on workforce housing is planned, in which Sanford officials will be invited to participate.

A public hearing was held on the proposed cable tv franchise with Comcast. See separate story.

The Council approved license renewals for four medical marijuana establishments: Stone & Stone LLC, 72 Emery Street; Shiva LLC, 1609 Main Street; Cerulean, LLC, 22 Smada Drive; and RNA LLC, 168 Country Club Road. An application by the VFW to extend their alcohol consumption area outdoors for holiday weekend events through the summer and fall was also approved.

The Council approved the purchase of a Power DMS system for the Sanford Police Department. See separate story.

The Council reappointed Jamie Cole, Jeannie Wood, Aaron Lederer and Alix Horr as City of Sanford Code Enforcement Officers. Jamie Cole was reappointed as Local Plumbing Inspector and Jeannie Wood, Aaron Lederer and Alix Horr as Alternate Plumbing Inspectors. These are appointments that have to be made every fiscal year per state statute. Jeannie Wood and Aaron Lederer were also reappointed as constables for the next year. They are not constables in the sense of police officers; this allows them to serve civil summons for violations of City Code which are specific to the Land Bank Authority.

The Council voted to authorize the purchase of the fire truck that they voted on at the previous meeting. The second vote was needed after the attorney went over the lease with a fine tooth comb.

The Council appointed Springvale resident Paul Demers and Sanford resident Jacob Crosby to fill vacant positions on the Board of Appeals. Their terms will expire at the end of 2023. Springvale resident Arlene Townsend was appointed to the position of Tenant Representative on the Sanford Housing Authority Board of Commissioners to fill an unexpired term ending December 31, 2022.

The Council voted to reduce the Sanford Regional Economic Growth Council from three members to two, by eliminating the membership held by the Chamber of Commerce. The City is only one member of the Growth Council, the other two are the Chamber and the Industrial Development Corporation. Those bodies have not yet voted on the reduction. No reason was given for making the change, but it was noted that it had been discussed in executive session.

About half of the more than three-hour meeting was devoted to a discussion of proposed amendments to the Council’s Rules and Order of Business. See separate story.

Under Councilor comments, Councilor Lanigan thanked Councilors Hanselmann and Herlihy for the work they do on social media to answer questions and keep residents informed. He also thanked ATV Club members for all their emails this week regarding the Rail Trail.

The full City Council meeting video may be viewed here.

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