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City Council Meeting Summary: September 8

The Sanford City Council met via Zoom on Tuesday, September 8. The following items were among those presented or discussed:

  • Charles Tetelman, a student from the University of Southern Maine who worked with Sanford’s Land Bank Authority over the summer, presented his report on the positive impact of the Land Bank’s activities on property values. In some of the areas in the city where values have been negatively affected by problem properties, he showed how the demolition or rebuilding of those properties has proven to raise values in the surrounding neighborhood. An example of one of the maps he created is shown above.
  • There was lengthy discussion on the Covid-19 situation in Sanford. See related story. An emergency City Council meeting is scheduled for Thursday, September 10 at 6 p.m. The agenda, with information for the public to access the meeting, is here.
  • In the public participation segment of the meeting, Aron Gonsalves and Charlie Austin spoke about a business on Blanchard Road in Springvale which they said has been the site of large, all-night parties. City Manager Steven Buck responded that the Code Enforcement Officer and Police Department are well aware of the situation and are taking steps to resolve it.
  • Licenses for two new medical marijuana grower/cultivator facilities and a license for adult use cultivation at an existing facility were granted. The operations, all located at 22 Smada Drive, are run by members of the same family.
  • City Clerk Sue Cote gave a report to the Council on preparations for the upcoming election, and specifically on steps she has taken to streamline and secure the absentee voting process. She expects to be mailing absentee ballots to voters who have requested them on October 5. The new drop box is scheduled to be installed later that week. Voters may call the Clerk’s office to find out if the box is in place before coming down. Mr. Buck stated that the drop box will be under 24/7 security camera observation. See this story for more information.
  • The Council voted unanimously to approve a new fee schedule for fields and facilities. Parks and Recreation Director Alan Grady explained that the fees are for private groups only; Sanford/Springvale organizations such as Little League, Babe Ruth and Sanford Youth Soccer will continue to use the fields at no charge. Private sports groups that include at least 50% Sanford residents will be charged 50% of the usual rate. The complete updated fee schedule is posted here.
  • Ronni Champlin, Sanford’s Finance Director, presented the financial statement for the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2019-2020. She told the Council that the budget for the last fiscal year was an accurate reflection of the city’s costs, with no significant unbudgeted or unexpected expenses. Mr. Buck added that the impacts from the pandemic are expected to be felt in the next year’s budget.
  • In Council member comments, Ayn Hanselmann announced that Candidates Night will be held on October 1 at the Performing Arts Center. Maura Herlihy mentioned a “perpetual yard sale” in Springvale that needs to be brought under control, and questioned whether license plates could be issued at City Hall while the Springvale BMV is closed. All expressed hope that the Covid outbreaks could be quickly contained. “Community spread needs to be nipped in the bud,” said Bob Stackpole. Luke Lanigan shared his concern about “shoddy” Wi-Fi service in Sanford and asked whether Covid relief funds could be used to help students without internet access.
  • Mayor Tom Cote closed with a prepared statement on the outbreaks. You can read it here or watch the video.

The complete City Council meeting video is here.

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