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Ian Houseal, Sanford's Director of Community Development, presents information at the Dangerous Building hearing.

Ian Houseal, Sanford's Director of Community Development, presents information at the Dangerous Building hearing.

The Sanford City Council met Tuesday, January 18, 2022.

Councilor Becky Brink led the Pledge of Allegiance and asked for a moment of silence for Councilor John Tuttle and his family. Councilor Tuttle has missed the past several meetings due to ill health.

Mayor’s Report

Mayor Anne-Marie Mastraccio provided an update on last week’s Subcommittee meetings. In addition to the items we reported on last week, she said the Property Subcommittee heard that the handrail on the stairway leading to the Midtown Mall from St. Ignatius St. is missing, and the City will replace it, even though it’s unclear who owns the stairway. The monthly leadership team meeting between City and School Department officials included discussions on the future use of the Willard and Lafayette Schools and the Anderson Learning Center. Changes and initiatives will be proposed by the School Committee as part of this year’s budget process.

Councilor Ayn Hanselmann and Councilor Bob Stackpole reported on the Public Safety and Solid Waste Subcommittee meetings they chair, respectively. Councilor Stackpole asked for the public’s help in controlling litter around Number One Pond. On his daily walks he has noted many cigarette butts and empty nip bottles. Mayor Mastraccio reminded the public that there is a five cent deposit on nip bottles.

City Manager’s Report

MDOT: City Manager Steve Buck announced that the Maine Department of Transportation’s three-year work plan includes funding for a Park & Ride facility in Sanford as well as a grant for street sign and crosswalk improvements.

The Park & Ride, to be tentatively constructed this year, will be off Emerson St. behind Cumberland Farms. Access will be through the Cumberland Farms parking lot. He showed a plan (see below) of the proposed layout which includes more than 80 parking spaces, and called it a very positive development for Sanford.

The Heads Up Pedestrian Safety Grant will upgrade and replace warning signs at crosswalks throughout the City.

RAISE Grant: Senator Susan Collins has requested a meeting with city officials January 19 to lend her support to Sanford’s application for a RAISE grant (Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity) from the federal government which will provide up to $25 million for the planned reconstruction of downtown Sanford, including the Mousam Promenade, Cottage and Winter Sts. and sewer and water improvements.

Business Partnership Initiative: Public Works Director Matt Hill met with Maine DOT officials to discuss a BPI with the state and the developers of the former Nasson dormitories property. Under this proposed agreement, the state, city and private partners will each contribute a third of the cost of transportation improvements associated with the new housing development.

Vaccine Mandate: Mr. Buck announced that the US Supreme Court has put a stay on the OSHA Emergency Temporary Standard that would have required all employers of 100 or more people (including the City of Sanford and the Sanford School District) to require Covid-19 vaccinations or weekly testing of employees. The City’s compliant policy, which was approved at the previous Council meeting, has been removed pending the outcome of an appeal. Mr. Buck noted that in the Maine CDC’s most recent guidance, testing of asymptomatic individuals has been taken off the table as ineffectual, as testing when people are symptomatic seems to be the most accurate method.

Atlantic Broadband: Mr. Buck reported that Atlantic Broadband has been rebranded as Breezeline, and is introducing a new TV streaming service. A demand letter from the City’s attorney to the company about requiring residents to purchase internet service in order to get cable was sent earlier this month by certified mail, and the company has 60 days to respond.

Public Works: The Public Works Department did not have the manpower to plow the sidewalks in addition to the streets before the snow from Monday’s storm froze, but will be treating the sidewalks this week to aid in getting them cleared.

Communications and Presentations

Growth Council Update: Jim Nimon, President of the Sanford Regional Economic Growth Council, gave an update on recent activities. The expanded Board of Directors is now fully in place, and includes representatives form both small business and large business employers, and five different sectors of the business world: building development, business support, finance and banking, housing development, and workforce development/education. The board members are:

  • Steve Buck, Sanford City Manager, who will serve as President
  • Will Armitage of the Southern Maine Finance Agency, Vice President
  • Bob Hardison, President of the Industrial Development Corp., Secretary
  • Mike Ralston, Vice-President of IDC, Treasurer
  • Diane Gerry, Director of the Sanford Housing Authority
  • Caitlin Grant of York County Community College
  • Ayn Hanselmann of Troiano & Hanselmann (also a City Councilor)
  • Anne Lancaster, a small business advisor with Maine Small Business Development
  • Rob Reinkin, President of ReinCorp
  • Gina Sawtelle of Above and Beyond Catering
  • Bob Sullivan of Roehm America

In the last quarter of 2021, the Growth Council focused on small businesses. They published a Small Business Guide to help developers and those looking to run businesses in Sanford navigate through the codes, planning and licensing processes. The Guide was test-driven with many types of companies and has been well-received. A digital literacy initiative is teaching local businesses how to use the internet to their best advantage. Twenty companies have enrolled in the program.

Public Participation: Dianne Connolly expressed her concern that heavy trucks are damaging newly paved roads, including Blanchard and Mt. Hope Rds. and Railroad Ave. She suggested a permit system which would allow companies to continue to use Sanford roads but provide a means of revenue to pay for the damage caused by heavy trucks. She also suggested the Public Works Department create a map of acceptable truck routes that would keep vehicles on roads that are built to withstand them.

Consent Agenda: The Council approved the Springvale Social Club’s license application for games of chance without comment.

There was no Old Business.

New Business

ARPA Funds: see separate story.

Smoke and Carbon Monoxide detectors: Fire Chief Steve Benotti came before the Council to ask for approval of a program which allows the Fire Department to distribute free smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors to low-income area residents. The program has been in place for over 15 years, but needed to be authorized by the Council due to a new state law which shields Fire Departments from liability related to the installations. Chief Benotti said there is no cost to the City for this program, the detectors are supplied by someone who lost a family member in a fire where smoke detectors were not present. A shipment of detectors was also received from another state that could no longer use them. He said that when EMS personnel are on a medical call and notice the resident has no detectors, they don’t leave until they make sure smoke detectors are in place. The program was approved.

Budget Schedule: The Council reviewed a calendar for budget review proposed by Finance Director Ronni Champlin. Mr. Buck and Ms. Champlin have already begun meeting with each department head to review budgets line by line. They will then develop a proposed budget to present to the Council on February 15. The Budget Committee will meet on Thursdays in March, with a public hearing on March 17, and present their recommendation to the Council on April 5. Voters will go to the polls for the School Budget Referendum Validation on June 14.

Financial Reports: Ms. Champlin was scheduled to present the financial reports for the second quarter of fiscal year 2021-2022, but this item was tabled as she was unable to be present.

Budget Committee Appointments: The Council voted to appoint Wesley Davie, Lindsay Quinn, Melissa Alipalo and Aimee Garneau to the Budget Committee.

Emergency Masking Policy: The Council approved an emergency policy to require City employees and the public to be masked in all City offices, unless they are single occupancy. Mayor Mastraccio read a letter from City Clerk Sue Cote in favor of the policy, although Ms. Cote wrote that she wished it has been done sooner. The letter said that she has had customers come in coughing and sneezing with no masks on, and others take their masks off when they find out it is not mandatory to wear them. Chief Benotti and Police Chief Craig Andersen asked for some latitude for department heads to relax the policy in certain cases. Mr. Buck said the policy was written to allow that.

Dangerous Building Hearing: See separate story.

Councilor Comments: Councilor Jonathan Martell praised the Public Works Department’s road crews for their handling of Monday’s storm. Deputy Mayor Maura Herlihy said she had a question from a Sherburne St. resident asking that if their address changed, would they need to change their deed. The answer is no, but she recommended that be addressed at the Zoom presentation for Sherburne St. residents. Mayor Mastraccio reminded residents that if their trash gets put out too late, or is not picked up for some reason, it must be brought back inside and not left out until the following week.

Future Agenda Items: Councilor Hanselmann asked for an update from the Fire Department on activities there.

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