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Municipal Operations and Property Subcommittee Meeting Notes: January 2023

The City Council’s Municipal Operations and Property Subcommittee met January 10, 2023. Mayor Becky Brink, Deputy Mayor Maura Herlihy and Councilor Ayn Hanselmann are the Subcommittee members.

Communications Plan: The City’s Communications Coordinator, Jordan Wilson, gave a preliminary presentation on the communications plan for the next 18 to 24 months. She said she hoped to get input from the Subcommittee before finalizing the plan. The plan has three goals: to increase local and regional awareness of all that Sanford has to offer, to enhance communication with residents, and to foster community.

The plan will define Sanford’s brand and break down the elements that went into Sanford’s slogan (“Your Future Is Here”) and new logo. Messaging will focus on the City’s first-class resident services, environmental leadership, major development projects, the quality of business opportunities, local and nearby attractions. Communications with City staff will increase to encourage them to become brand ambassadors. A “Visit Sanford” marketing campaign and merchandise with the City’s logo are also in the plan.

Ms. Wilson is developing new sections for the City’s website with information on upcoming projects including the RAISE grant downtown reconstruction, fire stations, millyard revitalization and new housing. A 2023 resident survey to learn what type of communications will best serve them is being considered. She is creating an editorial calendar to ensure information is distributed at the right time and nothing falls through the cracks. More interactive features in the City’s Main Street Memo e-newsletter are also planned.

Mayor Brink suggested a section for the website on new and expanding businesses. Counselor Hanselmann asked if the City’s vehicles will be updated with the new logo. City Manager Steven Buck replied that it would not be cost effective to rebrand all the existing vehicles, but new vehicles and police cruisers will be marked with the logo as they are added to the fleet. Ms. Wilson hopes to complete the plan and give a presentation to the full City Council next month.

Sanford-Seacoast Regional Airport

Advisory Committee: Airport Manager Allison Navia presented some proposed amendments to the Airport Advisory Committee’s charge. The amendments will better define the Committee’s mission, specify that a written record be kept of each meeting, and add a section on attendance. Mayor Brink had a few suggestions to tweak the document. It will come before the full Council for adoption.

Credit Enhancement Agreement: Ms. Navia presented the request for the City to enter into a credit enhancement agreement with the owners of the HB8 property (the large tan hangar with off-center blue door) being constructed on Presidential Lane. The agreement allows the City to reimburse the company over time through property taxes for their upfront payment to connect to the Airport’s utilities and infrastructure. She said the City’s investment in the infrastructure and these agreements have been very successful in encouraging economic development by removing big barriers to entry. There is a long waiting list for hangar space, and several more units will be added on Presidential Lane in 2023. The agreement will come before the full Council for approval.

Independent Fee Estimate: Ms. Navia presented a contract with Bill Gerrish of Northeast Civil Solutions to perform an independent fee estimate for the engineering contract for the East Apron seal coating project at the Airport. The FAA requires any project that is paid for with federal funds to have an estimate done by an independent third party before negotiating with a contractor to do the actual work. The contract price must be within 10% of the estimate. The $2,000 cost for the estimate will come out of the Airport’s capital improvements plan (CIP) budget. The seal coating project is expected to be completed this year, and will be paid for with 90% federal funds, 5% state funds and 5% from the Airport CIP.

Public Works Department

Fleet Management Program: Public Works Director Matt Hill explained for the benefit of new Subcommittee members that the Fleet Management Program (FMP) is a major part of his Department’s standard operating procedures, and governs the fleet of vehicles and equipment which is valued at approximately $7 million. He said the changes in the new vehicle market over the past few years have led to a change in philosophy, as ordering new vehicles to specification has become less reliable than seeing what’s out there and making quick decisions on vehicles that are deliverable. The previous method of purchasing required a lengthy process of going through the Subcommittee and then the full Council, which took four to six weeks. He said the Department lost out on a lot of vehicles that way. The new purchasing policy allows the fleet management team to convene by phone and make a decision the same day. Mr. Buck emphasized that used vehicles are thoroughly inspected in person to ensure they are good value.

Mr. Hill ran down the list of the highest priority items on the list. The top priority is a large backhoe for the Highway Division, mobile enough to get around town to move downed trees. A tractor for the Transfer Station is number two on the list. A Vector/Jetter truck is the third highest priority (see next item). Other items on the list include a materials screen, which is a sieve used to sort loam from granular materials; an air compressor for mobile tools; a hydroseeder to spray grass seed and fertilizer; a light plant for nighttime work; and a forklift for the highway garage. Each item on the list has an anticipated cost for a new purchase, as well as a not-to-exceed cost for used equipment.

The FMP also governs maintenance and repair operations. The PWD is responsible for maintenance of Airport and Parks and Rec vehicles, in addition to their own. Garage Maintenance Supervisor Don Cabana and his crew conduct daily inspections, and Mr. Hill said they are doing a great job.

Vactor/Jetter Truck: The Sanford Sewerage District is purchasing a new vactor/jetter truck and has offered their existing truck to the PWD. Mr. Hill said this purchase is needed to clean out culverts. The City currently has no way to do this work internally, and has had to use third parties occasionally for emergency cleanings, which is difficult to coordinate as well as being expensive. “The routine operations and maintenance functions of the Department should include the ability to fully maintain our infrastructure,” he said. The Sewerage District will provide training and troubleshooting assistance. The truck is nine years old but still in very good condition, Mr. Hill said. He would like to have the truck in operation every day this summer.

Assistant Public Works Director Pete Smith said the machine has been badly needed for years to maintain the City’s underground infrastructure, which includes 2,500 structures. “Cleaning them prevents problems…you don’t see them until after the failure,” he said. He explained that the Department will not need to add a new position, that if they can fill their currently vacant positions they will have enough help.

The Subcommittee approved the purchase.

Parks and Recreation

Trails Committee Bylaws: Parks and Rec Director Brady Lloyd came before the Subcommittee to request an amendment to the Trails Committee’s bylaws to add an attendance policy which would allow the removal of a member who has missed three consecutive meetings without notice. The Subcommittee discussed whether attendance policies should be consistent for all City committees. Mayor Brink pointed out that different committees have very different purposes, and she didn’t want to put roadblocks in the way of attracting people to serve. The amended bylaws will come before the full Council for approval.

Friends of Oakdale Cemetery: Joe Doiron joined the meeting to present a proposal to create a Friends of Oakdale Cemetery group to help care for the cemetery and restore it to its original Victorian design. The Cemetery was laid out in 1893 by R. T. Woodward, a nationally recognized landscaper and naturalist. The City does a good job of maintaining the cemetery, but many of the older gravestones need cleaning, repair and resetting, which is specialized work. Volunteers can be trained to do the work in workshops that are organized through the Maine Old Cemetery Association (MOCA). Mr. Doiron asked if a Friends group would be covered by the City’s liability insurance policy. Mr. Buck said he would contact the Maine Municipal Association for clarification on this. Mr. Lloyd said he would like some of the Parks Department employees to take the workshop also, and has included the cost of the workshop in his proposed budget for the year. The Subcommittee members were all in favor of the proposal.

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