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Jellison Bridge on S-Curve Road in Springvale has been closed for safety reasons.

The Sanford City Council’s Subcommittees met on April 13. The following is a brief summary of what was discussed at each meeting.

Municipal Operations & Property

Matt Hill, Director of Public Works, and Mindee Goodrum of the York County Soil and Water Conservation District, brought forward a solution to reduce erosion into Bauneg Beg Lake. On the City’s right-of-way off Shady Lane, sediment is washing into the lake, affecting the water quality. They plan to remove the stone steps that are there now, and replace them with a set of infiltration steps, constructed of wooden boards and filled with crushed stone. The infiltration steps will filter out sediment before it reaches the water’s edge. The steps will also provide safer access to the lake, as they will be longer and with a more gradual decline than the stone set. The work will be paid for by a grant from the Maine Department of Environmental Protection and with a contribution from an abutting landowner.

The Subcommittee also discussed the Jellison Bridge which spans the Mousam River on S-Curve Road in Springvale. Mr. Hill said Highway Foreman Aaron Downs was concerned about the condition of the bridge after another railing came down this spring (see photo). After inspecting the bridge, they shut it down for safety reasons. The portion of S-Curve Road that is south of the bridge has no residences, so Mr. Hill recommended removing the bridge and creating a pocket fishing park there. The land between S-Curve Road and Route 109 appears to be owned by the City. Mayor Anne-Marie Mastraccio and Deputy Mayor Maura Herlihy agreed it was a good idea. Mr. Downs said that there is grant money available for restoring waterways to their natural state, which the City could apply for to cover the cost of bridge removal. Mayor Mastraccio suggested reducing the angle on the northern end of the road to make it easier for residents to turn onto and off of 109.

The Subcommittee heard input from both sides in the ongoing dispute between the Trails Committee and the ATV Club. See separate story.

Solid Waste

The Subcommittee heard a presentation on a curbside composting pilot program from Ashleigh Miller, a graduate student studying urban ecology, as well as representatives from the Portland-based company Garbage to Garden. With a $5 monthly subscription, Sanford and Springvale residents would receive a 5-gallon composting bucket and a clean liner to fill with food scraps. GtG would pick up the full liner once a week and replace it with a clean one. They partner with farms who do the actual composting. There would also be a location where residents could drop off food scraps for free if they don’t want the curbside service. The $5 subscription is predicated on the city receiving a Waste Diversion Grant from the Maine Department of Environmental Protection to cover part of the cost. GtG’s usual subscription price is $15 per month. The project would save participants money, because fewer PAYT bags would need to be purchased, and would also save the City money on tipping fees, since a sizable percentage of the weight in our municipal solid waste is from food scraps. The Subcommittee will wait to hear back on the grant before bringing the project forward to the City Council for approval.

Public Safety

The process for interviewing and selecting Sanford’s next Police Chief was discussed. Current Chief Tom Connolly will retire as of July 23. The City has received 14 resumés from around the country. A committee, which will include community members as well as City Councilors and a representative from the School Department, will be appointed to assist in the selection process. Fire Chief Steve Benotti and a few area Police Chiefs will be invited to give their input on the qualifications for the position. City Manager Steven Buck and the City’s Human Resources Director Stacy Howes will narrow the field of 14 applicants down to the top five for an initial round of interviews. The top two will be interviewed a second time as the committee seeks to select the candidate with the best personality and fit for Sanford. Mr. Buck will appoint the new Chief, subject to City Council confirmation.

The Subcommittee also heard a presentation from Deputy Police Chiefs Craig Andersen and Tim Strout on the Power DMS system. They are recommending the city purchase this software system to digitize and organize departmental documents including policies, accreditation, training, and complaints. Mr. Buck said the City gets frequent requests for information under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), and the amount of time needed to retrieve all of the paper documents is “enormous.” Deputy Chief Strout said this system would increase transparency and ease of access for the public, as well as saving the City money in time spent. Subcommittee members were unanimous in their support of the proposal, and it will be forwarded to the City Council for approval.

Zoning

A recommendation by the Planning Department to award a contract for Mineral Extraction Inspections Services was reviewed. Inspection of gravel pits in Sanford has been a complex, and at times contentious issue. Inspections are currently done by the City every five years, when the pit operator reapplies for a license. Outsourcing inspections to an independent third party would put the job in the hands of mining experts, rather than City staff who may not have as much experience in the field. Having them done annually would reduce noncompliance by catching small problems before they become larger ones. Councilors Bob Stackpole, Maura Herlihy and Ayn Hanselmann were in agreement to move the recommendation forward to the City Council for approval, with the caveat that a deadline of March 31, 2022 should be set for revising the ordinance governing gravel pit operations.

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