Three of the City Council’s Subcommittees met December 13, 2022.
Municipal Operations and Property Subcommittee
Deputy Mayor Maura Herlihy and Councilor Becky Brink attended. Mayor Anne-Marie Mastraccio was absent with notice.
Vital Records: City Clerk Sue Cote presented a recommendation to offer an online service to provide vital records for residents and anyone who has a record on file with the City. The service would be provided by InforME, the same company that hosts the City’s Rapid Renewal site for renewing car registrations. Ms. Cote said her office gets at least one phone call per day from someone needing a copy of a birth certificate for school, sports, legal requirements or genealogical research. Marriage and death records would also be available. InforME’s service is compliant with state requirements and there would be no cost to the City. InforME would verify the requestor’s ID to make sure they are legally entitled to the information as a related party or with a legitimate interest, and would process the payment. The Clerk’s office would mail out the information. She said City Treasurer Erin McMann is familiar with the service and highly recommends it. All agreed it will be a good addition to the services the City offers. Once Ms. Cote gets the contract, it will go before the full Council for approval.
River St. Bid: Public Works Director Matt Hill reported that his office received seven bids for the reconstruction of River St., which will be one half of the Mousam Promenade project. The low bidder was Levesque Excavation of Sanford at $2.26 million, which is under budget. Mr. Hill said the City has an excellent history working with Levesque, which did the reconstruction of Berwick Ave. earlier this year, and most recently removed the foundation at the corner of Winter/Cottage/River. Deputy Mayor Herlihy and Councilor Brink were very happy to hear that the work will be done by a local contractor. The bid will go to the full City Council for approval.
Engineering Field Inspector: Mr. Hill presented his recommendation for the City to add the position of Engineering Field Inspector/Resident Engineer to the Public Works Department. He said a full-time engineering construction inspector could not only inspect the City’s capital infrastructure projects, they could also inspect private construction projects for adherence to proposed plans and audit construction projects. They could assist in pavement conditions inspection, traffic control review, field utility coordination, and development of the five-year Capital Improvements Plan. He said that problems with the Westside Village project illustrate the dangers of not having consistent construction inspection. The construction inspection budget was reduced on that project due to cost overruns, which resulted in inadequate oversight leading to a gas main being hit, a catch basin failure, struggles obtaining easements and other issues.
City Manager Steve Buck said the City already pays for contract inspection services on projects through the Capital Improvements Program, but contractors are getting harder and harder to find. He added that having a full-time inspector/engineer on the City’s payroll would provide more services at no more expense than is already being budgeted. The recommendation will be forwarded to the full City Council for approval.
Public Safety Subcommittee
Councilors Ayn Hanselmann, Becky Brink and Jonathan Martell make up this Subcommittee.
Police Department Historian: Police Chief Craig Andersen asked for City Council recognition of Paul Auger as official Historian of the Police Department. This would be a volunteer position. Chief Andersen said the SPD has received requests over the past year or so from families looking for information on officers who served in the past. Mr. Auger, a former police officer, teaches history at Sanford High School and is very involved in the Sanford-Springvale Historical Society. He has agreed to serve as historian. The job will entail creating a “family tree” of past officers and providing info as requests come in. The Subcommittee members agreed it would be a great idea. It will come before the full Council for a vote.
New Officer: Chief Anderson introduced Officer Johnny Narvaez, who joined the force in October. Ofc. Narvaez praised the camaraderie of the SPD and how well the Department works together.
Yellow Flag Law: Ofc. Colleen Adams joined the meeting to report on the SPD’s first use of the state’s yellow flag law, which restricts a person from possessing a firearm if they are determined to be a danger to themselves or others. Sanford patrol officers worked with an individual who was in a crisis situation and indicated they had possession of a firearm. Ofc. Adams described the lengthy process which involves a mental health clinician and a judicial review. The individual will be flagged in the state’s database as restricted if they try to purchase another firearm. After 14 days, the individual can request a hearing to determine if they can have their firearm returned. The Mental Health Unit has developed a checklist of the steps to take if a situation occurs on the night shift when MHU officers are not available. The checklist is being made available to law enforcement around the state as well. Chief Andersen noted that this is the first use of the yellow flag law in this area.
Fire Department Update: Fire Chief Steve Benotti presented a report on the number of calls for service the Department responded to in November, as well as year to date statistics. The SFD has responded to a total of 4,028 incidents so far in 2022, including 3,062 request for emergency medical services and 79 fires. He said calls are up 4-5% over last year, which was up from the year before. “As the city grows and is more vibrant and busy, the numbers will continue to increase,” he said.
Assistant Fire Chief Pete Smith said the number one call they deal with is falls, due to the number of elderly people living alone in Sanford, often in less than ideal conditions. So far this year the Department has responded to 451 calls due to falls. He said a good percentage of those could be prevented. The conversation shifted to how the City might best help these residents, by connecting them with existing services (for example, to install handrails and shower rails), to identify trip hazards and to check on people who live alone. AC Smith said EMTs can do blood pressure checks and provide other medical services, but the Department needs resources to do so. City Manager Buck said there is currently no medical reimbursement for paramedicine, but community grants might be available. All were in agreement that pursuing funding to offer these services should be a priority.
Councilors Bob Stackpole and Jonathan Martell, and Deputy Mayor Herlihy attended.
Chicken Ordinance: The Subcommittee reviewed the overlay map which shows the areas where residential chickens are allowed. Currently, chickens are not allowed to be kept in the Airport Development and Industrial zones, as well as most of the Urban Zone. After lengthy discussion with Code Enforcement Officer Jamie Cole and City Manager Buck, the Subcommittee decided to recommended allowing chickens in all of the Urban Zone, as long as the chicken coop can be situated to meet the required setbacks. Language would be added to the ordinance to require a 25’ setback from commercial structures as well as residences. The recommendation will be forwarded to the full Council to see if there is agreement, before holding a public hearing.
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