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Three of the City Council’s Subcommittees met April 12, 2022, to discuss a variety of issues. Here is a quick synopsis of items that were discussed.

Municipal Operations and Property Subcommittee

Marginal Way: Issues with a resident of Marginal Way who is reportedly speeding, passing school buses and otherwise disturbing neighbors and the environment were discussed with Police Chief Craig Andersen, who said the Department will be stepping up patrols in the area. Residents who have criminal activity to report may call 911 or the Department’s non-emergency number. He said the online reporting system will soon be up and running as well, which may be an appropriate way to report ongoing issues. Mayor Anne-Marie Mastraccio said the School Department would be notified that school bus drivers should always report vehicles passing them illegally to the Police Department.

Picnic Tables: Parks Director Brian Desrochers has ordered a few metal picnic tables to be placed near Number One Pond. If they are in stock they will be here within a month or two. The picnic tables are being paid for through a grant from the William Oscar Emery Trust.

Mayor Mastraccio asked about the picnic tables and other improvements that were being planned last year for Central and Gateway Parks, to be paid for with leftover funds from the Sanford Downtown Legacy organization. Mr. Desrochers said the leftover funds weren’t enough to cover the cost of the improvements. The metal picnic tables are about $4,000 each. City Manager Steve Buck added that the money was donated to the Friends of Downtown instead, who are using it as matching funds to get a larger grant.

Mayor Mastraccio asked for quotes to provide some picnic tables at the parks that are not necessarily permanent. She said there is money left over in the WOE Trust that could be spent. The Parks Department will look into it.

Rail Trail: Parks and Recreation Director Brady Lloyd went over the text of a proposed ATV policy for the Rail Trail. The Subcommittee and City staff had a number of suggestions for edits. ATVs includes dirt bikes but not e-bikes. He will revise the policy and bring it to the full City Council at its May 3 meeting.

Midtown Mall: The Subcommittee heard details of the proposed maintenance assessment district which will cover approximately 2/3 of the costs of winter maintenance and electricity for the Midtown Mall parking lot, plus capital improvements that will be budgeted over a period of years. Creation of the district will reduce the burden on taxpayers at large by assessing maintenance costs more fairly to the two large property owners at the Mall who benefit directly from the services. The proposal is for 2/3 of the costs only, because the other 1/3 is considered to be the estimated public benefit of the parking lot.

If the proposal is approved, the two property owners will be billed each year for the prior year’s actual expenses. KSC, LLC, which owns the building housing the Family Dollar Store, will be responsible for 34%, while Meggs Properties, LLC, which owns the two buildings housing DHHS and Republicash, will be responsible for 66%. These percentages were determined by the relative property values of the buildings.

The City also considered other options, including parking meters and the creation of a much larger district.  To ease the transition on the two property owners, the City would offer a phase-in over the first three years.

There are multiple steps and public hearings required to put the proposal into motion. The first step will be a public hearing at the next City Council meeting on May 3.

Public Safety Subcommittee

Parking Tickets: Police Chief Andersen presented a proposal for changes to the parking ordinance. See separate story.

MHU Update: Lacey Bailey, the OPTIONS (Overdose Prevention Through Intensive Outreach, Naloxone and Safety) clinician for York County who is based at the Sanford Police Department, provided an update on the work of the SPD’s Mental Health Unit. They have been checking homeless encampment sites, offering services to those individuals willing to accept help, and asking people to move on if they are on private property where they are not wanted. There are plans to do a cleanup of some sites. They are meeting with the District Attorney to discuss how protective custody may be used to help people with substance use and mental health issues. Ms. Bailey has joined a new Recovery Housing Task Force, which will follow a successful model from New Hampshire to work toward housing solutions for people recovering from substance use disorder.

New Officer: The Subcommittee was introduced to the SPD’s newest member, Officer Eric Bilodeau. He worked with the Rochester, NH Police Department for three years, but was having difficulty with the work/life balance due to staffing issues there. He praised the SPD’s strong leadership and management, use of technology and workforce development program. Officer Bilodeau received a warm welcome.

Speeding: Chief Andersen addressed complaints the City has received about speeding on Railroad Ave. The police presence there has increased which is helping to address the issue. He asked that citizens call the Police Department directly rather than complaining to the Mayor or City Councilors, so that problems can be logged properly. He anticipates the City will be awarded grant money that can be used for speeding, distracted and impaired driving and seatbelt violations.

Cops at Stops: For the month of May, the SPD in conjunction with Ledgemere Transportation will be having officers at bus stops around the City. This “Cops at Stops” program will provide an opportunity for children to meet officers who can answer questions while promoting bus stop safety.

Autism Patch: For the month of April, which is Autism Awareness Month, Sanford Police Officers are wearing special patches in support of those with Autism (see photo below). Patches will be for sale to raise money for Waban Projects. The cost of the patch is $15.00 and all proceeds go directly to Waban Projects. There is a limited supply and anyone interested in a patch can contact Officer Andrew Raymond at apraymond@sanfordmaine.org or see any officer for a patch, as they will be made available to all police officers. Chief Andersen praised Officer Raymond for his work on this initiative.

Route 4/Grammar Rd. Intersection: The Subcommittee members raised issues with the traffic light at this intersection, which doesn’t appear to be working properly, leading people waiting to turn left onto Grammar Rd. to run the red light. Mr. Buck said it is working, but the light is triggered by a loop under the road, and if a car comes to the intersection in midcycle, it will cycle all the way through before displaying the green arrow. He said the state will be redoing all the traffic lights in 2023 or 2024, and changing to a new camera system.

Covid Update: Community Development Director Ian Houseal presented an update on Covid data for the state and county, with maps and charts showing transmission rates and death rates for vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals by age group. He said Sanford is going to be selected as a wastewater testing site for the state, which will be helpful to track outbreaks of Covid as well as other viruses.

Solid Waste Subcommittee

8-Gallon PAYT Bags: The 8-gallon Pay-As-You-Throw trash bags, which have been unavailable for several months, will soon be available again. The company that makes them (WasteZero) is requesting the City of Sanford pay for them upfront in lots of 100 cases, rather than paying after they are sold. The cost to the City will be the same. Since this size bag sells more slowly than the more popular 15-gallon and 33-gallon bags, it takes much longer for WasteZero to get paid.

Resale of PAYT Bags: It has come to the attention of City administrators that a local retailer is purchasing PAYT bags from another retailer, and selling them in their own store for $15.99, rather than the regular price of $14.50. Various ways of prohibiting or discouraging this practice were discussed. Mr. Buck said he will take a look at the solid waste ordinance and report back to the Subcommittee next month.

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