GOULDSBORO — The Board of Selectmen late last week tentatively set Aug. 26 for the annual Town Meeting to be held in the Peninsula School gym in Prospect Harbor village.
Budget Committee members plan to hold six public sessions to draft and finalize the town’s 2020-21 budget before or at their Aug. 5 meeting.
Over a dozen people attended the selectmen’s meeting, which was also live-streamed via the online platform Zoom from the Prospect Harbor Women’s Club Building
Budget Committee Chairman Dwight Rogers says the committee already has year-to-date figures to work with for the town’s five departments.
“I am in hopes I can get everything wrapped up by Aug. 5,” he told selectmen last Thursday night.
Board of Selectmen Chairman Dana Rice thanked Rogers and his committee for doing their work in much shorter time, remotely via Zoom, amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Aug. 26 date gives the Planning Board enough time to hold a public hearing about a proposed change to the town’s shoreland zooming ordinance, which would rezone a town-owned shorefront parcel on Prospect Harbor’s eastern zone as commercial fisheries/maritime. That hearing is tentatively set for 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 11. The ¾-acre parcel currently lies in a limited residential area.
The rezoning would make it possible to build a small shellfish resilience lab where baby clams, raised in floating ocean-nursery trays, would be brought ashore to overwinter in an indoor seawater tank there and used to re-seed local flats in spring. The project is a partnership between the town, Schoodic Institute and Regional School Unit 24 schools.
At last Thursday’s night meeting, Selectman Cheri Robinson thanked Eve Wilkinson for serving as interim town manager — it’s the second time she has done this — following former town manager Sherri Cox’s June 13 resignation in 2019. Last year, Wilkinson took over in mid-August and carried out the job until her successor, Andrea Sirois, was appointed and took over the town manager’s position on July 1. Since June 9, Sirois had worked closely with Wilkinson to get a handle on the town meeting/selectmen form of government, the town manager’s duties as well as the town office’s daily functions and services.
“I saw this and instantly thought of you,” Robinson told Wilkinson, handing her a gift bag. The former interim town manager, who is known for saying “Let me think about it” or “Let me sleep on it,” declined to open her gift then, but the contents were later revealed to be a pillow printed with the slogan “Sleep on It.” The office staff gave her a T-shirt that says “Let Me Think About It.”
Robinson also recognized then outgoing Gouldsboro Deputy Town Clerk Deana Workman for her work for the town. Workman submitted her notice of resignation on June 30 and stepped down July 10.
“I would like to thank you, Deana, for your time here and wish you well in your future endeavors,” Robinson said.
In other business, selectmen voted 5-0 to accept Ring’s Paving’s bid of $36,560 to shim and pave the Clinic Road. Other bidders included Blacktop Asphalt of Searsport ($41,420), Paving Eaton Paving & Excavation of Deer Isle ($41, 005.56), K.J. Dugas Construction Inc. of Surry ($37,720), Northeast Paving ($37,018) and Wellman Paving Inc. of Winterport ($36,848).
On the waste disposal front, selectmen voted 5-0 to authorize Town Infrastructure Supervisor Jim McLean to put out to bid a project to upgrade the Gouldsboro transfer station’s roll-off containers area. McLean reported the containers’ barriers and retaining walls had broken and become a public hazard. The upgrade would include construction of a platform, retaining walls and ramp. McLean estimated the project at about $20,000. Speaking via Zoom from home, Solid Waste Committee Chairman Ray Jones said the cost likely could be reduced and potentially covered through the solid waste reserve account and public works funds.
In a related move, selectmen voted 5-0 to purchase and erect two concrete jersey barriers, with a chain hanging between them, on either side of the transfer stations’ dumpsters to protect the public. They also reaffirmed the town’s policy of requiring that all garbage bags be tagged and their weight limited to 40 pounds. Earlier in the pandemic, the town had eased its waste disposal-related rules, but some local residents were not using tags and ignoring the weight limit.
“The policy was put in place. Forty pounds is the standard,” Chairman Dana Rice told the transfer station manager, Robert Harmon, who also is the town’s contracted trash collector.
In other business, selectmen authorized Gouldsboro Police Chief John Shively to explore adding another vehicle to his department’s fleet. His patrol vehicle recently had to be fixed and the department lacks a back-up vehicle. The Hancock County Sheriff’s Office has some spare vehicles, but they are not always available. Shively recommended buying a pickup truck that would be more suitable for patrolling and responding to calls on the town’s back roads.
“For what we do, we don’t need a police-rated vehicle,” he explained, suggesting his cruiser could be used as a backup vehicle.
Selectman Ernest West agreed, saying, “A lot of our roads are rural, remote.”