Edgecomb selectmen will hold an executive session Jan. 18 to discuss the possible sale of two Lallis property parcels. On Jan. 11, Selectman Mike Smith told other board members a possible sales agreement could occur. Local realtor Clayton Pottle approached the board last fall about buying a portion of the Lallis property. Negotiations were interrupted due to uncertainty over how the sale would impact the River-Link Trail which runs through it. Smith reported former Schmid Preserve Committee Member Bob Leone has identified a possible alternate trail route which would enable a sales agreement. “We have received a purchase and sales agreement from an interested party. We need to hold an executive session to discuss it, and possibly have a conversation about the remaining parcel’s potential,” he said.
Smith reported the interested party was interested in 28.7 and 8.6-acre parcels. The potential sale would leave 37 Lallis acres remaining. If an agreement is reached, Smith recommended the board consider using the remaining acres for a potential solar power grid location. Selectmen did not set a time for the executive session.
In other action, selectmen voted unanimously to appoint Stein Erikson as a new budget committee member. Erikson works for Fidelity Investments and manages the firm’s technology brokerage system. “I’ve worked with budgets for a long time and run my own department. So I’m accustomed to negotiations and working with major suppliers and vendors,” Erikson said. As a new member, Erikson’s first budget committee meeting will be on Jan. 25 discussing the planning board budget requests. Last week, the committee met with Boothbay Region Refuse Disposal District Manager Steve Lewis and Trustee Curt Crosby. Budget Committee Chairman Jack Brennan reported the district’s budget would be finalized later this week. “The final cost of a new grinder and Fiberight’s start-up date play an important role in the budget,” he said.
Smith expressed concerns about the district’s arrangement with Fiberight. He recounted accounts from a daily newspaper article. “If the sale goes through, the new owner would assume the previous owner’s debt. The property is owned by a different party, and I’m afraid our taxpayers would become responsible for the debt,” Smith said. “I think we need to keep an eye on this.”
Selectmen also received a Maine Municipal Association letter on Gov. Janet Mills’ Fiscal Year 22 proposed budget. In the letter, Legislative Advocate Kate Dufour wrote that a preliminary review of Mills’ proposal showed a $45 million increase for state kindergarten through grade 12 education. The subsidy increase would move state contribution to public education to 51.8%, according to Dufour. The proposal retains the $25,000 homestead exemption and the state would reimburse municipalities with 70% of the lost revenue. The state would also distribute 3.75% state sales tax revenue in both years of the next biennium. Dufour also wrote the state revenue distribution forecast would increase from $138 million in FY 22 to $149 million in FY 23. “It will be interesting to see if the state can follow through on their hopes and aspirations. We can keep an eye on that during our budget process,” Smith said.
Selectman Dawn Murray is working on creating a harbor master job description. She has met with Harbor Master Corning Townsend and researched how other municipalities define the job. “It varies by town. Some are part-tine and some are more of a full-time job. Corning told me the state has a definition so I’m looking at that and should have something for the next meeting,” she said.
Fire Chief Roy Potter reported all but two of the department’s “licensed” people had received COVID-19 vaccinations and he’s waiting to hear when firefighters will receive shots. Also, the department’s auxiliary has acquired a 2014 Chevy Tahoe as a replacement for the command vehicle. “They received an anonymous donation to purchase the vehicle,” Potter said.
Selectmen meet next at 6 p.m. Monday, Jan. 25 via Zoom conference.