Selectmen’s Meeting Notes

July 19, 2017 meeting


Called to Order: 6:00 pm

Present: Selectmen Abbott and Baston; Selectmen Spinney by phone. Members of the public Ed Pentaleri, Ralph Hilton, Jim Kipfer, Carrie Kipfer, Chris Cooper, Meredith Tisbert, Judith Fossel, Paul Crandall. Press  Susan Johns, Remy Segovia. Town Clerk Liz Brown.

Public Comment:

Ed Pentaleri looked into allowing citizens to pay various bills using credit cards and said it doesn’t make sense to set it up through the website.  He said both PayPal and Squarespace give the ability to take payments.  The town would need to add 2.5% if someone wants to pay with a credit card to cover the transaction fee.  There is little to no cost for set up.  You have to pay for the card reader.  It would give people more flexibility in how they pay.

Carrie Kipfer commented that they had just finished setting up payments through inforME at the court house and it is all web-based.

The Town Clerk is going to check this out as we already use another area of inforME.

New Business:

Head Tide Hill Road sign

Paul Crandall was in to see about the sign for Head Tide Hill Road that got hit.   Selectman Spinney has the sign and David will talk to Jeff about getting it put back up.

Ben Brook Culvert

Selectman Abbott went out to check this out as the picture he was given on the report showed problems but he found out that Hanley has redone the whole thing since it was last inspected.  Selectman Abbott emailed them that the town would keep an eye on it.

Old business:

Rabbit Path road damage repair

The road has been repaired.  Chris Cooper commented that they did not grind the ends.

Further discussion of residency requirements for school choice:

Selectman Baston, who was on vacation and missed the discussion of this subject at the last meeting, said he had looked at the court case provided by Ms. Fossel and was not convinced that it should impact our residency policy at all.

At this point a lively discussion took place between Ms. Fossel and all three selectmen, as well as various members of the public present. We do not feel that that it would serve any purpose to try to recreate that discussion here. It is enough to say that Ms. Fossel vigorously disputes the selectmen’s view. We stated that we are standing by our requirement that a full 12-month lease is required to qualify for residency for the town to a pay school choice subsidy. We fully realize that this may end in in court, but all the citizens who have spoken to us outside of these meetings support our position.

Ralph Hilton, as our resent RSU representative, offered the view that abuse of residency is an RSU-wide issue, as all the RSU towns have 9-12 choice.

Chris Cooper presented many reasons why he thought that Alna should revisit choice and discuss applying it only to public schools.

The Selectmen unanimously reaffirmed their policy that a one-year lease is required as proof of intent to be a resident of Alna. We will defend that position, if necessary.

Update on cable extension

Selectman Baston said that the selectmen would be meeting with Tidewater at their offices in Nobleboro on Thursday, July 27 to sort out the possible options for expansion.

Carrie Kipfer said that Tidewater had told her the biggest expense is pole space rental few from other companies.


Selectman Baston explained what the architects were hired to do. Essentially it is to cost out repairing and slightly expanding the current town office versus building a new “purpose-built” town office in the field behind the current building. Doing nothing is not an option. We could lose insurance coverage on the current building.

Ed Pentaleri suggested that the comparison should also include the 10 – 20-year cost to maintain an older building, even if renovated.

Chris Cooper talked about cost assumptions, and said the original estimates by the architects were much too high.

Jim Kipfer said if the state gets involved with regulatory requirements you can open a can of worms that you can’t get out of it.

Selectman Baston said agreed and said it was an ADA nightmare. Selectman Abbott said that the insurance company wants the ramp fixed, as well as numerous other deficiencies.

Carrie Kipfer asked what the time frame was for a meeting letting the selectmen know what they had come up with.

Selectman Baston said his sense was that it would be 30-60 days and Selectman Abbott agreed.

Clarification was given to Remy Segovia who asked about school choice and private schools.  The clarification was “state approved” private schools.

Meeting adjourned:  7:06 p.m.

Our next meeting is Wednesday, August 2nd at 6:00. Please let Liz know 24 hours in advance if you want to be on the agenda. Also, we always have public comment periods at the beginning and end the meeting. Between meetings, if you have any questions, comments, or suggestions about any aspect of town business, email Liz and she will contact all of us, or feel free to contact any of us individually. Thanks.

David Abbott, 1st Selectman; Melissa Spinney, 2nd selectman; Doug Baston, 3rd Selectman