Bridgton notes: Back to drawing board for Community Development director

Short notes from Tuesday’s Bridgton selectmen’s meeting:

Back to drawing board. The search for a Community Development Director continues.

After reviewing a good pool of candidates, Town Manager Robert Peabody and his interview team narrowed the search to two finalists. When the position was offered to the leading candidate, the town was unable to meet the individual’s salary request.

The budgeted salary is $60,600. Peabody said the fair market for a town of Bridgton’s size would be $60,000 to $65,000.

“The final two were very good candidates,” Peabody said. However, the town will re-advertise the position in the near future. “Sometimes, one and two are not interchangeable. We’ll toss our line out there again and see what happens.”

The town did land a new executive secretary — Jerusha Murray — who started her new job last Friday.

Also on the personnel front, Peabody gave high marks to student intern Asher Yusim, whose last day is Friday. He worked for the town for a 12-week period, May 29 to Aug. 17, as part of the Maine Government Summer Internship Program, earning $5,280 through a Community Development Cost Center.

“Asher proved to be a valuable team member and was an excellent fit for the scope of work described in our application,” Peabody said. “He enthusiastically engaged with key town officials to more precisely define what was needed and best to achieve desired objectives, often going far beyond our original scope of work.”

His main focus was to create a properties database to replace the current hard-copy filing system. The database uses newly-acquired geographic information system (GIS) to support to major town projects — streetscape improvements to Main Street and the major expansion of the town’s wastewater collection, treatment and disposal system.

A student at the University of Maine majoring in International Affairs, Yusim was also involved in creating a series of advertisements for local newspapers regarding the need and scope of the proposed wastewater project. He also was the “summer keeper” of the town’s Facebook page. Peabody noted that Yusim also assisted Code Enforcement Officer Rob Baker and administrative secretary Brenda Day in developing ways to fill in forms online.

“He was a great help!” Peabody said.

Hospital response. Before David Frum resigned as Bridgton Hospital’s president, he sent a correspondence to town officials indicating a willingness to attend a future meeting and talk about concerns regarding BH.

It appears, there will still be a future meeting. Central Maine Healthcare CEO Jeff Brickman has indicated a willingness to make a short presentation regarding what is transpiring at Bridgton Hospital and where it is headed. That meeting could be as soon as the next selectmen’s meeting set for Aug. 28. Local officials will seek formal confirmation as soon as possible.

Selectman Carmen Lone voiced appreciation for the quality and dedicated work turned in by BH staff, especially during this time of upheaval.

Taxes were due yesterday, Aug. 15.

Revision. The Planning Board will hold a public hearing on Wednesday, Aug. 29 at 6 p.m. in the selectmen’s meeting room regarding a Willis Brook Aquifer Ordinance revision.

Water testing. Highland Lake Beach was back in the news last Friday with a failed e.coliform test forcing closure of the beach to swimming for a second time.

Samples were tested Monday, and results showed the e.coliform count was “well below the acceptable limit.” The beach was immediately reopened for swimming.

Looking to be “proactive” regarding water quality, board chairman Lee Eastman said the town will be testing at all beaches weekly until Labor Day. Testing will be done on Wednesday, so that if there is a failed sampling, a retest can be done on Thursday. Two failed tests will result in beach closure to swimming. Postings will be made on the town’s website.

Because e.coliform levels can “go up and down day to day” and the town is unable to test the water every day, Peabody said a double-fail would be the standard for beach closure.

“It’s the best we can do,” he said. “Beachgoers have to be good citizens too.”

Milfoil testing help. Moose Pond Association president Mark Patterson inquired about seeking town assistance with milfoil testing costs. The association primarily operates on donations. Selectman Bear Zaidman asked the town manager to send the association a letter outlining how outside organizations can request funding during the budget process.

Reappointed. Selectmen reappointed Sharon Abbott to the Board of Appeals as a regular member. Her term was set to expire in September.

Tasting new brew. The Maine Brewers Guild puts out a trail map that shows the location of 100 craft beer producers. Peter Mortenson wants to be included.

Mortenson operates Drumming Grouse Brewery, LLC, at 318 Fosterville Road in South Bridgton. He requested a victualer license to open a “tasting room,” where visitors can sample or enjoy a pint of his latest brew. The room is 12 ft. by 24 ft., connected to the brewery.

“People are interested in talking with a brewer, seeing the brewery and trying some beer,” Mortenson said.

There is no permanent sign at Drumming Grouse Brewery, just a sandwich board indicating when the brewery is open.

Selectmen approved the request 5–0.

Parking on Main Hill. Hearing comments from various individuals, chairman Lee Eastman raised a couple of questions regarding parking in the Main Hill area from the length of time people can park there to whether additional spaces can be created.

Eastman pointed out that since some apartments are located along that stretch, renters or guests could leave vehicles parked along the roadway for extended periods.

While the town has an ordinance (approved in 2016) that limits parking along Main Street to two hours, there is no signage because officials noted it would be difficult to police and enforce it. However, some vehicles have been towed due to lengthy parking stays, Peabody and Public Works Director Jim Kidder noted.

Kidder said only one parking space was eliminated along that stretch — it was located near Roxy’s Hairport, since it was creating a hazard trying to leave that lot. Considering winter travel up the hill, the town purposely placed just two parking spaces at various points on that stretch to avoid parallel parking situations, Kidder pointed out.

Additional parking could be created at the site where a house — adjacent to the medical office owned by Dr. Dennis Sullivan — was torn down. That possibility will be looked at as the town works on its streetscape project, Peabody added.

Needing some cleaning? Does the soldier at the Main Hill monument need a shower? One veteran believes it is time for the town to give the monument a cleaning.

Kidder admitted it has been years since it has been cleaned. He also pointed out that if the town wishes to pursue a cleaning, it should be done by professionals because “we could cause more damage than good” if not addressed correctly.

— Wayne E. Rivet, Staff Writer

Please follow and like us: