Casco selectmen meeting briefs

By Dawn De Busk

Staff Writer

CASCO — “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” is an old adage that basically says if something is working well the best bet is to keep it the same.

The Casco Board of Selectmen decided to stick with the same chairman and vice-chairman. During its first meeting in August, the board elected Holly Hancock as the chairman and Mary Fernandes as the vice-chairman — the positions those two women had previously held.

Their male counterparts on the board indicated that they had no interest in serving in the role of chair or vice-chair.

A motion was made to nominate Hancock and Fernandes.

“Some things never change,” Fernandes quipped following the vote.

In the realm of town ordinances, an ordinance defining a kennel faces possible changes.

A kennel is currently defined as more than two dogs. A kennel is not an allowed use in the Village District.

A recent animal ordinance violation in the Village District led to the discovery that the definition of kennel was problematic because it could apply to many people who own multiple pets.

“It became obvious there was an issue with the ordinance. The problem at Meadow Road highlighted some problems in our ordinance,” according to Casco Town Manager Dave Morton.

The Casco Planning Board will join the selectmen during their meeting on Aug. 28 “to discuss that [ordinance] and make changes as appropriate,” Morton said.

Improvements are on the horizon for the Memorial School Ballfield. A playground will be installed and paid for with grant money.

The first bit of news will please local children, while the fact that the cost is covered by a grant will please their tax-paying parents.

The selectmen accepted the bid of Maine Recreation & Design, out of Brunswick,

According to Morton, “This is the second time the project went out to bid. We did some bids for wooden playground equipment. But, this is a Maine Forestry recreation grant, they don’t like that equipment.”

The Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry administers grants related to recreation; that is the type of grant the Town of Casco received.

According to Morton, the town put the playground equipment purchase and installation back out to bid.

“There was about $17,000 difference between” the bids from round two, he said.

“We had the state review the specs for the bids. They were happy with the low bidder,” Morton said.

There was an eight-week delivery schedule, which means it should arrive sometime in early October.

In unrelated news, the board decided not to carry forward $21,000 in an account set aside for demolishing dangerous buildings, and instead transferred half of the money to the building maintenance account.

“The carry forward of dangerous buildings is $21,000. We can always go back to a special town meeting if we have a problem come up. We have carried it forward from a couple years ago,” Morton said.

Selectman Thomas Peaslee asked about the history of the fund and the need for it. Later, Peaslee recommended leaving $10,000 in the fund — just in case.

Morton answered that in the past five years, five dangerous buildings have been removed and disposed of. Some of those were on the town’s dime and a few were sold on the condition that the new owner would be responsible for the removal, Morton said.

Vice-chair Fernandes said the move toward removing vacant buildings that presented a public safety issue started about five years ago. Public safety was a concern but also the unsightliness of a burned building with a roof falling in. That was the case of a very visible home off Route 11; the owner could not afford to remove the structure after a fire occurred.

“When I first became chair, there was a concern about blight and getting rid of that,” Ferandes said.

“I wouldn’t mind seeing it [the money] moved to building maintenance,” she said.

Morton said it was up to the board to decide what should be carried forward and what funding should be re-allocated.

“I know of no pending dangerous buildings at this time. Next month, I could come back and say that is not the case. You folks know how that is,” Morton said.

Chairman Hancock said, “We are doing a better job of turning property over and not carrying it.”

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