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It's official!

George named Town Manager

By Christine Simmonds | Jan 14, 2020
Photo by: Christine Simmonds Peter Lammert speaks about Kara George as she is named Town Manager

Thomaston — Thomaston Select Board met Monday, Jan. 13 at Watts Hall. The main order of business was the appointment of Kara George as Town Manager with a three-year contract.

George has been Interim Town Manager since September 2019. Her predecessor, Valmore Blastow Jr., suddenly resigned in May 2019. Blastow had been town manager since 1993.

Board member Peter Lammert remarked that he, “can’t say enough” about how often George is ahead of him on matters.

Many of George’s family were present, and joined her as she gave a short speech. George spoke about community and town government, and her hopes for moving forward.

In other business, Pollution Control Superintendent John Fancy presented the Thomaston Solar Power Report. Fancy spoke about the installation of, “between thirteen hundred and fourteen hundred,” solar panels at the pollution control facility.

The goal behind this installation is to, “provide most of the electricity that is used in the municipal government” in Thomaston. Average electricity usage by the town government is $154,000 a year.

Solar panels would give the town dollar credits with CMP, and save an estimated $122,000 a year.

The project is estimated to cost $1.1 million dollars. Fancy stated that even with paying back, “$122,500 a year,” the savings would still be between $50,000 to $60,000 a year.

The town will also be installing LED street lights, which will reduce electricity usage, “considerably.” The current street lights are sodium bulbs. The town already owns the LED bulbs. They should be installed in Spring 2020.

Fancy reported he had already filed a level two permit with CMP to move forward with the solar panels, and would continue with next steps unless the board told him not to. The board voted in favor.

The board renewed the 2020 contract of Septic Waste Disposal Facility Agreement through Interstate Septic Systems.

They authorized George to sign and submit the application to the Maine Municipal Bond Bank for $1.1 million for the financing of the new municipal building.

Fancy presented a letter to accept a grant from Efficiency Maine to install and operate an electric vehicle charging station next to Watts Street. Board member Diane Giese filed the initial application. The board authorized George to sign it.

“The idea is to encourage people to buy an electric car,” Fancy stated.

Code Enforcement Officer Bill Wasson shared that Dunkin Donuts in Thomaston was also planning to install a Tesla charging station as part of a partnership between the corporations.

The board accepted the resignations of Sandi Jordan from Village Cemetery Board of Trustees and Sumner Kinney from the Budget Committee.

Bill Hahn explained the proposal for schematic design services for the Watts Block Building renovations by architect John Hansen. Hansen will do a walk-through and a code review, as well as suggest how to make the building usable. The board accepted the proposal.

Hahn also led the discussion of the heat system at the new Thomaston Municipal Building. He suggested the board proceed with a heat pump. The motion passed.

It was decided the Town Office would close Feb. 3 to 7 to move the municipal offices to the new building. “The police department will still be active,” said Lammert.

Daryl Hahn and Peggy McCrea gave a Comprehensive Plan Committee update. The committee has finished a second draft of the plan, and will have the final copy ready for the June town meeting.

George shared that Maine Department of Transportation will be paving Route 131 during the summer. They hope to use High Street in front of Montpelier to redirect traffic. Lammert expressed concern about larger vehicles making the turns. It was decided the board would send a letter of concern to the MDOT regarding the safety of this plan.

The board approved the minutes of the Dec. 18 meeting and approved the warrants.

George reviewed the Town Manager’s Report. She hopes to have the Annual Report completed early this year.

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Comments (2)
Posted by: Valli Genevieve Geiger | Jan 14, 2020 17:40

Congratulations Kara!! I look forward to a close partnership between Rockland and Thomaston. All the best to you!!

Valli Geiger

Posted by: Jay Feyler | Jan 14, 2020 14:42

Congratulations Kara, looking forward to working with you in the Mid-Coast.

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