Thompson Community Center dominates Selectmen meeting

By Christine Simmonds | Dec 08, 2019
Photo by: Christine Simmonds Martha Johnston-Nash talks about the Thompson Community Center at the Union Selectmen meeting Dec. 4.

Union — The Union board of Selectmen met Dec. 4, rescheduled from Dec. 3 due to snow. The board discussed several items, but the Thompson Community Center was the main topic of discussion.

Martha Johnston-Nash spoke for the Committee for the Future of the Thompson Community Center. She reviewed the steps the committee had taken up to that point – a survey for Union residents to complete, and a community round-table discussion held in October about the future of the TCC. The results of the survey and the meeting are available in a 37-page document, and outlined in an Executive Summary available on the committee’s Facebook page.

Johnston-Nash reminded the board that the CFTCC had “tried to stay neutral,” and the community members who were at the October meeting and completed the survey had overwhelmingly wanted to keep the building.

The community and the committee did recognize that there were challenges in making any decision regarding the Thompson Community Center. However, they felt that facing these challenges and moving forward with the board of Selectmen was necessary.

The next steps the committee recommended was a meeting or a series of meetings with committee members and members of the board of Selectmen to decide from four options, including renegotiating the lease of the TCC.

Board chair Greg Grotton said that while he liked the ideas presented by Johnston-Nash and the committee, he and the board would like more time to review the four choices before committing to a meeting date. Johnston-Nash agreed to send the four options to Jay Feyler, Union Town Manager, and come back to the board with a January date to hold the meeting. Board member Adam Fuller agreed that January was best, as December is hard to schedule meetings around due to the holidays.

Both Grotton and Fuller took the time to thank Johnston-Nash for the work she and the committee has done so far, and will continue to do.

In other business, Catherine Meyer shared information with the board about the Americans with Disabilities Act, and why the use of microphones were an important part of compliance. The board and community members who spoke all utilized the available microphones during the meeting.

John Gibbons told the board two delivery trucks had been to his house on Dec. 3 and commented that while the roads were not great, the ones in Union were better than surrounding towns, and commended Public Works on a job well done.

The board discussed ways to reduce paper consumption at board meetings. While Feyler and Josh White said they like paper, board member Sarah Drickey said she “would like less paper” at these meetings. John Shepard agreed that he was also a paper person, but was “in favor of reducing paper” the board used. Fuller then made a motion to reduce paper at the board meetings by removing the extra printing of the minutes. This motion was seconded and passed.

After six months of trying to get a Union resident to comply with state housing codes, the board discussed moving forward with legal action. Feyler pointed out that state law makes it illegal to have three or more unregistered vehicles on a property without being a junkyard, and this individual currently has six. The resident in question came to the Town Office during the summer after the town received several complaints. At that time this person promised to rectify the code violations, but has not made the promised changes as of the board meeting. The board made a motion to authorize moving forward with legal action, and it was seconded and passed.

The board reviewed a new personnel policy, but decided to revise it and send it to employees before reviewing it again. Feyler told the board the new public works garage should be completed by January if all goes according to plan. The former public works garage burned down in April. Grotton discussed an ice skating rink he was planning to create and turn over to Union as a community betterment project.

The next Union board of Selectmen meeting will be Tuesday, Dec. 17, at 6:30 p.m. in the William Pullen Municipal Building Meeting Room, located downstairs of the Town Office. Board of Selectmen meetings are open to the public. If anyone has an item they wish to present to the Board, contact Town Manager Jay Feyler at 785-3658 or townmanager@union.maine.gov two weeks prior to the meeting in order to be placed on the agenda.

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