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Union Selectboard discusses EMS budget

By Christine Simmonds | Jan 09, 2020
Photo by: Christine Simmonds Jesse Thompson, EMS director for Union, discuses the budget with the Selectboard.

Union — Union Selectboard held its bi-weekly meeting Jan. 7 in the William Pullen Meeting Room. The main topic was approving the budget for Emergency Medical Services presented by Jesse Thompson, EMS director.

Thompson presented two options, and explained that the budget increased for new equipment. Payment plans were available.

He said every EMS in Maine will soon need a medical director, though the state is not providing any money for this issue. The new budget included $10,000 for this position.

Town Manager Jay Feyler said they were currently trying to fight the mandate, as the state was not providing money for it, and, “we don’t like mandates.”

Adam Fuller asked for clarification about per diem changes in the budget. Thompson stated this was just, “a little bit of money moving,” and would help provide night coverage.

Fuller was concerned about passing costs of an increased budget to tax payers. Resident Catherine Meyer pointed out Union had an aging population and said “I’d rather have medical care,” than something else in the budget.

Thompson said on the subject of the budget, “I look really hard, and I try to sharpen the pencil as much as I can.”

Sarah Drickey moved to accept Option A, which was seconded. The budget committee motioned to accept as well.

In other news, Meyer presented Chairman Greg Grotton with a list of projects for town betterment. Grotton told Meyer to email him the list.

Meyer thanked Grotton for the benches at the Common, and Feyler for listing that hearing adaptive equipment is available for these meetings on the town website.

Terry Washburn, volunteer driver for Disabled American Veterans, spoke about snowy road conditions. Washburn said, “I can tell where I am from the condition of the roads,” and pointed out that Union roads through the winter are consistently the best of any local small towns.

Washburn said he would like to present Public Works with a letter and military coin for each person to tell them their hard work is appreciated.

Grotton remarked that Feyler deserved credit for the great condition of the roads in bad weather.

During the signing of the Treasurer’s Warrant, Shepard had a question about the inclusion of Sunny Bunny Easter Eggs. Feyler explained that these were the eggs the town ordered for the annual Easter Egg hunt, scheduled this year for April 12. The eggs must be ordered as early as possible because they are very popular and made to order.

Fuller said the yearly Easter Egg hunt was “legendary” among children, and is worth the purchase of special eggs as early as necessary.

Grotton remarked that Feyler works very hard on the hunt, and is up incredibly early to organize.

The board and public then discussed the minutes from the Nov. 19 meeting. Grotton stated that the minutes from that meeting are, “within the law.”

Meyer pointed out that minutes from previous meetings in 2019 were very detailed, and those from Nov. 19 were brief and, “minimal.”

Grotton told Meyer that since those meetings, the board had discussed the lengthy nature of their minutes and decided they should instead be a “very brief description” of the events. He also reminded her that a recording of that meeting was now available.

Later Grotton stated that Karen Poulin was also concerned about the minutes, and he wanted to make sure this was recognized by the board.

Washburn suggested that when a discussion is lengthy and involved like the one regarding sidewalks Nov. 19, the minutes should include more detail, and “hit the high points.”

There was a second reading of the Personnel Policy, including updates for clarity to the drug and alcohol policy, and corrected spelling and punctuation errors.

Feyler updated the board about improving Union’s website. He mentioned it was expensive, and he did not understand all of it, but he recognized that updating the website was important.

He shared that a security camera would be installed in the Public Works garage soon, and added he would like a burglar alarm. The money could come from other Public Works budget items, but Feyler wanted to ensure the board was in agreement.

For the Town Manager’s report, Feyler said there are still no doors on the Public Works building. The electricity is 75% finished. There is some sheet-rock up, and the doors are back-ordered. Seacoast Security will be arriving Saturday. The building is coming along, but “very slowly.”

Feyler then shared that drivers in Maine with a Commercial Driver’s License will soon have to register online with the national Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse. He said it was a lengthy process, but will ultimately make for safer roads.

More information about the requirements can be found at mmta.com/drug-alcohol-clearinghouse.

Fuller asked for an update on the Browns Lane property. Feyler reported that the realtor had not gotten back to him, but he expected to hear back by next week with a price for the property.

For the Selectmen’s report, Fuller stated that he spoke with animal control, and was very impressed with her. He said, “she was really good at her job,” and had found a missing dog in a matter of minutes.

Grotton shared that he would be sending out letters to all Union residents asking citizens to contact him to join a mailing list through a website or a phone call. He would be sending out a bi-monthly letter from the board to ask about upcoming issues. This way the public can tell Grotton their opinions on issues, and Grotton can, “get what the public would like to do.”

Grotton closed the meeting by thanking those in attendance. He reminded everyone that this was the “first meeting of the new year, and it has been incredible.”

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