VASSALBORO — Thursday was not a good night for Vassalboro selectmen.

First, residents of Coyote Ridge subdivision chided them for inaction on a road problem.

Then, Recreation Committee member Nicole Wasilewski questioned their decisions on committee membership and, with rising indignation, one board member’s handling of complaints.

Wasilewski’s original question was why selectmen had not appointed two people she recommended as Recreation Committee members.

Board Chairman Philip Haines told her they wanted to keep the committee small, and to appoint two other people for their expertise.

Wasilewski said she has no problem with the new appointees, and no problem with a larger committee. She and Tiffany Luczko want Luczko reappointed for her grant-writing skills.

During the discussion, Selectman Robert Browne told Wasilewski he had received 31 complaints about the recreation program, which he had not forwarded to her.

“I’m dumbfounded that there’ve been 31 complaints that I didn’t know about,” Wasilewski told him.

How, she asked rhetorically, was she supposed to make corrections when she didn’t hear about complaints?

After various side arguments, selectmen agreed to continue discussion of committee membership and communication between themselves and Wasilewski at their Sept. 1 meeting, if Wasilewski can be there, and on Sept. 15 if she cannot.

The Coyote Ridge issue has been ongoing for about four years, since the original developer of the subdivision off Riverside Drive failed to build the mile-long private road in the right place or to town standards.

A series of subdivision owners and court cases finds the town with a monetary judgment in its favor, resident Michael Farrell said, but without the cash.

Meanwhile, he said, owners of expensive homes struggle with foot-deep potholes and finding a contractor willing to plow and sand, and owners of empty lots can’t get their homes built.

Selectmen replied that they cannot use town equipment on a private road, they cannot assume ownership of the road without town meeting approval, and the situation is not their fault.

“We all got lied to and you’re living with it,” Selectman Lauchlin Titus said.

Farrell disputed the town’s lack of responsibility.

According to town ordinances, he said, the road should have been inspected during construction to make sure it was built right, and the town should have obtained a bond or other financial guarantee from the developer to cover the cost of repairs if it wasn’t.

Farrell gave selectmen two pieces of information new to them, which they intend to check out.

He said the state Department of Environmental Protection holds a $425,000 line of credit from one of the subdivision owners to be used to pave the road; and he said the owners intend to stop paying taxes and let the town foreclose on the subdivision.

Town Manager Mary Sabins confirmed taxes are overdue for 2009 and 2010. However, she and selectmen said, no matter how long taxes remain in arrears, the town can refuse to foreclose and become the property owner.

The discussion ended with selectmen again assuring Farrell he will be kept informed of any developments.

Before Thursday’s meeting got lively, selectmen:

* awarded the bid for painting and related work at the Town Office to the low bidder, Rob’s Painting of Waterville, for $4,550 plus an unspecified additional amount for removing molding along the floor;

* awarded the bid for materials for the new recycling building at the transfer station to McCormack Building Supply of Winslow, low bidder on more than half the individual items, with the total price to be negotiated; and

* reviewed the town’s investments with two officials of First Advisors and authorized transferring to First Advisors the proceeds of a recently matured certificate of deposit.

Mary Grow is a correspondent who lives in China.


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