VASSALBORO — Selectmen refused Tuesday to give Road Commissioner Eugene Field the town-paid family health insurance coverage he believes he is entitled to.

Field said the 1992 personnel policy, never officially repealed, says that anyone hired before 1990, as he was, is entitled to a family policy funded by the town whenever he chooses to ask for it. He gave up town coverage in 2002 with the expectation he could pick it up again for himself and his family if he needed to, he said. His wife is no longer employed, and he needs the coverage.

Selectmen’s reply was that despite the policy, the town has paid for health insurance only for employees for many years and costs are much higher today than they were in 1982. They and Field agreed that a single policy costs the town about $10,000 a year; a family policy would cost about twice that. An employee may add coverage for family members at his or her own expense.

“How do you give it to one person and not the others?” Chairman Philip Haines asked.

Haines told Field that if he had stayed on the town policy after 2002, he would no longer have a town-paid family policy, any more than any other employee does.

Haines expressed regret that the board could not meet Field’s expectation, and expressed the hope that his wife would soon find another job. Meanwhile, he urged Field to take advantage of the provision in the town’s policy allowing him to enroll within a specified time after losing other coverage.

In other matters:

* Field told selectmen the new truck the town ordered has been repeatedly delayed, but is expected in another week. It will still need to go to Howard P. Fairfield for final equipment, Haines said.

* The board approved the recommendation from the Cemetery Committee that the price of a plot in any of the town’s 26 cemeteries be raised from $150 to $250, effective Jan. 1.

Cemetery Committee Chairman Richard Kelly said some of the older ones are in urgent need of upkeep. Committee members intend to seek grants and solicit gifts to supplement the annual cemetery budget so they can catch up on overdue work, including removing trees and repairing gravestones and fences.

* After a short public hearing, auto graveyard or hobbyist permits were renewed for Ron’s Auto Parts, 510 Main St.; Garnett Motors, 1616 North Belfast Ave.; Bondo’s, 471 Taber Hill Road; Freddie’s, 163 South Stanley Hill Road; Autowerke AT, Ritch Road; Antiques of Maine, 148 Priest Hill Road; Weeks Mills Garage, 1499 Riverside Dr.; and Keith Lemieux, 79 Priest Hill Road.

* Town Manager Mary Sabins said the state Department of Environmental Protection has approved a grant for a brownfields assessment of the former Carl’s Quick Stop in North Vassalboro.

She expects the assessment to be conducted soon, as a report to the state is due by Dec. 13.

The state’s brownfields program is aimed at removing contaminants that pose obstacles to the reuse of a property.

Selectmen previously waived their right to take the North Vassalboro property for unpaid taxes, unwilling to burden the town with the potential cost of removing underground fuel tanks.

* The board unanimously approved the new personnel policy.


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