VASSALBORO — Selectmen are pleased with Transfer Station Manager George Hamar’s plan to make the swap shed safer and more useful.

The swap area has been in operation for months, but late last year Hamar told selectmen that he might have to close it. People were leaving dirty and broken items, including broken glass and malfunctioning electrical equipment, making the program a potential hazard instead of a benefit.

Hamar presented a plan on Thursday for a smaller area, at which the transfer station staff would inspect donations and with strict limits on acceptable items.

The swap shed will no longer accept clothing, upholstered furniture or mattresses; anything broken; knives or other sharp objects; or television sets and other items for which a fee is usually charged. Hamar intends to put up signs listing unacceptable items.

He is considering limiting the number of visits, too. Previously, some people came repeatedly to see what was new or waited in their vehicles while other residents unloaded donations, and there were sometimes arguments over desirable items, Hamar said.

“I’d like it to be a safe and friendly place,” he said.

Hamar offers personalized service: when people are looking for a specific item, he will keep an eye out and notify the person if it comes in.

Board members handled several other business items at Thursday evening’s meeting:

* Town Manager Mary Sabins said there were no bids on a tax-acquired lot on Cushnoc Road. Board members agreed to offer it again after the snow is gone and potential buyers can inspect it.

* Selectmen learned it’s legal to renew the alewife/river herring harvesting contract for Seven Mile Stream without seeking bids. Selectmen unanimously agreed to contract with Ronald C. Weeks of Jefferson for another three years.

* With board member and Natanis Golf Course owner Robert Browne abstaining, the other two selectmen approved renewal of Natanis’ liquor license.

* All three selectmen approved Sabins’ recommended additions to the personnel handbook adopted last year.

* They voted unanimously to take no action on a request from School Committee member Frederick Denico concerning money in a town account that Denico contends belong to the school department.

Denico left with selectmen a packet containing an excerpt from state law and a copy of legal advice he received indicating that more than $29,000 in town coffers — since before Vassalboro joined Alternative Organizational Structure 92, which also serves Waterville and Winslow — should be transferred to the school unit.

A majority of the school board voted not to ask for the money, according to Denico and Philip Haines, chairman of the Board of Selectmen.

Haines said Superintendent Eric Haley, Finance Director Paula Pooler and Jim Rier of the state Department of Education are all satisfied to leave the money with the town.


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