LINCOLNVILLE — Following a public hearing, the Select Board adopted a remote and hybrid meeting policy March 14.

The policy allows for members of the board to attend a meeting remotely if they are sick or unable to attend in person for reasons laid out in state law. Ordinarily, even if one or more members are attending a meeting remotely, at least one member of the board must be present in person at the Town Office. In certain circumstances, such as extreme weather or a public health crisis, the board chair or vice chair, in consultation with the town administrator, can determine that an emergency exists and call a fully remote meeting. Such meetings must be publicized as much ahead of the meeting as possible.

In order to implement the policy, which will also allow members of the public to not only watch but participate in meetings remotely, the board also approved the purchase of an Owl Cam Pro and an Apple Macbook Air, for a total cost of $2,000. Board member Josh Gerritsen will work with town staff to get the equipment installed

If a town board or committee chooses to adopt a remote meeting policy, it must first hold a public hearing and then vote to adopt a policy at least as restrictive as the one adopted by the Select Board.

During the public hearing, resident Rosey Gerry asked for an explanation of the policy. Board member Jordan Barnett-Parker said the board was not going to stop meeting in person, but making it possible for the public to participate electronically.

Gerry asked whether the board would continue to meet in person unless there is an emergency, and Barnett-Parker replied that except in case of emergency, state law forbids the board from holding a fully remote meeting. Gerry also wanted to know if the town would pay someone to run the camera for remote participation, and Gerritsen explained that he would train the chairs of any other committees that adopt a remote and hybrid meeting policy, so that no town staff time would be used.

Town Administrator Dave Kinney reported to the board about a workshop he attended on the final rules for use of American Rescue Plan Act funds. He said the final rules are much more flexible than earlier versions and the federal government has implemented a standard deduction for revenue lost to the pandemic that municipalities can use. The deduction is up to $10 million, or the total amount of ARPA funds received by the municipality, whichever is smaller.

Kinney also noted that the portal for towns to report how they have used the money is open and any funds spent during the first year, which ends March 31, must be reported by the end of April. Since Lincolnville has not yet used any of its federally appropriated funds, he recommended waiting until after the end of the month to do so.

The board also approved a phased reopening plan for the Town Office. The plan will make masks optional in the office for town staff starting March 21.

In other business, the board approved the sale, for $90,000, of a 0.24-acre parcel of town-owned land with buildings on it at 21 Rosenberg Road to the Patricia Anderson Revocable Trust of 2008. Kinney described the buildings as an old camp and some storage buildings, some of which are in disrepair. The land is next to Levenseiler Pond.

Separately, Kinney told The Republican Journal March 14 that nomination papers for the three-year seat on the Select Board to be filled in June have been taken out by Jordan Barnett-Parker, who currently holds the seat, and Stephen Hand. Barnett-Parker has returned his papers to the Town Office. No one has taken out papers for the three-year seat on the Lincolnville Central School board, the three-year seat on the Five Town CSD schhol board, or the five seats on the Budget Committee, which include three, three-year seats, one for two years and one for one year. Papers are due back to the Town Office by April 15.

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