North Waterboro Maine

Home of Merrill's Store ! —————————————————————– North Waterboro – The right side of the tracks

June 11, 2016
by Waterboro
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Annual Town Report and Town Meeting

If you’re new to town and hoping for a rousing Annual Town Meeting, you are not going to get one. They are now dull, boring, and just a checkbox that needs to be done. Reading the Annual Town Report is a similar disappointment: The report is from LAST fiscal year, a year old glop of data, amounting to nothing.

Well, almost nothing. The third biggest account in town affairs is the Public Work Department.  Go to page 39 and you can read their annual report, or not. There are three pictures, nothing else. Why ? Well, the Public Works Director documents nothing, write nothing, no weekly list of roads worked on, no listing of projects being done. Nothing.

And , if you follow his department in the accounting part of the town report, it appears he does well, spending well within acceptable limits.

Follow the numbers, look at the other parts of the finances, and add up his TRUE cost to the town. Under the guidance of the Town Manager, he has managed to hide most of his department under other departments. And that was from a year ago, read the heading on the top of the Annual Town Report: July 1 2014 to June 30, 2015, LAST YEAR.

Go try to find out what he i working on this year, but don’t hold your breath. He simply is not accountable to anyone, except the Town Manager.  Truly a pair.

May 31, 2016
by Waterboro
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Waterboro is a nice little town

Everyone says that about their town. It’s a nice little town/city/burg/whatever.

I was asked to fill out a poll last week about my town, by one of the college classrooms that manages the website. It was the usual stuff, how big, population, wiki stuff. But the  question that made me stop a bit was the one that asked for a number from 1 to 10. That took a while.

Waterboro is a 4. Not bad , not good, not anything really, just a 4. I looked a town participation, about a 2. We have little groups that do well, the Cemetery Committee comes to mind, dedicated folks. Recreation in town, maybe a 3. Yeah, yeah, I know this is a big recreation town! Everyone says so.  SO how come everyone I know, the natives, head North for vacations, snowmobiling, hiking, swimming,etc? Well, because there is very little of that in town. Yep, the Summer folks come here and enjoy Little Ossipee. But unless you have a boat to throw into the boat  launch,  or friends/family that own property on the water, there is nothing. Ossipee Pines? Really, been out there lately. Seen the crowds? The folks that think we are a recreation area are from away, Summer folks. They think this is Maine !

How about hiking? Ossipee Mountain is even on the town seal, the famous fire tower. Been there recently? The road is fine for 4 wheel, maybe, the ATV traffic is constant, the view is long gone with the tree growth, and the fire tower should be condemned. You let your kids go up there? Call DHSS.  Hiking Trails? Oh yeah, and try and find them, no signs, nothing cleared for two years, and they go nowhere, no view, no picnic area, nothing.

What’s left ? Library? Nice place, small, basically unused for a town of 8000. Support? Not much, although the home school crowd makes it their headquarters.

Churches? Yes indeed, many all around town. And each with its own crowd and activities. Not much tying the town together there.

Places to eat? One doing quite well, a Sports Bar. And there are lots of pickmeup trucks there. The rest, Mom and Pop pizza, fried food. Facilities? Porta potties out back. Welcome to Waterboro. Except for Merrill’s. They actually have a bathroom inside.

School system? I have yet to meet someone that moved to Waterboro for the school system. Besides, kids don’t graduate from Waterboro, they graduate from Massabessic. Nothing tying the town together there, is there.

The only area in town that organizes is Lake Arrowhead Estates, and they aren’t even proud enough of the place to put up signs! But they they do a better job of getting it together than the Waterboro Townhall.

We have no downtown, no center, nothing that says Waterboro is here. We are a 4. We don’t try to be average or higher, because that costs money. But we want business to come here. Notice the signs as you enter town? They say “Welcome Waterboro” Not Welcome to Waterboro. Just welcome Waterboro, now please pass on through. We are a nice little town. But we are a 4.

Five Selectmen, a Town Manager, and no one will answer this .  A four, but a solid four, don’t you think!

 

May 31, 2016
by Waterboro
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History? We have no history except what

History? We have no history except what is in the Public Works Directors head.

An example ? Easy, the expansion at Woody’s in the southern end of town.  Cory made a reasonable presentation to the Planning Board about what he plans to do, the building changes, the parking and  exit/entrance changes. Pretty cut and dried, looking out for his expansion, and the well being of his Ricker Lane neighbors.

In steps the Public Works Director, and he knows all about roads, and traffic, right ?

A few years ago, when Bob Fay was still alive, he pushed through RIcker Lane as a town road.  And the then Road Commissioner, Doug Foglio, stood up and proclaimed this a bad idea, terrible road, not up to town specs, no drainage, no ditching, people without easements, no turn around at the end for HIS plowing company. And nothing was ever done.

Suddenly this year, with Bob Fay long gone, and nothing written in the town books to go to for history, Doug thinks RIcker Lane is now fine.

You have to understand, the Waterboro Road Commissioners has , by tradition, never written anything down. There are almost no written road records. Call townhall and ask what the road crews worked on last week, last month, last year: The answer will be “ask Doug”. Plus we have a Planning Board that has no history in town, well except for one.  So it is going to boil down to the old Waterboro saying, “Doug says”.  Which is usually followed by chuckles and then someone always says, “But, he does a lot for the town!”.   Followed by more chuckles.

Cory, you may fight on, but chances are the Public Works Director will exercise his “memory”, and tell you why Ricker Lane is the way to go for his exit. Usually followed by some story about the ’47 fire. Which happened when he was three !  He is a piece of work.

 

May 3, 2016
by Waterboro
1 Comment

Bid System Bypassing in Waterboro

The website received a couple of emails from the Waterboro Town Manager.  Always interesting to hear from TownHall. Especially when they waffle ! The bottom line, Gary, is that the bid system keeps us all honest. It is public knowledge. AND the final result lets people know who is doing what, when they have to do it, and HOW MUCH IT COSTS.

When all is said and done, Gary, we do not know how much we have saved, because there was no bid, there is no accounting, the bottom line is lost. Using Town Employees , renting equipment, even from the Public Works Director ,is all well and good, but if he wanted to show us how cheaply he could do it, and save the town money, then he should have put in a bid.  The end result now, is simply  the Public Works Director telling us he saved us money.  You may be new enough to town to accept that, Gary, but most people in town when you use the phrase “Doug says” just chuckle.

First Email

To correct the record, the earth moving at the transfer station is not being done with equipment owned by Foglio Incorporated.  We are renting both the large excavator and extra large dump truck….for 160 hours on each machine.  We have CDL driver Nate on DPW staff and he drives the dump truck.  Tommy operates the excavator.  Together we have moved thousands of yards of material in the way of the salt shed foundation and building.  We also dug the foundation hole…which is essentially ready for footing forms now.   Rental fees may be in the $20-30K range….but it would have cost more if we had hired this work out.

Second Email

Now that I think more on it….you may be partially correct in some equipment there being owned by Foglio.  There was a dozer and perhaps loader needed this past 7-10 days to move some material and smooth out the site.   But please remember that selectmen years ago (long before I arrived here) removed the need to go out to bid every time we needed to rent a piece of equipment.   There is a price list that creates a set hourly price for what we pay per hour or day per type of equipment…no matter who the owner is.  That was a good policy to set that saves me time and money.  So if your complaint that there is Foglio equipment there when others did not have the chance to bid on supplying it…you do have a point.  However, the cost to the taxpayer would be the same because we pay all vendors the same when we rent equipment and operator locally.

I did not want to buy a dump truck…but when I discovered we were paying around $65,000 per year on dump truck rentals ($600 per day with driver)…I knew we could save some money by owning one.  We are going to buy it in the next couple of months so we have it for summer ditching/ road work and laying up some of the winter sand this fall.  We will not eliminate renting trucks entirely…but we ought to save at least the principal and interest during year one…and hopefully more.

April 15, 2016
by Waterboro
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Do as I say, not as I do

So, we have a building and people in town, at the end of a 600 ft road, construction equipment, trucks. And there is no road sign on the road, no communication at the end.  And now major development, more chances that someone might need an EMT or ambulance.

Where is this place? Why, it is the Public Works Department, out near the dump. Where they are building tthe new $700,000 salt shed, where they store the salt and sand, where they have major traffic and town employees working night and day.  And we no longer dispatch out of a local business that “knows” where the dumpis, knows where the salt shed is located.

 

Why is there no street sign?  The Public Works Director s hoping it will be named after him. So he is holding off.  Do I know this for a fact? Nope, but when it is the local laugh in town, and I hear it twice, I suspect it is true.

Hey, he does a lot for the town, don’t you know.

April 14, 2016
by Waterboro
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How to Bypassing the bid system

If you visit the dump, you’ll notice the equipment moving dirt, taking down hills, doing the extensivge ground work for the new $700,000 salt shed. If you check with townhall they can tell you who got the “bid” for the new building,. down to the penny. Ask who got the bid for the groundwork though, and you will get blank stares. Why? Because the “guy that does a lot for the town.”, better known as the Public Works Director, is doing the work with town employees, to save us money. Not doing Spring road work, which is sorely needed.  And all the equipment being used, is NOT town equipment. It is owned by the Public Works Director.  Cost to the town? Unknown, since there is No Bid, No Work records,  nothing in writing. How much is he saving the town? Hard to tell without a bid system.  But, as everyone knows, “He does a lot for the town”.

March 22, 2016
by Waterboro
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The Waterboro Area

We invent village zones, talk about bringing in business,  have plans for new commercial design standards. What we do not have is a Town of Waterboro. We have an area known a the Waterboro Area. But no real town. There is no downtown to develop. We would first have to make a downtown. Somewhere !

And lots of smaller towns in Maine have similar problems.  90%  of the working stiffs in the Waterboro Area get up in the morning and drive to work, in Maine cities and towns.  More and more when you ask someone where they are from the answer is ” The Waterboro Area.”  Unless you are a real estate agents, and then the answer is the “Waterboro Area”, but NOT Lake Arrowhead!

We have clutches of churches, Mom and Pop stores, developed clusters, a water tower, a townhall, a Transfer Station, even a fire department.  But they are spread out  around the Waterboro Area.  Coffee drinkers meet at Mom and Pops, Dunkin Donuts, Aroma Joe’s, Waterways. Lakeside. But, once again these are spread out over the Waterboro Area.

We need business to come into town, into the Waterboro Area. Oh, but not in my end of town!  WE had a “golden Triangle” to develop  running from Rt 5, down Alfred Road, and back along Rt 202. Filled with now two schools, a Town Owned  Park, and now being filled with storage units, a dance studio,  Friendship Park that is so valuable the Town Fathers wouldn’t even kick up enough money to help finance sidewalks.

The Waterboro Area: we can’t even support a local newspaper. Ours used to be called the Waterboro Reporter. Now it covers the Waterboro Area.  Count the ads in that paper plus the Shoppers Guide, and you’ll discover the majority of them are from the Waterboro Area, ie York County.

And last , but not least, ask kids where they are from a few years after they graduate high school. The answer is generally Massabesic, not Waterboro.

It is a nice area. It just isn’t a town anymore.

 

March 16, 2016
by Waterboro
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The Latest Waterboro Boondoogle

Here we go again, the Public Works Director, and the Town Manager, are pushing through the new$700,000 plus Salt shed. They managed bids , supposedly, on the building construction. But neglected to put out bids for all the land work to get the place ready to build. Why? Oh, they town will do that and save money.

Problem: The town does not have the equipment to do all the ground work. The equipment will come from —tada – the local company owned by the Public Works Director. At least that is the rumor in town. They bypass the bid system. Why? Because they can.   Will it be cheaper doing it this way? Who knows without a bid system in place, eh ?

They make end runs around everything these days, and you know, few people care anymore.

December 5, 2014
by Waterboro
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Wright Chocolate House – Limerick

I make excuses to drive to Limerick to visit this place. Often. Friendly, easy to find, and worth the trip. If you don’t like chocolate, drive someone who does !  Course, I always leave with some of the homemade Caramels. Locally made, local ingredients, and a chocolate craft shop worth the trip.

link in the list on right

December 5, 2014
by Waterboro
0 comments

Gneiss Beer in Limerick Maine

Always seems just right to visit a local craft beer, especially when it is in the neighboring town !

It’s small, friendly and a neat local place to visit. Not intimidating like many of the larger craft

micro brews might be. I was early and got to spend a few minutes talking. And I left with a growler. They had five different

brews in the making and/or on tap. They have many places in Portland that carry their beer, and I believe Woody’s in Waterboro

also does.  The usual tee shirts, and glasses, should you develop a likeness for them ! I might, but looks like it will take a few moe visits

to be sure.

Link is on the Links List.  Worth the visit.

Frank