Limestone will ask public to recommend after-school option

3 months ago

The need for an after-school recreation program topped discussion by the Limestone Select Board Wednesday.

It was the first meeting as interim town manager for Alan Mulherin, a former Select Board member who stepped into the position on Sept. 1. Alvin Lam, who had served as town manager since June, was promoted to special projects manager, a new volunteer position.

Limestone does not have a full-time recreation department director, and the town voted in June not to include money in the budget to hire one. The recent closure of Miss Jordyn’s Child Development Center, which served Caribou and surrounding towns, means some kids have nowhere to go after school. That’s why the town should offer something, said Select Board member Chris Durepo.

“The entire goal is to have something for the kids to keep them occupied and off the streets,” Durepo said.

The board discussed a prospective program that would last about an hour until school buses could take the children home. Limestone Community School would host the program for an hour four days a week, led by ed techs. 

The plan would cost the town $400 a week, or about $8,000 until the end of December, Durepo said.

An hour is not enough, Select Board member Irma Labreck said. By the time kids collect their materials and settle down, that leaves little time for them to do anything. 

The town would be better off to hire a recreation director rather than put money into a program that doesn’t give kids enough time and structure, she said. She pointed out a need for adult recreation programs as well, which a full-time director could address. 

The after-school proposal would at least offer something until the end of the year, when the town could revisit options, Durepo said. His motion to try the program failed.

“I’m for it for the kids, but we need to come up with something less than $100 an hour,” Select Board Chair Randy Brooker said. 

Parents and the recreation committee will have to offer input, he said.  

On Lam’s suggestion, town leaders decided to have the recreation committee members offer their opinions at the next Select Board meeting.

Leaders also discussed the possibility of selling the Trafton Lake campground, which is losing money. 

This season the site has taken in $12,000 and spent $26,000, so it’s cost the town $14,000, Mulherin said. He suggested commercial campground businesses like Jellystone or KOA as possible operators.

There aren’t many people using it, but it could be successful if it had someone to run it, Brooker said. He favored selling it to a private entity.

The board agreed to ask for public input at the next meeting on uses for the Trafton campground.

Town clerks have trained on TRIO municipal government software, but errors in records turned out to be the software’s fault, Lam said.  

The town should seek another system, Mulherin said.

“TRIO has proven itself over the years to be not a great system,” he said. “The system is so unreliable, we’re still using cards for our tax system.”

He and Lam will look at other software options and report findings to the board.

Regarding town tax payments, a recent 30-day demand letter has resulted in the town receiving about 30 percent of outstanding taxes, Mulherin said.

In July and August, the town received $10,619 owed for 2020 taxes, $31,180 for 2021, $106,023 for 2021 and $123,198 for 2023, Lam said in his manager’s report.

The board also voted to start charging $5 per transaction for notary public services, with the money going into a town revenue account.

Limestone is the only town that does not charge for these services, Lam said.