Waldoboro plans to enter negotiations with Volunteers of America with the goal to sign a letter of intent for the national nonprofit to redevelop A.D. Gray School as senior housing.
The Waldoboro Board of Selectmen approved the recommendation from the A.D. Gray Committee on Tuesday, July 28.
Volunteers of America is a 501(c)(3) organization that provides affordable housing, assistance for people with disabilities, assistance with basic needs, behavioral and mental services, and programs for children and families, with 33 affiliates around the country serving more than 1 million people annually, according to its website.
Selectman and A.D. Gray Committee member Robert Butler said he and Max Johnstone, a planning consultant to the town, visited a Volunteers of America facility in Thomaston that provides affordable housing for seniors.
Butler said the site visit led to his support of the committee’s recommendation.
The committee also recommended the formation of a subcommittee to prepare a request for proposals for the parcels of the A.D. Gray property not including the school building. The request for proposals would go to voters in November.
The selectmen approved that recommendation too.
Butler said the committee met July 21 and decided to make the recommendations in order to receive guidance before its next meeting, Tuesday, Aug. 4.
Town Manager Julie Keizer said she wants the discussion of a request for proposals to include the town’s recreation committee, because one of the parcels contains a ballfield.
Butler said recreation committee members could attend the upcoming A.D. Gray Committee meeting.
Volunteers of America presented its $6.2 million idea to turn A.D. Gray into senior housing to the Waldoboro Planning Board on July 15. The project is in an “evaluation” stage, according to organization officials.
The proposal would convert the long-vacant middle school into 32 units of affordable senior housing.
The town has received a separate proposal from Portland developer Tim Wells to redevelop the former school into 20-27 housing units, with additional development on the property depending on demand.
Election of officers
The board unanimously voted to elect Abden Simmons chair and Jann Minzy vice chair.
The meeting was the first since the annual town meeting by referendum July 14, when Minzy won reelection and Jan Griesenbrock was elected in a four-way race.
Pay for poll workers
The selectmen approved Keizer’s recommendation to raise the pay for poll workers from $12 to $16.66 per hour for the July and November elections. The poll workers will earn about $100 each, since they work six hours.
Keizer cited the difficulty of finding ballot clerks during a pandemic and the amount of work necessary for the elections as the reasons for her recommendation.
“Although it was a tremendous amount of work, it was so much fun to work with Max. He did an outstanding job and so did Peg (Tynan) and Tanya (Blodgett) and everyone from the public who helped out. Everyone had a role and they played it so well,” Keizer said of the July 14 town meeting and state primary and referendum.
Keizer said the town has saved about $11,500 because she and other employees have filled in at town clerk after the resignation of Jodee Kelly.
“We have the money and I would like to use some of it to give them more money,” Keizer said of poll workers.
Butler asked if the pay would return to $12 per hour in 2021.
Keizer said she would like to discuss the matter further when the board of selectmen meets with the budget committee in February 2021.
“I know it is not in the budget, but I think we should do it for this past election and November,” Keizer said.