ANDOVER — Selectmen will soon be speaking with Andover School Department officials to clarify monthly bill payments for the school and joint fuel purchases with the town.

At Tuesday night’s meeting, Chairman Jim Adler said he attended a three-hour meeting with school officials Friday and learned that the town is to send checks to the school’s financial administrator by the 20th of each month.

The school board has subcontracted all of the school’s financial matters, such as payroll and accounts receivable, to SAD 51 in Cumberland. The board also hired Jack Turcotte as superintendent and he helped the board create the department’s first budget.

“Pretty much, take what we appropriate for the school and divide it by 12 and, each month, send them a check,” Adler said.

“I’m not sure we can actually do that,” Selectman Keith Farrington said. “I think we have to approve the actual items.”

“Well, they were pretty clear — both Cumberland and Jack — that our responsibility begins and ends with cutting checks,” Adler said.

Farrington stuck with his initial belief. “I think we’re only supposed to approve itemized bills,” he said. “If that’s true, then we can’t just do a ‘divide by 12’ each month.”

“Unless they flipped that entire meeting upside down, they were very clear,” Adler said. “They had the woman that runs the department, records and accounts payable. They said the School Department will send them an itemized bill, but all they need from the town of Andover is a check each month.”

Farrington said he would get clarification and report at the next meeting.

The board also discussed fuel bids that had been tabled from a previous meeting to see if the School Department wanted to buy fuel jointly with the town.

Selectmen secretary Hope Peterson said Turcotte told her last week that the School Department is planning to do so. She said Turcotte gave her very rough numbers for what the school would need.

Adler read the amounts aloud — 5,000 gallons of No. 2 heating oil and 14,000 gallons of diesel fuel.

“They plan on switching out their tanks because right now, they’re using K1,” Peterson said.

She also said Turcotte believes the School Department will be using the town’s diesel fuel tanks rather than installing their own. The school bus drivers would have to obtain keys to the fuel storage area, Peterson said.

Farrington said selectmen need to ensure they get input on this matter from Road Commissioner Mark Farrington.

“That’s his little world over there, but to me, it makes sense,” he said.

When Adler said the School Department was going to have new tanks installed for No. 2 heating oil, Keith Farrington asked if they would have to first obtain a permit from the Maine Department of Environmental Protection.

Peterson asked if she should redo the bid specifications to combine the needs of the town and the school and readvertise.

Adler answered affirmatively.

Peterson said she would redraft the needs and bring it before selectmen next week for review before readvertising it.

In other business, the board learned that someone other than abutter Justin Thacker is interested in buying the old East Andover Fire Station at 415 East Andover Road.

Keith Farrington said he told the person that town meeting voters in March 2016 must decide whether to sell the property.

Selectmen voted 2-0 to have Peterson send letters Wednesday morning to residents who haven’t yet paid their property taxes. She said she believes there are 22 delinquent taxpayers. 

Selectman Jane Rich was absent. 

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