PRESENT: Chairman Hathaway, Councilor Cheney, Councilor Michaels, Councilor Friedman and Councilor Kelly, Staff--Town Manager B. Reed, CEO A. Thomas, Deputy Treasurer J. Reed, Assistant Clerk K. Gifford and member of the public Tracy Paul
ITEM 1. The November 5, 2001 Veazie Town Council was called to order at 7:00 PM.
ITEM 2. Consideration of minutes: Councilor Michaels requested that Item 6B of the October 22, 2001 minutes be amended to read that he requested spot checks on weights to insure accuracy. He suggested this be done by a disinterested party.
Motion: Councilor Michaels to accept October 22, 2001 minutes as amended. Seconded: Councilor Cheney, Vote 5-0 in favor
ITEM 3. Consideration of the Agenda: There were no additions made to the agenda.
ITEM 4a. Public Comments: Tracy Paul thanked the Council for the curb on the right side of Ridgeview Drive. Tracy Paul also had concerns with RPM Motors and Gagne Precast Concrete. Her complaint was that RPM Motors looked awful with all the cars parked on the grass and it shouldn t be a garage. She was concerned that property values have dropped. She had the same concern with Gagne Precast Concrete.
Chairman Hathaway voiced his concern with RPM Motors adding a driveway on Ridgeway Drive between the main building and garage so that even more cars would be parked there. Chairman Hathaway stated that the Council has a legitimate concern over a lot that is trying to fit more than it can accommodate.
CEO Thomas suggested putting a ditch and planting trees on the Town s property to shield the property from view. Councilor Michaels suggested possibly putting up a fence. Both CEO Thomas and Manager Reed pointed out that managing a fence could become a problem.
Councilor Friedman pointed out that when you come down Ridgeview Drive you can not make a safe right hand turn due to the fact that all those cars parked out front are blocking your view. Councilor Friedman stated that the owner of RPM Motors had assured the Council that he wouldn t have all those cars parked out front, but he hasn t kept his word. Councilor Friedman stated that RPM Motors has been given enough warnings and a more drastic action needs to be taken. Councilor Friedman suggested taking RPM Motors to court for violations of the land use ordinance.
Motion By: Councilor Friedman to authorize the Town Manager to execute a letter on the Town Council s behalf authorizing the Code Enforcement Officer to be able to use his 80K Powers to represent the Town on land use matters. Seconded: Councilor Cheney, Vote 5-0 in favor
Tracy Paul also addressed her concern with Gagne Precast Concrete parking numerous vehicles along side their driveway is detracting from the residential value of Ridgeview Drive.
Chairman Hathaway expressed that if Larkin wishes to pursue action it is up to them to do so. The Council s course of action is to mitigate the process between Gagne and Larkin.
CEO Thomas stated that Larkin is willing to sell the property to Fred Gagne. He also stated that Fred Gagne has put up a fence and has agreed to extend the fence if more houses are ever built and a tree buffer on his side of the line.
Chairman Hathaway stated that we need to deal in a manner that doesn t adversely affect the owner or the residents and invited Tracy Paul and the residents of Ridgeview Drive to come back to an informational meeting to discuss the RPM Motors and Gagne Precast Concrete issues. The public will be notified of a time to come back. Chairman Hathaway outlined that it is important and the Town needs to address these issues so the Council can perhaps develop ordinances that restrict or control this type of impact.
Councilor Michaels stated he would like to see if the property of RPM Motors could be bought. If the Town is going to have to put money in to this issue, if it s going to affect values, perhaps the Town should purchase it if it is for sale. Chairman Hathaway stated that such an action is out of range but it is worth looking into. Information concerning the owner, whether it is for sale and how much it would cost would have to be determined.
ITEM 4b. Treasurer s Update:
Deputy Treasurer Julie Reed was present at the Council meeting to update the Council on where the Town was as far as financial matters went. Deputy Treasurer Reed stated that the Town is now able to process checks through the computer instead of manually. However, the Town is waiting for ADS to come back and setup a few more things in the software.
Deputy Treasurer Reed also stated that a new chart of accounts with all new account numbers has been created and the departments will have to adjust to this. The new breakdown and groupings will enable the Council to view specific information such as how much social security has been paid out on all departments.
Deputy Treasurer Reed stated that where the software has two different companies, the school being one and the Town being the other, ADS needs to come and integrate them so reports and financial statements can be produced. One problem stemming from the two being separated is the school lunch account is coming out of the general fund even though it says it is the school lunch account.
Manager Reed stated that we are still working toward a unified system as far as servers and platforms go. The Town is still not in conclusion of what platform is going to work best, whether it be the NT, 2000, or XP platform. Manager Reed also stated that on the Town Clerk side the Town has started to move up to a windows package for TRIO.
ITEM 5a. Senior Housing update Penquis CAP:
Manager Reed stated that Penquis CAP has put the project out to bid and the bid will be opening next week. Manager Reed also stated that the 10% figure for yearly costs was not agreed upon, however, a capitated allocation of $500 a year was agreed upon with the intention of that every two years looking back on the cost and deciding whether it is appropriate.
Chairman Hathaway had questions on the Town s annual costs. It was clarified that it will cost the Town $1 a year to rent, $500 for heat, the cost of electricity, and costs for maintenance. However, it was unclear to the Council what the term maintenance entailed. The Council called for a clearer definition of maintenance from Penquis CAP.
Councilor Michaels had concerns over insurance for the facility. Manager Reed stated that Penquis CAP will have it s own insurance on the facility and when the Town makes use of the facility the Town will be covered by the Town s insurance. The Town s insurance works in such a way that when it makes use of a facility the Town is covered at that time of use. However, if the Town ever ceases to hold a blanket bond policy it would to insure that the facility is covered.
Chairman Hathaway asked for clarification on Item 6. He wanted to make sure the Town isn t going to actively pursue groups within the community to use the space in the new building. Chairman Hathaway pointed out that there are plenty of other meeting spaces available and hopes that the Town is going to focus on the seniors utilizing the space. Manager Reed stated that it would not be a problem, the approved ADA facility will be the Veazie Community School.
ITEM 6. New Business
a. Assessor s Report and Update
CEO Thomas stated that on the third page he edited a Report of Permits from a prior quarter, he changed the permits, however he did not change the dates. The dates should be July 1st to September 30.
CEO Thomas stated that the state valuation report shows that the residential assessed values average 80% of full value. CEO Thomas stated that he could not stay at this value because it would mean the homestead exemptions would drop from $7000 to $5600 next year. CEO Thomas stated that residential valuations need to go up, but this will not change Casco Bay s taxes at all. CEO Thomas stated if he wants to keep the $7000 homestead exemption he will have to write to the State and appeal for it stating that he was made a change that makes it reasonable to have the $7000. CEO Thomas stated that mill rates can do down, but values on properties would have to increase by some 25% to cover the 20% difference from full value. In general, tax bills would increase over time due to the
lost State Aid. The Town will need to watch the effect on school funding. Chairman Hathaway stated that he would like to sit down at a future meeting and discuss mill rates.
CEO Thomas stated that the Town has a quality rating of 15%, where as most with professional Assessors towns aim for the single digit numbers. He will be going over all properties to adjust the equities and address the quality rating.
CEO Thomas stated that the State Report shows there is insufficient data to support the affordable housing conclusion in the Comprehensive plan, more data is needed and the Planning Board will be addressing the concerns.
CEO Thomas noted that 32 Graystone has been condemned and the Frasier property has been purchased by Bill and Barb Dalton.
CEO Thomas addressed the issue of the Casco Bay s outdoor stairs. There are still a lot of issues with it. The stairs in the industrial area need to be incased in a concrete wall, however the idea of putting up a steel wall was introduced. The steel wall wouldn t protect against fire, however there is nothing flammable in the area. The design of the wall will have a chimney affect so that cool air will flow up through the enclosure. CEO Thomas stated that there will be a mapping demonstration at a future meeting.
CEO Thomas closed by saying that he would like to get a workstudy student possibly, but only if he can them for the spring and summer. He doesn t think it is worth it to train them if he is only going to have them for 3 months.
ITEM 7a. Manager s Report:
7a. A summary of the hazardous waste collection program that we participated in with Bangor
7b. An EPA participation agreement letter which outlined that the Town will be participating in EPA New England s audit incentive program. The EPA will come up for voluntary inspections where no fines will be assessed and the Town will be given the opportunity to fix the issue. Manager Reed stated that Bangor was fined. Manager Reed also stated that the city of Bangor is having a consultant come up later this week to help them with their hazardous waste and the Town will have the consultant come over here and do a pre-evaluation before the voluntary inspection is conducted.
7c. A letter from Adelphia updating us on all of the changes that have occurred to the cable system over the past several months. Also the new rates are listed once again.
7d. The Monthly Web Statistics report
7e. A card of thanks from Mrs. Walsh
Manager Reed commented on the trash pickup on Friday. He received two phone calls that were good. Manager Reed stated that Waste Management delivered flyers to Veazie residents and CEO A. Thomas posted it on the TV station. Bob Sparks also dumped off a dumpster behind the building to help with the transition on trash day. Manager Reed also stated a letter was sent to Sawyer with the Town s displeasure for their withdrawal before their contract was up.
Manager Reed also informed the Council members of the new Council meeting table and chairs that were to be purchased. Manager Reed also addressed the front counter issue. Right now the front counter is ADA non-compliant. The renovations will include the same 3 teller windows in professional units, but all wires will run to code with the new counters.
ITEM 8. Requests for Information/Council Comments:
Councilor Michaels asked if the Town had a budget for economic development. He wanted to know if the Town could take tax money to buy residents or commercial property, sell it and put the money back.
Chairman Hathaway commented on the Town possibly pursuing the debt service discussion with the sewer district and using it as an itemized deduction.
Manager Reed and Councilor Michaels both commented on Halloween going over well. The attendance was low, however, it went well for the first time with Parks and Recreation running it and people worrying about the September 11th events.
ITEM 9. Warrants: Town Warrant 10, Town Payroll Warrant 10, School Warrant 8, School Payroll Warrant 8, and School Lunch Warrant 8, were circulated and signed.
ITEM 10. Adjournment: Motion: Councilor Hathaway--to adjourn the November 5, 2001, Town Council Meeting. Seconded: Councilor Friedman there was no further discussion. Voted 5-0 meeting adjourned