PRESENT: Chairman Hathaway, Councilor Cheney, Councilor Michaels, Also present were Auditor C. Willey-Staples, Town Manager Reed, CEO Thomas, Deputy Clerk Reed. Councilor Friedman and Councilor Kelly were excused.
ITEM 1. The January 2, 2001 Veazie Town Council was called to order at 7:00PM.
ITEM 2. Consideration of minutes: Motion: Chairman Hathaway—to accept December 4, 2000 minutes as written. Councilor Cheney asked that Item 6e, be amended to read that she was willing to work with a committee. Seconded: Councilor Cheney, vote 3-0 in favor.
ITEM 3. Consideration of the Agenda: Chairman Hathaway wanted to discuss the budget for fiscal year 2001-2002. Manager Reed suggested that the discussed be held over until the next meeting because the auditor had just finished the audit for fiscal year 1999-2000 and it would be a better discussion after reviewing the audit.
ITEM 4. Public Comments: No comments from the Public
ITEM 5a. CEO Thomas—Update of Projects: Manager Reed discussed the CEO’s report outline and stated that a report will be done on a quarterly basis. CEO Thomas asked the Council for questions. Chairman Hathaway asked CEO Thomas if the Town’s Land Use Ordinance addressed Communication Towers because Daniel Priestly has approached CEO Thomas about the construction/use of communication towers in the Town of Veazie. Presently, the Ordinance allows for towers with heights up to 35 feet high. Chairman Hathaway is concerned that a communication tower in town would degrade the property values.
Chairman Hathaway asked if there is anything in the current ordinance that would address the lights on the J. C. Auto Building. Currently, the lights shine on onto Route 2 and Chairman Hathaway considers the light offensive.
The BETR Program, a program to help businesses with the property tax on recent equipment purchases, was addressed and CEO Thomas said that he has not done a mass mailing but has addressed individual owners in Town that would qualify.
The Chairman question whether it was necessary to have a building permit for a birdhouse and CEO Thomas explained that it was a very large birdhouse for exotic birds.
The discussion moved to the issue of Real Estate. The councilors noticed that a lot had sold for $19,500 and wondered why it was such a low value and if the assessment would be higher for tax purposes? Thomas explained that the lot was a very odd shape and adjacent to an industrial zone and the assessment would be about the same as the selling price because of those factors. Councilor Michaels asked if Assessor Thomas would consider including a spreadsheet in future reports with map and lot numbers. He said he could but felt that the information would not be very valuable because properties are easier to identify by street address.
CEO Thomas presented the planimetric maps and explained that Veazie will be the best-mapped town in Penobscot County. With these maps, Thomas and J. Manter have been able to detail the maps to include fire hydrants and swimming pools. Some of the maps still need corrections and a few map and lot numbers will have to be changed to reflect what the maps show. Councilor Michaels asked if the utilities such as sewer and water would be included on the maps? Thomas said it would be possible if the utility companies could show where the lines are run. The planimetric maps are made from aerial photos and do not show the utilities that are underground. CEO Thomas did say that with GPS it is possible to identify some of the utilities.
The proposed Silver’s Subdivision maps were presented to the Council. Thomas explained that this subdivision was being handled with caution because of the past drainage problems with the Jackson Drive and Hillside Drive. Manager Reed said he would like to see the whole road put in before construction starts.
Chairman Hathaway asked CEO Thomas how he was going to take care of the code violations that exist in town? Thomas explained he has been unable to reach the Property Management Company that is handling the former Tiny Tot Diaper Service property. He has tried on several occasions and has not received a response. As to the Crowe property, it has been cleaned up some but still needs improvement. When asked about the unregistered trailers, Thomas explained that he would have to identify that the vehicles are unserviceable from the road before he could take any action. He also stated it was very probable that in order to take care of that problem, the Town would have to take him to court and convince a judge that the state of the property is affecting someone.
Additionally, the issue would be compared to other industrial parks in the region to declare whether it was indeed a hazard that affects the community in some way.
ITEM 6a. Audit—Charemon Willey-Staples: Auditor Willey handed out the audit and a summary overview. She stated that she would come back to the next meeting to answer questions but would touch on the highlights.
· She noted that Veazie has the best tax collection rate out of all of her clients.
· She pointed out that the School Lunch Program had a $21,000 loss last year and suggested the program be looked at to find ways to improve the program. Willey also suggested that the Town’s Treasurer open a separate checking account for the lunch program and to implement some internal controls to track the number of lunches and calculate the cost of lunches.
· She addressed the issue of internal controls within the Town Office and said she will work with staff to implement the needed changes.
· The excise tax and inventory audit was difficult to do but appear the problems were in documentation not in the cash. The problem arose as a result of staffing and process changes.
· She suggested that the school budget be broken out by category so monthly reports can be generated. With this method, it will show a beginning balance, the amount of money brought in, the amount of money taken out, and an ending balance. By using this method, the budget can be monitored, bank reconciliation will be easier and records would be more detailed and show classifications.
ITEM 6b. Letters of Recognition—Girl Scout Silver Award: Let it be known that Casey Ryder, daughter of Robert and Beth Ryder and Amanda Bragg, daughter of Rodney and Judy Bragg have completed the requirements for the Girl Scout Silver Award, the highest award in Cadette Girl Scouting. Certificates were circulated and signed by the Councilors. The awards will be framed and presented to the girls for their achievement.
ITEM 7a. Manager’s Report: Manager Reed’s memo stated that the Enrollment Project Study he requested from the Superintendent’s Office has been completed and will be passed on the Planning Board to help decide if impact fees should be implemented for new subdivision developers. He explained that currently, the Town is using the “Round up or down to the nearest whole number” method at this time and that for the next decade the population should stay somewhat stable. Based on the report, funds should be earmarked for special education and high school tuition. According to the report, the high school tuition will rise from 2005 to 2008.
Chairman Hathaway pointed out that space in the Veazie Community School is another issue the board should look at in the near future. According to Manager Reed, it will cost approximately $300,000-400,000 to build four additional classrooms and that should make for plenty of space in the future.
There were fourteen building permits issued this past year. Chairman Hathaway asked if there is a mechanism the Town can use to limit housing growth? Manager Reed stated that the Town of Wells is trying to limit growth using building capitation. He also pointed out that the Town of Falmouth is using impact fees rather than the raffle system. In the past, Veazie has used a building moratorium to limit overwhelming growth.
Manager Reed told the Council that Bangor Gas had paid for the repair of the traffic light that they had damaged.
Councilor Michaels pointed out that the loss of school revenue from the State would come back to the Town through tax monies produced by Duke Energy. Manager Reed stated that if the southern part of the state has a recession the aid to education formula could quickly change the revenue picture for the school department.
Manager Reed has responded to Attorney Violette in regards to whether the surrounding property owners of the Davis property needed to be notified by certified mail. Manager Reed said he had spoke with the former Deputy Clerk Carr and she remembers mailing the letters but is unsure if they were sent certified. K. Carr said she would write a letter if necessary.
Manager Reed explained that he has the same concerns as MMA about Inland Fisheries going online and using plain paper to print State Licenses. Using plain paper would be too easy for an amateur to reproduce state licenses.
ITEM 8. Request for information: Councilor Cheney asked how the Town’s Wellness program was proceeding. Manager Reed explained the incentive programs the Town offers to employees to quit smoking and/or losing weight. Councilor Cheney said she participated in a ride-along with Public Works during the last snowstorm and thinks the Town of Veazie should provide a roll-away-cot for the Public Worker’s employees so they can rest when the required working hours are extensive.
ITEM 9. Warrants: Town Warrant 13 & 14, Town Payroll Warrant 13 & 14, School Warrant 13 & 14, School Payroll Warrant 13 & 14, and School Lunch Warrant 13 & 14, were circulated and signed.
ITEM 10. Adjournment: Motion: Chairman Hathaway--to adjourn January 2, 2001 Town Council Meeting. Seconded: Council Michaels, there was no further discussion. Voted 3-0. Meeting adjourned 10:15 pm.
Julie D. S. Reed
Deputy Town Clerk