PRESENT: Chairman Hathaway, Councilor Cheney, Councilor Kelly, Councilor Friedman and Councilor Hogan; Manager Reed, Assistant Clerk K. Gifford, CEO Thomas, Deputy Treasurer Julie Reed, Town Auditor Charemon Willey-Staples, Police Chief Mark Leonard, Superintendent of Public Works George Free, Fire Chief Gerry Martin.
ITEM 1. The December 2, 2002 Veazie Town Council was called to order at 7:00 PM.
ITEM 2. Consideration of minutes: Motion By: Councilor Friedman —to accept November 18, 2002 minutes as written. Seconded: Councilor Hogan, Voted 4-0-1 in favor. Councilor Kelly abstained due to his absence at the Council meeting.
ITEM 3. Consideration of the Agenda: Councilor Friedman asked that under Requests for Information and Council Comments that the Council discuss the idea of an office manager.
Fire Chief Gerry Martin was also present to discuss an update on a fire grant which was applied for. This was added as item 6c.
ITEM 4. Public Comments: There were no comments from the public.
ITEM 5a. Audit Report
Charemon Willey-Staples was present to go over the audit with the Council. The Independent Auditor’s Report stated that the financial statements were presented fairly in all material respects.
Charemon Willey-Staples reviewed the combined balance sheet, she outlined that the unreserved – undesignated fund was a little higher then usual. Councilor Friedman inquired whether the Town would be creating an account for overtime. Manager Reed outlined that at the next meeting he will have an action plan to address each issue in the management letter.
Councilor Cheney inquired whether there was a loss on the lunch plan. Charemon Willey-Staples stated that the school actually broke-even. Councilor Cheney also inquired on whether the school raised their lunch rates. Manager Reed stated they had.
Charemon Willey-Staples stated that there were overdrafts in certain accounts which is detailed on page 17 of the audit. She outlined that the Council will need to vote to approve those overdrafts.
Chairman Hathaway stated that next year the State will be dealing with a $241 million+ deficit and budgets will be a lot tighter. Councilor Cheney inquired why the education subsidy was under. Charemon Willey-Staples explained that the Town returned school construction bond proceeds back to the State which reduced aid amounts
Charemon Willey-Staples stated that receivables were down which is really good. She added that Deputy Treasurer J. Reed managed to get a lot of past uncollected taxes collected.
Councilor Kelly had a question regarding interest on page 13 of the audit. He noted that interest increased substantially in 2008-2012 then dropped substantially in 2013-2018. Manager Reed explained that the bonds that Maine Bond Bank sold were flat principal and declining interest.
Chairman Hathaway stated that 4 of the 11 articles voted on at Town meeting had overdrafts. The Town really needs to do a better job of budgeting. Charemon Willey-Staples stated that setting up reserves will help eliminate this problem. It was noted that most were unavoidable like Public Works overtime, special audits due to staff turnover and solid waste costs.
ITEM 5b. Water District Update
Water District Trustee Jim Parker was unable to attend and asked to be postponed till the next Council meeting.
ITEM 5c. CES – Project Proposal & Update
This was postponed till the next meeting as well.
ITEM 6a. Public Works Quarterly Report
Superintendent Butch Free read over his memo with the Council. Councilor Friedman asked what happened to the Veazie signs. Superintendent Free stated that last year Bangor’s plow truck did some damage to the sign located on Chase Road. Superintendent Free decided to take them down during the winter from now on in order to preserve them and the department will put them back up in the spring.
Councilor Cheney wanted to confirm that the land Public Works is talking about developing is at the end of Hobson Avenue. Superintendent Free confirmed the department’s intentions. Councilor Cheney stated she had concerns with trucks going up and down Hobson Avenue. Superintendent Free stated that there is no other land available to obtain without additional costs. He added that he along with CEO Thomas are looking at other entrances to the land.
Councilor Cheney inquired about the trees on School Street and whether any died. Superintendent Free stated that it wouldn’t be known till the Spring, however he does think that some of them will not make it through the winter.
Chairman Hathaway mentioned that in the BACTS study it stated that Flagg1 needed to be redone. He wanted to know what portion of Flagg Street was Flagg1. Superintendent Free stated it is the portion by senior housing unit and it has already been done by the developer and Town. Hobson Avenue is scheduled for an overlay but Superintendent Free would like to put drainage along each side of the road as well.
ITEM 6b. MRC - Ballot
Motion By: Councilor Friedman—to nominate David Chittim of Rockland to serve on the Municipal Review Committee Board of Directors. Seconded: Councilor Hogan, Voted 5-0 in favor.
ITEM 6c. Fire Grant
Fire Chief Gerry Martin was present to update the Council on grant applications. A grant which the department was denied last year was received this year in the amount of $24,071. The grant was through the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Chief Martin stated the department is in need of a really good communication system and will use this grant to fund it. The department will also be applying for a forestry grant.
ITEM 7. Manager’s Report
a. Manager Reed outlined that the driveway widening at the school is almost complete. A catch basin had to be installed so that the wetland permit did not have to be amended. It was noted that the entrance is a great deal wider and safer for everyone and will add several parallel parking spots for the school during special events.
b. The Council reviewed a copy of the 2003 Penobscot County Proposed Budget
c. The Council reviewed a letter from Maine Municipal Association regarding Barbara Galen’s property damage claim. Manager Reed outlined that the Town is exempt from litigation on this matter.
Manager Reed recommended that the Council vote on the budget compliance issues instead of waiting until the next meeting.
Motion By: Councilor Friedman—to address the overdraft compliance issue for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2002 for the following warrant article – General Administration for the amount of $17,978. Seconded: Councilor Cheney, Voted 5-0 in favor.
Motion By: Councilor Friedman—to address the overdraft compliance issue for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2002 for the following warrant article— Public Works for the amount of $27,644. Seconded: Councilor Hogan, Voted 5-0 in favor.
Motion By: Councilor Friedman—to address the overdraft compliance issue for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2002 for the following warrant article—Police Department for the amount of $52,200. Seconded: Councilor Hogan, Voted 5-0 in favor.
Motion By: Councilor Friedman—to address the overdraft compliance issue for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2002 for the following warrant article—Special Assessments for the amount of $3,271. Seconded: Councilor Kelly, Voted 5-0 in favor.
Chairman Hathaway wanted to iterate that the community value was increasing as well as the Penobscot county budget is increasing and that will affect the school funding for Veazie. The Town needs to be prepared when preparing the budget next year.
ITEM 8. Requests for Information/Council Comments: Councilor Friedman stated he would like Manager Reed to make up a new management flow chart. He would like it to address who is in charge of the front office when Manager Reed is out of the office, who does evaluations and who an employee goes to first if they have a problem. Manager Reed pointed out that in the fire and police departments it has already been implemented (department heads) that if an employee has a problem they go to their superior before going to Manager Reed who is the personnel director.
Councilor Cheney mentioned that there were people walking through the woods behind her house the other day. They said they were working for the Town and she wanted to make sure this was the case. Manager Reed stated that the Conservation Commission is working with the Town Forester on putting up boundary signs and reworking trails. He will ask the commission to come to a Council meeting to give a presentation on the work they are doing.
Councilor Friedman inquired on the $13,000 offer the Town made on the Dang property. Manager Reed stated that the realtor wondered where the figure came from. Manager Reed explained that it was in a R2 zone, it has been vacant too long to be a restaurant again and there is not enough parking for a business. He added that it will cost the Town between $8,000 to $10,000 in disposal costs so the total cost for the redevelopment project would cost the Town some $34,000 just to develop a “park and ride” lot there.
ITEM 9. Warrants: Town Warrant 11, Town Payroll Warrant 11, School Warrant 11, School Lunch Warrant 11 and School Payroll Warrant 11 were circulated and signed.
ITEM 10. Adjournment: Motion: Councilor Friedman —to adjourn December 2, 2002, Town Council Meeting. Seconded: Councilor Cheney, Voted 5-0 in favor. There was no further discussion. Meeting adjourned at 8:18PM.