PRESENT: Chairman Hathaway, Councilor Cheney, Councilor Kelly and Councilor Hogan; Manager Reed, Assistant Clerk K. Gifford, CEO Thomas, Deputy Treasurer Julie Reed, Town Auditor Charemon Willey-Staples and Assistant Fire Chief Carl Tenney.
ITEM 1. The November 4, 2002 Veazie Town Council was called to order at 7:05 PM.
ITEM 2. Consideration of minutes: Motion By: Councilor Kelly—to accept October 21, 2002 minutes as written. Seconded: Councilor Cheney, Voted 3-0 in favor.
ITEM 3. Consideration of the Agenda: There were no additions made to the agenda.
ITEM 4. Public Comments: There were no comments from the public.
ITEM 5a. Audit Update
Manager Reed stated that item 5a and 5b should be combined as one. Town Auditor Charemon Willey-Staples stated that she should have the audit report done by the next Council meeting. She detailed that she still has some lose ends to tie up before issuing the final report. Chairman Hathaway inquired on whether the audit report would include the management letter. Charemon Willey-Staples stated it would.
There was discussion on the school department and where there is a lot of duplication of work being done. It was noted that the financial software the Town uses is school based, however the school department’s staff has expressed that they are unwilling to utilize it. At the present time the school department enters the warrants in Orono, but it is the Town that distributes the checks therefore the warrant has to be reentered by the Town as well.
Charemon Willey-Staples stated that she has taken the accounting process as far as she can recommend. A separate company was created for the school department as well as a new chart of accounts. When the software was installed at the school department, the employees will have to be trained to use it and will to work with the Town’s accounting department’s record standards.
Charemon Willey-Staples inquired on when the network would be ready. Manager Reed stated that the problem right now is getting all the computers on the server, IP addresses have to be assigned and it has been complicated by the construction. However, it would be possible to link Julie and Beckie’s computers so they may utilize the same software.
Charemon Willey-Staples stated the purchase order system is working well.
Charemon Willey-Staples stated the audit report including management letter will be ready for the next Town Council meeting and she will attend the next two meetings to answer any questions and provide follow-up.
ITEM 5b. Financial Presentation (combined with item 5a.)
ITEM 6a. Community Center Discussion
Manager Reed showed the Council designs for the community center. Included in the Council packets was a renovation study completed by CES, a Due Diligence Study by Eastern Appraisal & Consulting, Inc. conducted in January 2000 and a Due Diligence Study Update completed in May of 2001.
These reports studied the feasibility of converting the facility into class “A” office and meeting space. Manager Reed highlighted that past discussions have entailed; developing incubator space for small businesses with professional grade meeting space, relocating the municipal department to the facility and create a small mailing facility like Mail Boxes Ect., developing additional senior housing opportunities with a private developer, working with the current tenant on the redevelopment plan and develop a long-term lease and facility enhancement agreement, and work with a designated developer and pursue a lease concept.
The owner of Eastern Maine School of Self Defense has worked with the Town to improve the appearance issues at the building.
There was discussion on whether to renovate the building or sell it. Manager Reed outlined that whatever renovation option they choose the Town would not recover their investment on the short term.
Chairman Hathaway stated the community center rests in the village core area. It is worthy of being revitalized and turned into something of value to the community.
Manager Reed outlined that if the Town kept the community center and renovated it, it would cost around $500,000 for office space. Councilor Kelly stated that if you rented it to someone like a dentist the Town would be getting into a lot snags like signage and if something went wrong they would be calling down to the Town Office to have someone come fix it. Councilor Kelly also pointed out that there is a lot of empty office space around Bangor and Brewer as it is.
Chairman Hathaway inquired whether the Town should sell the building and stipulate that the Town has input on what happens with it. For instance, the Town wants the aesthetics of the building to fit into the community.
Councilor Kelly stated that the feasibility of someone buying the building and renovating it is slim, no one would want to put that much money into it.
Councilor Cheney stated that the Town is doing a lot with Town Office renovations and a new fire truck, the Council really needs to step back and really look at things before jumping into another project.
It was decided to offer a RFP (Request for Proposal) to the public. It was the consensus of the Council to try selling the building with the stipulation of design review requirements and that the Town has a say in what the uses are. Manager Reed stated he would develop an RFP for the next meeting.
ITEM 7. Manager’s Report
a. Enclosed was a memo from Allan Thomas addressing several concerns that Chairman Hathaway had expressed in a memo to Manager Reed which CEO Thomas looked into.
b. Enclosed was the Police Department’s quarterly report of police activities.
c. Enclosed were the minutes from the Veazie 150th Celebration Committee meeting.
d. Enclosed was a copy of the Fire Department’s monthly report.
ITEM 8. Requests for Information/Council Comments:
Councilor Cheney inquired on how the 150th Celebration was coming. Chairman Hathaway stated it is going extremely well and there has been a good turnout at the meetings. He outlined that March 25, 2003 would be the first night with a ceremony, dinner and performance at the school. In May there will be a speaker night at the school as well. In July there will be a four day celebration that include a performance of the 1953 Veazie in Review, a street dance, road race, parade, fireworks and burial of a time capsule.
Manager Reed stated that Kathy Wadleigh would like to be the citizen appointed to the committee.
Councilor Kelly inquired on whether Tom Broad was still at the Maine Independence Station. Manager Reed stated he is and outlined that Tom Broad will be helping with the transition of the new plant manager.
ITEM 9. Warrants: Town Warrant 9, Town Payroll Warrant 9, School Warrant 9, School Lunch Warrant 9 and School Payroll Warrant 9 were circulated and signed.
ITEM 10. Adjournment: Motion: Councilor Kelly —to adjourn November 4, 2002, Town Council Meeting. Seconded: Councilor Cheney, Voted 4-0 in favor. There was no further discussion. Meeting adjourned.