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Council Minutes 9/30/2002
PRESENT:        Chairman Hathaway, Councilor Cheney, Councilor Friedman and Councilor Hogan; Manager Reed, Assistant Clerk K. Gifford, Sewer District members; Chairman David King, Trustee Brian Perkins, Superintendent Gary Brooks and Treasurer Esther Bushway.  Councilor Kelly was absent and excused.    

ITEM 1. The September 30, 2002 Veazie Town Council was called to order at 7:00 PM.

ITEM 2. Consideration of minutes:  Motion By:  Councilor Cheney--to accept September 23, 2002 minutes as written.  Seconded:  Councilor Hogan, Voted 2-0-2, subject to recall at the next meeting for acceptance.

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 6a.        Sewer District (taken out of order)
Communication/Cooperation
Chairman Hathaway inquired on how the two boards could work together to share information for the benefit of all their customers.  Chairman Hathaway stated he would like to keep things informal and talk about the issues at hand.  Sewer District Treasurer Esther Bushway stated that communication isn't working, it's not effective and it's not productive for citizens or for anyone.  She outlined that she initiated this because it is really something that needs to be worked on.  

Treasurer Esther Bushway stated that one example where communication and cooperation cost this Town was when the Sewer District had the $1.5 million upgrade.  Monies could have been gotten from Duke Energy which would have in turn lowered rates for citizens.  Superintendent Gary Brooks outlined that when Duke Energy came into Town the Council embraced it, but the district only got a letter from the engineer asking if the district could handle the flow of waste water from the plant.  Superintendent Gary Brooks stated that at that time the Sewer District was already very close to its design flow.  He outlined that the Sewer District had two options, it could either reserve capacity for existing land owners, since they were here first, or accommodate the new plant.  Manager Reed inquired why the Sewer District didn't ask Duke Energy for an impact fee, like the Town had done for additional services.  Superintendent Gary Brooks stated that the Sewer District has different rules governing it.  It would be illegal to do so without having some background studies to back the fee up.  

Treasurer Esther Bushway stated that there isn't a good working relationship between the Sewer District and the Planning Board.  Chairman Hathaway inquired on how the Town could get the Sewer District involved in planning.  

Superintendent Gary Brooks outlined that the Planning Board asks the developer for a letter from the Sewer District stating whether a new subdivision will impact the district.  Superintendent Gary Brooks states a letter is sent stating that it will effect or not effect the Sewer District, however, a clause is put in that says that the Sewer District will have to review the plans.  Once the Planning Board gets the letter saying there will be no impact that is the end of communication.  Plans are not sent to the Sewer District to review.  Superintendent Gary Brooks stated that it would be nice to review a set of plans and put the Sewer Districts stamp on it before the developments are passed.  

Manager Reed stated that he will talk with the Planning Board to get two additional sets of plans, one for the Water District and one for the Sewer District so the two districts can put their input in on what needs to be changed and such.

Councilor Hogan inquired on whether the Planning Board was the only part of Town government the Sewer District was having problems with.  

Trustee Brian Perkins stated he thought there was a lot of animosity between the management of the two entities.  This seems to cause a lot of the communication breakdown.  

Superintendent Gary Brooks stated that when the Sewer District was going through their $1.5 upgrade they had meetings and Councilors were invited and only one Councilor attended.  He noted that letters were sent out for input but they never received a reply.

Councilor Hogan stated that this needs to be a two way street, the boards are both representing the same citizens and customers.  

Councilor Friedman inquired if Manager Reed and Superintendent Gary Brooks ever have any meetings or whether they call each other and ask questions or talk.  Superintendent Gary Brooks stated they do not.   

Councilor Hogan stated that as part of their weekly or bi-weekly agendas they should meet, there may not be much to talk about but the two boards need to work together.  

Manager Reed outlined that he has handed a lot of stuff over to CEO Thomas and Public Works Superintendent Butch Free because they work directly with Superintendent Gary Brooks and the Sewer District.  Treasurer Esther Bushway stated she thought it was great that Manager Reed delegates responsibility to other people but would find it great if he and Superintendent Gary Brooks could sit down and talk and improve communications management to management.  

Councilor Cheney inquired on the history of the board.  Treasurer Esther Bushway stated she has been on the board for three years.  Chairman Dave King stated that he has been on the board for seven years.  Trustee Brian Perkins stated he was new to the board.  Councilor Cheney stated that it is good that there was someone new on the board because it brings new ideas.

Trustee Brian Perkins stated he thought it would be nice if the Town put items like green space and planning in their newsletters.  It would keep residents informed on things going on in Town.  It was outlined that rarely do residents attend Council meetings when these items are discussed.  Treasurer Esther Bushway stated it would be nice if the Sewer District could put things in the newsletter.  Superintendent Gary Brooks stated that at one time the Sewer District was putting things in the newsletter but people got busy and it stopped.  It was decided that there will be set dates for when Town newsletters go out and the Sewer District and the Water District will be given the opportunity to place items in it.  Manager Reed stated the Sewer District is welcome to use the cable channel as well.  

Chairman Hathaway reviewed the items discussed.  Councilor Cheney stated she would like to see the managers meet biweekly.  Treasurer Esther Bushway stated she thought the two boards should also agree to show up at each others meetings once in a while.  Councilor Cheney inquired on whether the Sewer District's agenda gets publicized.  Treasurer Esther Bushway stated that it doesn't but it can be.  The Council also agreed to send an agenda and a copy of minutes to the Sewer District.  

                Comprehensive Planning
Manager Reed stated the Planning Board has tried to come up with a community master plan with the community laid out that shows how streets should go and where they should go.  Manager Reed stated that the comprehensive plan had been sent to the State for approval but the Town did not receive a response back so by default the Town has assumed that the State approved it.  Manager Reed stated that first issue the Comprehensive Plan deals with is landuse and zoning, the second will be utilities.  Treasurer Esther Bushway asked if that meant that the Sewer District would be involved in the second step of the plan.  Manager Reed stated yes it did.  

Chairman Hathaway stated the reason the Town is doing the comprehensive planning is because of the issues that arise when developments go in.  Chairman Hathaway outlined that when Buck Hill went in the Jackson Drive residents petitioned the new development.  Now Buck Hill is petitioning the new development that is going behind it, and down the road the new development will petition the next one.  Chairman Hathaway stated that he hopes everyone can work together and the Sewer District will come forward and give their ideas to the planning board on the ingoing developments.  It will provide the Planning Board with input in addressing issues with subdivisions.  Chairman Hathaway recommended the Sewer District having joint meetings with the Planning Board.  Treasurer Esther Bushway asked if the Sewer District and the Council could have a joint meeting in addition to the joint meeting at budget time.  It would give the two boards a chance to discuss issues and see how things are going.

Cost Sharing Initiatives
The two boards discussed sharing equipment and helping each other.  Chairman Hathaway stated there should be no reason why the two couldn't share equipment.  If the Town has an air compressor or a lawnmower, the Sewer District should not have to purchase their own when they can just borrow the Town's.  The same goes vice versa.  

                Cost of Money
Treasurer Esther Bushway stated that the Sewer District wants to get rid of debt retirement.  Manager Reed stated that he had sent out a letter in regards to buying capacity equal to a percentage of debt using net present values.  Treasurer Esther Bushway stated that it should be discussed at a future joint meeting.    

                Professional Services
Chairman Hathaway inquired on who the Sewer District had for an attorney and auditor and who there bank was.  Superintendent Gary Brooks stated the district went through Eaton Peabody for legal services.  Chairman Hathaway stated there is no reason why the two entities cant share the same services.  He pointed out that the school department now uses the same auditor as the Town.  If the Sewer District has a really good attorney there is no reason the Town couldn't switch to theirs and vice versa.

Councilor Friedman inquired on what Collection Service was on the agenda.  Chairman Hathaway stated he put it on the agenda since Dottie Henderson retired.  Perhaps the Town could do some book work or some administrative help.  Chairman Hathaway mentioned collecting sewer payments at the Town Office again.  The Sewer District outlined that they are already looking into something.    
  
Chairman Hathaway recommended having another joint meeting in January.  Treasurer Esther Hathaway stated that the idea of the Town buying capacity can be discussed.

Councilor Cheney stated that perhaps there could be a monthly report in the manager's report from each manager to provide to their boards updating them on progress.  

ITEM 5a.        Health Trust Legal Restructuring   
Manager Reed outlined that the Maine Municipal Employees Health Trust is changing its legal and regulatory structure from a federal oversight to a State oversight.  The main reason that the MMHET formed as an ERISA plan back in 1983 was that there were on State statutes or regulations appropriate for a nonprofit, self-funded group health plan back then.    
                
Motion By:  Councilor Hogan--to approve the resolution - that the Town of Veazie, join with other participating municipal and quasi-municipal employers in a Multiple Employer welfare Arrangement for the provision of employee health benefits, as authorized by 24-A M.R.S.A. § 6601 et seq., said Arrangement to be known as the "Maine Municipal Employees Health Trust"  ((Health Trust); and for that purpose and in consideration of the mutual convenants and agreements among the participating employers, to authorize the Town Manager to enter into a Participation Agreement  on behalf of the Town and take whatever other actions may be necessary.  The authority granted herein shall remain until revoked. Seconded: Councilor Friedman, Voted 4-0 in favor.  

                  
ITEM 7. Requests for Information/Council Comments:  Chairman Hathaway mentioned that he was recruited by MMA to help with their tax reform proposal and that he would like to discuss it at a future Council meeting.

ITEM 8. Adjournment:  Motion:  Councilor Friedman--to adjourn September 30, 2002, Town Council Meeting.  Seconded:  Councilor Cheney, Voted 4-0 in favor.  There was no further discussion.  Meeting adjourned.


Respectively submitted,


Karen Gifford
Assistant Clerk




 

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