PRESENT: Chairman Hathaway, Councilor Michaels and Councilor Friedman; Manager Reed, CEO A. Thomas, Assistant Clerk K. Gifford and Superintendent of Public Works Butch Free. Councilor Kelly was excused and Councilor Cheney arrived late.
ITEM 1. The June 3, 2002 Veazie Town Council was called to order at 7:00 PM.
ITEM 2. Consideration of minutes:
Motion By: Councilor Michaels —to accept May 20, 2002 minutes as written. Seconded: Councilor Friedman, Vote 2-0-1 in favor. Chairman Hathaway abstained due to being absent at the meeting.
ITEM 3. Consideration of the Agenda: Manager Reed asked that an item be added to the agenda. He wanted to discuss a lease purchase option that would be for the plow truck. This was added as item 6c.
ITEM 4. Public Comments: There were no comments from the public.
ITEM 5a. Sewer District Workshop
Chairman Hathaway stated that he had a meeting with the Chair of the Sewer District and they would like to come on a separate night and have a meeting just between the two boards. The Sewer District would like to meet on July 8, 2002. Manager Reed stated he would be on vacation then and would not be able to attend. CEO Thomas stated that the Planning Board had their meeting that night so the Council would not be able to use the Council Chambers. It was decided that the Council members would meet with the Sewer District at the Sewer District.
ITEM 5b. Proposed Policies
Manager Reed stated that he had a meeting with Superintendent Tom Perry in which Mr. Perry brought a copy of a recommendation that Drummond, Woodsum & MacMahon drew up for the school department to adopt. The article was written towards a school board’s perspective but it is applicable to any board that deals with complaints pertaining to personnel. Manager Reed stated that Superintendent Perry outlined that some of the discussion that some members of the public conducted during last years meeting (complaints about individual employees) could have opened the Town up to liability. The first was a policy on public participation at Council meetings. The second was a policy on complaints about municipal personnel. Manager Reed stated
that Superintendent Perry outlined that he will be recommending to the School Board the adoption of these two policies and asked that Manager Reed review them as well. Manager Reed outlined that after reviewing the documents and having discussions with other town managers with professional departments and employees he had concluded that the two proposed policies would be greatly recommended. He outlined that negative comments by people other than town officials can even put the Town at liability if they are allowed to continue in the public forum. Manager Reed stated that Superintendent Perry will be bringing both of these policies up at the next school board meeting. He also stated that the Town Manager of Orono is looking to adopting the policies as well.
Chairman Hathaway stated he thought the Town was already covered under the Town Charter. Manager Reed stated employee to employee complaints are, however this policy deals with the public’s complaints towards employees.
Councilor Michaels inquired on whether the policy also discussed what the board says in response to these kind of statements. Manager Reed stated that this policy gives the chair the power to say that the complaint should be written and go through the procedure outlined in the policy.
Chairman Hathaway stated that if the policies reduce the Town’s exposure to liability then he supports it. His concern was that it might limit the public’s ability to voice their opinion in which case he wouldn’t agree with it.
Councilor Cheney inquired on why this was being brought up this year. Manager Reed stated to protect against liability and defamation claims. Manager Reed reviewed several legal cases that were provided. Councilor Cheney stated she thought that was why there was a moderator. Manager Reed stated that sometimes the moderator lets things go too far in which case a person can sue the Town and the individuals making the statements for defamation.
Manager Reed stated that complaints on individual employees cannot be received in a public forum. Chairman Hathaway stated that the moderator should be prepared to deal with these issues and call order.
Motion By: Councilor Friedman—to adopt the policy on “Participation at Council Meetings” and the policy on “Complaints about Municipal Personnel” as proposed by Drummond, Woodsum & MacMahon as long as the Town Attorney concurs. Seconded: Councilor Michaels, Voted 4-0 in favor.
ITEM 5c. Pavement Projects
Superintendent of Public Works Butch Free was present to discuss pavement projects with the Council. Superintendent Free stated he has over 2300 ft. of curbing to be installed and/or replaced which will costs approximately $12,000. This has been broken up into several different projects. 739 ft. of the total curbing will be placed around all of the cul de sacs and they will be Cape Cod style.
Superintendent Free stated that this was a project from the current year’s budget and just wanted to inform the Council of projects being completed.
Superintendent Free stated that on the 2002-2003 budget his pavement projects include paving Jackson Drive, Wood Lane and Brookside. There are some catch basins on Wood Lane that need to be replaced before it is paved. He is also proposing to pave the lower end of Rock Street. School Street was included in the proposal, however this is a State summer maintenance roadway. Councilor Michaels inquired on whether we could pave it and bill the State. Manager Reed stated that was not possible. School Street is on a five year surface mix maintenance program and therefore will be paved in about two years.
Chairman Hathaway inquired on the condition of the railroad track on School Street. Superintendent Free stated that it would have to be grinded down but they will have to work with the State to get approval to fix the track.
Chairman Hathaway stated he would like paved aprons included in the pavement projects. If the streets are going to be paved he would like to see the complete job done.
Superintendent Free stated the last road on his list to be paved is the Thompson Road. It will be paved from School Street to the corner of Prouty Drive. Superintendent Free added that with the remaining funds he would like to add a 25 ft. section to what is already paved out back so eventually the sand pile will end up on the pavement. This will be achieved by doing a little bit each year so that eventually the whole rear to the municipal building will be paved.
Superintendent Free stated he has looked at the Chase Road but feels that the smaller streets are more important. He outlined that he felt Chase Road could wait until next year to be paved. Councilor Cheney inquired on whether it would be ground up or just paved over. Superintendent Free stated that it would probably cost a lot to be ground, currently the price is $41,000 and that doesn’t include the price of grinding.
Superintendent Free stated he chose these streets after reviewing the independent BACTS study. BACTS does a computer layout that scores the streets. Superintendent Free outlined that in 2003-2004 they are proposing do the village. In the village the streets will have to be ground up due to the drainage and curbing. Drainage would have to be brought up and there wouldn’t be any curbing left if they didn’t grind the areas in the village.
Manager Reed stated that after the approval of the budget at Town Meeting, Superintendent Free will sign a contract with Sunrise and get on their list early. Superintendent Free outlined that Sunrise has promised that from the date the contract is signed the roads will be paved within 10 days of the agreed dates.
ITEM 6a. Municipal Building Update
Manager Reed stated that Pete Tuell was in to the office earlier today and wasn’t able to have the plans ready for the Council meeting. He will be meeting with the proposed contractors, CEO Thomas and Fire Chief Martin to go over things again. CEO Thomas stated that a contractor came in to look at the job and stated it would be cheaper to go down a foot instead of up. The concrete would be broken up and hauled out and a new floor placed a foot below the current floor. Drainage will have to be checked on to make sure water won’t run into the building. It is proposed to have one drain per bay. Manager Reed stated that concrete would be removed on a weekend and the only time the trucks would have to be outside is when the concrete being removed and when it is curing. The
process should take less then a week. Manager Reed stated that they would man the trucks 24 hours when they are outside to make sure they are not tampered with.
Councilor Friedman inquired on what this would do to the cost. Manager Reed stated the contractor thought it would be cheaper but a cost has not been calculated yet. Councilor Cheney inquire on whether the pitch from the road was okay, CEO Thomas stated that it is unsure right now. There are a lot of factors that are being examined right now. Manager Reed stated that there will be new siding put on the front of the building. The doors on the side of the Town Office entrance would be blocked up as well. Manager Reed stated that Pete Tuell is hoping to have the design, cost and contractor by the next Council meeting.
ITEM 6b. Manager’s Review
Motion By: Councilor Friedman—to adjourn to executive session for the purpose of discussing the manager’s review. Seconded: Councilor Cheney, Voted 4-0 in favor.
Motion By: Councilor Friedman—to reconvene out of executive session into normal session. Seconded: Councilor Cheney, Vote 4-0 in favor.
Motion By: Councilor Michaels—to enter into a two year contract with a yearly salary of $57,750 with Manager Reed. Seconded: Councilor Friedman, Vote 4-0 in favor.
ITEM 6c. Recommended Lease Purchase Option
Manager Reed stated that when the equipment for Public Work’s truck got approved he started looking into lease purchase options. Manager Reed stated that enclosed with a memo was a breakdown of the CBEC investment fund. It shows that the current fund yields 4.33% on the book of business. He outlined that the Town will be converting the Bar Harbor Choice Cash investment funds into bonds in the coming weeks. Manager Reed stated the Town is looking to acquire new callable bonds that will yield hopefully 6.25% - 7.10%. The fixed income portion totals roughly $700,000 (yielding 4.95%). Manager Reed outlined that the Town has callable bonds coming due soon which will be put back out on the market to rotate. The last bond
the Town converted to cash was a $200,000 coupon that was called away. Manager Reed stated the Town will be buying another coupon to offset that cash. Currently the Town doesn’t have liability it has assigned risk. Manager Reed outlined that the Town’s goal has always been to have a 100 basis point spread between lease commitments and the cash/bond reserves used to offset liabilities. Manager Reed proposed doing a lease purchase on the truck (at 5.10%) and setting aside $50,000 in a bond to offset.
Councilor Michaels inquired on whether the Town’s insurance would be the same regardless of how the truck is paid for. Manager Reed stated it stays the same.
Motion By: Councilor Friedman—to authorize the Town Manager to execute the lease purchase option as outlined in the memo dated June 3, 2002. Seconded: Councilor Michaels, Voted 4-0 in favor.
ITEM 7. Manager’s Report:
7a. A follow up to a memo that Councilor Hathaway had sent Manager Reed earlier in May.
7b. A follow up to a second memo that Chairman Hathaway had sent.
7c. A copy of charts and several graphs that Assessor Thomas had prepared to answer one of Chairman Hathaway’s questions pertaining to the mill rate, the effect on community value which the State uses to determine future State aid revenues and the effect on the taxpayer. Assessor Thomas stated it doesn’t matter what he uses for a mill rate the taxes on a house will stay the same. If he sets the mill rate low it will raise the value of Casco Bay and in turn will have a negative effect on State funding. Assessor Thomas outlined that the correct mill rate protects the Town from loss of State revenues which would increase future tax years bills. Assessor Thomas stated that whether the public’s tax bills are higher or lower has nothing to do with the mill rate it has to do
with the budget that is set each year.
Councilor Cheney inquired on whether CEO Thomas would be staying at 80% valuation. CEO Thomas stated he will probably go up to around 85%. Manager Reed added that CEO Thomas has to stay between 80 – 90% because the Town has seen percentage decreases of 10% in a single fiscal year. It was noted that most towns are at 95%-100% of market value.
7d. A copy of the nomination forms for the MMA Executive Committee.
7e. A copy of a nomination form for the Legislative Policy Committee.
7f. A recommendation from Ms. Gifford, AA, pertaining to the insurance coverage that the Town’s fire equipment has and what the Town will be changing to (agreed value). In general the new coverage will ensure that if a truck is lost that enough insurance coverage will exist that a replacement vehicle can be ordered as soon as possible.
7g. A copy of the building committee minutes
Councilor Michaels stated he counted seventeen classrooms in the existing school. He outlined that the Town and school should be prepared to explain why there may be an addition when there are this many classrooms. Councilor Cheney inquired on when the next meeting would be. CEO Thomas stated it would be on June 20, 2002.
7h. A copy of the school committee’s minutes and agenda
7i. The Fire Department’s monthly report
7j. A copy of a FERC notice that the Veazie project is not dead and has been granted another extension. This project has been going now for 10 plus years.
7k. A copy of demographics for Penobscot county
7l. A copy of demographics for Veazie
ITEM 8. Requests for Information/Council Comments:
Councilor Michaels thanked the Council for having him since this was his last Council meeting. He is interested in starting up a science and robotics club at the school. Chairman Hathaway thanked Councilor Michaels for serving with the rest of the Council and providing valuable insight on Town issues.
Chairman Hathaway mentioned the Senior Dinner that will be held June 5th at 6:00 p.m. at the Veazie Community School. He hoped that all could make it. Manager Reed outlined that Carolyn Hathaway made all the arrangements and set everything up at the school.
Councilor Cheney stated she had a citizen approach her who was unhappy with the police department and a certain officer who is aggressively ticketing and stopping. This citizen feels he is being harassed. Manager Reed stated he did a follow up on the complaint. Manager Reed outlined that the person was pulled over for not having a front license plate, when the officer approached the car he saw that the individual was not wearing a safety belt as well. The officer let him go on the license plate but had to write him a ticket for not wearing a safety belt due to the grant the police department received for safety belt enforcement. Manager Reed stated that the officer’s performance is going to be reviewed to ensure quality service. The
officer has been working double shifts so individuals may see him quite a bit more than the average officer. It was noted that the department is short on officers at the present time.
Manager Reed mentioned that the Town reports went out over the weekend and so far there were no complaints on the delivery.
ITEM 9. Warrants: Town Warrant 26& 26A, Town Payroll Warrant 26, School Warrant 23, School Payroll Warrant 23 and School Lunch Warrant 23 were circulated and signed.
ITEM 10. Adjournment: Motion: Councilor Friedman—to adjourn May 20, 2002, Town Council Meeting. Seconded: Councilor Cheney, Voted 4-0 in favor. There was no further discussion. Meeting adjourned.