PRESENT: Chairman Hathaway, Councilor Michaels, Councilor Cheney; Town Manager B. Reed, Deputy Treasurer Julie Reed, CEO Allan Thomas, Principal Scott Nichols, Assistant Clerk K. Gifford. Councilor Friedman and Councilor Kelly were excused.
ITEM 1. The March 11, 2002 Veazie Town Council was called to order at 7:00 PM.
ITEM 2. Consideration of minutes:
Motion By: Councilor Michaels--to accept February 25, 2002 minutes as written. Seconded: Councilor Cheney, Vote 2-1 in favor. Councilor Cheney abstained from voting due to not being present.
ITEM 3. Consideration of the Agenda: There were no additions made to the agenda. Councilor Michaels stated he was looking through the notes and didn't see a performance list, usually Manager Reed provides a list of what has been accomplished. Manager Reed stated he has one but it is still being revised. Chairman Hathaway stated the performance list can be discussed under item 6b.
ITEM 4a. Public Comments: There were no comments from the public.
ITEM 5a. Audit Review
Deputy Treasurer Julie Reed was present to provide an update and answer any questions the Council may have. She stated that the Town auditor Charemon Willey-Staples would be more than happy to come back and answer any questions as well. Julie Reed added that where as Councilor Friedman wasn't present at the last Council meeting or this one, Charemon Willey-Staples would be more than happy to come back when he is present.
Julie Reed stated that she and Charemon Willey-Staples are in the process of trying to get timely financial reports to the Council. There are still adjustments that need to be made. Where as there are two separate companies now when in the past there was just one checking account for the school and Town. Julie Reed stated that she and the auditor were under the impression that the software company had set up the school lunch program as a separate company when in actuality it had not been. Therefore the checks were posted on the Town account and not the school lunch company.
The lunch account has a fairly high balance in it, that is because there are some adjustments that need to be made. The lunch program owes the Town general fund some $45,000 plus or minus. Julie Reed pointed out that her and the auditor found quite a few areas of concern, for instance some checks that in the system that say they were voided actually weren't. Julie Reed stated that July, August and September need to be reviewed since the creation of the two companies (School and Town) in October. Julie Reed stated that the chart of accounts has been set up so that it systematically groups things together by account number. So for instance if you wanted a report of how much FICA or Medicaid has been paid out for each department you could do so.
Julie Reed stated the Town is very close to being up to date and correct. There are a few stumbling blocks so to speak, for instance finding the two checks that the computer says were voided. She detailed that it is going to take a lot of manual work.
Julie Reed stated that from October 1st forward everything has been in balance. From December 1st and on everything has come out of the right account. The school payables have come out of the school payables account and school lunch warrant has come out of the school lunch account. The problem right now is that there is no way to combine the two companies. There needs to be a third company set up so the two entities can intertwine. This will hopefully be in the near future. Julie Reed stated that once the software goes to a Windows based version it might be easier to "criss-cross" the two companies.
Julie Reed stated that all the department heads have been given a copy of their budget and where it stands at the present time, and they have given back a copy of what they have to compare. Chairman Hathaway inquired on whether Julie Reed would be able to call up a report to see what the total expense for FICA was for each department. In other words, the actual expense and not a prorated figure. Julie Reed stated yes that was possible. Chairman Hathaway asked if when the two companies get online whether it would be possible to see expenses like FICA for police, fire, executive and the lump sum of the school. Manager Reed stated there is a firewall between the two companies right now to prevent data corruption. Once everything is caught up and unified a third company
can be created to provide combined records as detailed by Julie Reed.
Manager Reed stated that Julie has taken over the position of Deputy Treasurer officially back in October. She has put a lot of time and hard work into bringing the Town records up to date. Julie Reed stated she found 31 properties that she had to release liens on because they have paid their taxes but had not been released from the lien. Julie Reed went over prior year's collectibles for taxes. Chairman Hathaway inquired on the total real estate taxes still outstanding. Julie Reed stated they are $42, 475 approximately which is extremely low.
Councilor Cheney inquired on whether the individual the Council had given a tax payment plan break was back on track. Manager Reed stated she isn't, however she has until April 1st, 2002.
Chairman Hathaway stated he would like to get some part-time clerical help to address some of the issues in the Management letter. For instance get a list together of all the equipment. Chairman Hathaway stated the Town needs a good system of purchasing, tagging equipment and a procedures manual. Chairman Hathaway brought up the idea of perhaps getting an intern from Husson to focus on special projects. These issues need to be addressed once and for all and current employees don't have enough time to address these things. The Town needs to put some money into getting some part-time accounting help. Councilor Michaels stated an accounting intern isn't going to have any advice on a procedures manual, it is a quality issue, the Town needs an accounting consultant.
Councilor Michaels stated a good place to start is with the software. In the book that comes with it, it states that "this is the PO process" and "this is the reconciliation process".
Manager Reed stated that only one person can do certain jobs, there is a separation of duties, this is done to prevent corruption of the books. Chairman Hathaway pointed out however that this is real life and sometimes you don't have enough people. Manager Reed expressed that the separation of duties were very important and every effort will be made to ensure the standards.
Chairman Hathaway stated that the Council would like to receive a monthly report, picking a different department each month.
Chairman Hathaway inquired on how the Town should deal with the detail concerns moving forward. Manager Reed stated that it is broken down now where one person inputs the warrant, one person runs the checks and a third person checks them. Manager Reed added that the Town has a very good control system. Chairman Hathaway stated that if the Town isn't in a total quality system a control system needs to be initiated. It should be assigned when you place an order. Manager Reed stated that that usually happens. Julie Reed stated that the process was instituted the first of October.
Councilor Michaels stated that we need to have hard copies of documentation that something has been done. Manager Reed stated that the problem with that it is creates a lot of excess paper. Chairman Hathaway and Manager Reed brought up the subject of purchase cards which had been discussed at the prior Council meeting. Purchase cards would eliminate excess paper.
Chairman Hathaway stated that the big issue is to get the things on the management report taken care of. If that means getting some extra help then so be it.
ITEM 5b. Prebuild Conference Report
Manager Reed stated that the Prebuild Conference Report is a quick overview and summary of what changes were made to the truck. Manager Reed pointed out that he was very impressed with Firefighter Jim McCrum. He took a lead role at the prebuild conference. Jim McCrum also has engineering designs for what is going to go in each storage compartment, which will hopefully minimize the amount of changes that will need to be made in the future.
Manager Reed stated that the Fire Department will probably lose the heat camera because its cost was $20,000 and the changes to the truck which equaled some $11,000 will be deducted from the loose equipment allowance. The list of loose equipment still hasn't been finished and will be reviewed shortly by the department. A lot of the things the department representing did pick out were things that if the department hadn't done the site visit they wouldn't have picked out the flaws and needed equipment. For instance the backup camera that was added to the order will allow them to see behind them when backing up. Councilor Michaels inquired on whether the camera had sound as well. Manager Reed stated he didn't think it did but would ask. Councilor Cheney asked if a team of
our firefighters went to Florida and how many. Manager Reed stated that a total of 6 people went to Florida. Manager Reed stated he thought the trip went really well and that there is another trip planned for some time around July to go down and inspect the truck prior to shipment. Manager Reed also pointed out that if the Councilors wanted to see pictures, the firefighters had made a collage of pictures on the wall by the Fire Department.
Chairman Hathaway stated that he wasn't convinced that a side entrance to the building was the best way to go. Manager Reed stated that Jim Parker dropped off 3 options of what could be done for renovations to accommodate the quint. Both options however would put the bays out of service for a few months during the construction period.
Manager Reed added that Councilor Friedman would like to have a special meeting on March 18th to discuss this issue along with the public safety issue. Chairman Hathaway stated he thought a side entrance wasn't a good idea. It would be much easier to just drive out the front of the building. Manager Reed stated that fixing the door is the simplest way and will work for the time being. The real issue is that the drivers the Fire Department has now aren't professional drivers none of them are commercial certified. There is a tight turning radius coming out of the building. Manager Reed added that the future goal is that drivers driving the new truck will be commercial certified. The main issue is still the turning radius, that is why Jim Parker,
President of CES has come up with 3 different design approaches.
Chairman Hathaway stated that if we are going to put money into this project lets do it right. Councilor Michaels stated we would anticipate this as a capital project. Manager Reed stated that there is the issue of where to put the trucks during the construction period. It is going to be at least a couple of months. Councilor Michaels added that the Council needs to prioritize, there are 200 families that will complain that there is an overcrowded school and nothing is being done.
ITEM 6a. Budget Schedule Review
Manager Reed stated that as the Council is aware Tom Perry s family had a loss which delayed a school committee meeting and discussion of several important topics. Manager Reed also pointed out that he will not be present on March 25th for the Council meeting. Manager Reed stated that Councilor Friedman would like to have a special meeting on March 18th to discuss the fire department building and the public safety director. Chairman Hathaway suggested having the Public Forum which was originally scheduled for this meeting on March 25th. Councilor Michaels wanted to know if there would be packets for the meeting on March 18th. Manager Reed stated yes. Councilor Michaels almost inquired on whether there would be packets for the
public forum on March 25th and whether they could be sent out the prior Wednesday to allow for any questions before Manager Reed departed town. Chairman Hathaway inquired on the time of the workshops on the Budget Meeting Schedule. They are scheduled at 6:30PM, Chairman Hathaway stated 7:00PM would be better for him. Consensus was that the budget meetings will run from 7:00PM to 10:00PM.
ITEM 6b. Manager's Review
Chairman Hathaway inquired on the process. Traditionally everyone fills out an evaluation and turns it in. Then one person sits down with Manager Reed and provides one traditional score. Manager Reed stated he would get a list of accomplishments and current projects to the Council by Friday, March 15th. It was decided the Councilors would try to get their evaluations into Chairman Hathaway by Monday, March 18th and Chairman Hathaway would sit down with Manager Reed to go over his evaluation. The Manager's Review will be added to the agenda on March 18th.
ITEM 7. Manager's Report:
7a. A copy of a letter to Supt. Thomas Perry from Douglas Richard Architects on the prospect of an addition to the Veazie Community School. In general the school board will be taking this matter up at its next meeting. Manager Reed detailed that he has been working with Tom on obtaining quotes for a lease purchase for the project. The addition as currently proposed would be very cost affordable for the Town.
Manager Reed stated the addition in the long run would be cheaper then portable classrooms. He is trying to work with Tom Perry to address concerns. Councilor Michaels asked if the Town could solicit the State on some of the costs. Councilor Michaels commented on the cost of $72,000 for site development, Councilor Cheney was under the impression that it had already been done. Manager Reed stated there is a lot of site work that will have to be moved Chairman Hathaway inquired on the enrollment. Manager Reed stated the enrollment is suppose to be declining from two studies conducted last year, but the numbers seem to be changing. Chairman Hathaway pointed out that there is no state aid for this and it is a $666,000 project that the people in Town are going
to have to pay for. Manager Reed stated the School Committee thinks the enrollment is going to skyrocket in the coming year due to growth. Councilor Michaels stated it is the classroom count that is driving it, 25 kids in one class is too much. Manager Reed stated that the idea of portables is not favorable and reflects poorly on the community and affects community value. Manager Reed stated the school can spend $60,000 to get a full design and be ready to construct in short order. Councilor Michaels inquired on what money would pay for this. Manager Reed stated it would be school funds. Chairman Hathaway stated we should get a design and budget first.
7b. A copy of the computation of unit allocation to fund public schools for the State of Maine Department of Education was enclosed for your review. The good news is that Veazie in the coming year will be at about last years level as long as the Governor's budget request is approved.
7c. A copy of a letter from Joe Stevens, the Executive Director of the Girl Scouts pertaining to an award that will be given to Ms. Ostrofsky.
Councilor Cheney inquired on whether the Council had done or will do something for Kathryn Ostrofsky.
7d. A copy of a memorandum from Deputy Clerk Beckie Woods pertaining to the purchase of an electronic ballot counter.
7e. A copy of the minutes from the Water District's February 6, 2002 meeting
7f. A copy of a letter to Mark Janicki on the shallow well located on Mutton Lane, which is now on Town property. Manager Reed explained that the water supply was located on Town property and the Town should not allow Mr. Janicki to use it. Mr. Janicki will be or has had his own well drilled on his own land.
7g. A copy of an article from the Bangor Daily News on the Senior Housing Project
7h. A copy of the Fire Department's January and February monthly reports.
7i. An FYI copy of the Master Municipal Lease and Option Agreement on the Fire Truck. Manager Reed pointed out that Suntrust had just purchased the Mortgage from MSG.
7j. Manager Reed stated this item did not get put in the packet but would like to address it. It is a conference at the International Foundation Investments Institute to fulfill his CEUs. Manager Reed explained he needed the CEUs to get certified. Councilor Cheney inquired on how many CEUs he would get for this conference. Manager Reed stated 32. Councilor Cheney also inquired on how many CEUs he needs to be certified. Manager Reed stated a total of 126. The Council will discuss it further at the next meeting.
ITEM 8. Requests for Information/Council Comments:
Councilor Cheney commented on the trailer park. She had gone to pick up some Girl Scout cookies there and noticed a lot of trash in the yards and a lot of junk cars. CEO Allan Thomas stated he would drive through the following day.
Councilor Cheney also commented on the street sweeper she saw on Chase Road and State Street. The walkers really appreciate it.
Councilor Cheney additionally commented on an article she read in the Bangor Daily News about the confiscation of weapons from an individual up the road from her in a trailer park. She wanted to give "kudos" to the Police Department.
Chairman Hathaway stated that a dinner was promised to the seniors. He suggested holding it at the Veazie Community School and having the cafeteria staff put it on.
Councilor Michaels commented on perhaps purchasing adjacent property to the school for instance Crowe International and making it into a music and arts studio. It would be cheaper then an expansion.
ITEM 9. Warrants: Town Warrant 19 & 19A, Town Payroll Warrant 19, School Warrant 17, School Payroll Warrant 17, and School Lunch Warrant 17, were circulated and signed.
ITEM 10. Adjournment: Motion: Chairman Hathaway--to adjourn March 11, 2002, Town Council Meeting. Seconded: Councilor Michaels , Voted 3-0 in favor. There was no further discussion. Meeting adjourned.