PRESENT: Chairman Hathaway, Councilor Cheney, Councilor Michaels, Councilor Friedman and Councilor Kelly, Town Manager B. Reed, CEO A. Thomas, and Assistant Clerk K. Gifford. Assistant Fire Chief Carl Tenney; Police Chief Mark Leonard; Superintendent of Schools Tom Perry, Principal P. Scott Nichols; School Committee Members: Peggy Lewis, Andrea Ostrofsky, and Rebecca Wetherbee; Water District Trustee James Parker
ITEM 1. The January 14, 2002 Veazie Town Council was called to order at 7:00 PM.
ITEM 2. Consideration of minutes: Motion By: Councilor Kelly to accept December 17, 2001 minutes as written. Seconded: Councilor Friedman, Vote 4-0 in favor. Councilor Michaels refrained from voting due to his absence at the December 17, 2001 Council meeting.
ITEM 3. Consideration of the Agenda: Manager Reed asked that two items be added to the agenda. First, a discussion on the appointment of a Water District Trustee. This was added as Item 6b. The second was a discussion on the foreclosure on the Kimberly Miller property. This was added as Item 6c.
ITEM 4a. Public Comments: There were no comments from the public.
School Committee Workshop: Superintendent of Schools Tom Perry first started by complimenting on the municipal services that the Town of Veazie provides. Tom Perry stated that it was nice to see that the departments could work together in a cooperative manner. Tom Perry identified a few things he wanted to discuss with the Council. The first was enrollment and long range planning of community growth. Another issue was the DARE program. Tom Perry stated he had been informed that an officer will no longer be available to instruct the program. Tom Perry added that perhaps the Veazie Police Department might be interested in taking the program on.
Tom Perry outlined that the School Committee has a Five Year Plan. Councilor Cheney stated she would like to look over the plan. Tom Perry gladly provided each Council member with a copy of it. Tom Perry pointed out that the plan is fairly specific in the early years and more general in the later years, which eventually becomes more specific as time goes by. Tom Perry pointed out that the transportation change has been accomplished and they also expanded the implementation of the foreign language program.
Councilor Cheney inquired on whether Tom Perry and the School Committee talked to the parents of former Veazie students as to their opinion on whether the Veazie schools prepared them for high school. Tom Perry stated that they conduct a comprehensive survey and in fact some of the responses received led to some of the items on the Five Year Plan. For example, the foreign language program, such a program did not exist until last year. Councilor Friedman stated that he felt the school did an excellent job preparing the kids for high school, he also stated the teachers were very caring. Councilor Friedman asked Tom Perry what the Council could do to ensure that the kids get the best education. Councilor Michaels suggested a high school yearbook for the kids of Veazie as a way
to support them. Tom Perry stated that some kids do struggle but we have an excellent Rec. Department that provides some additional support to kids. The more ways the school can get kids connected the better they will stay connected. Councilor Cheney stated that once a kid goes off to Orono or Bangor to high school they are still the community s children. Councilor Cheney thought a youth center geared towards high school kids would be nice. Councilor Cheney mentioned a center that participates with the police department and offers peer help, perhaps like a pool hall. Peggy Lewis stated that the Town and the School need to continue to work together as one unit and with the new school that has been helping.
Chairman Hathaway asked Tom Perry whether they had figures for the items on the five-year plan. Tom Perry stated that they did, however he did not have them with him but they could be provided in the future. Chairman Hathaway stated he would like to see the capital costs vs. program costs.
Councilor Friedman stated he thought the Town should help on matters such as new soccer fields or facilities, these things should be also be included on the Town s budget as well as the school s budget. Andrea Ostrofsky stated that the school has a track program now but they don t have all the facilities to do everything so the kids are transported over to Orono to use theirs. Andrea stated that she wasn t saying the school should build a full track, but rather the smaller things like a pit for throwing shotput and such.
Chairman Hathaway stated that the DARE officer is gone forever. The Penobscot County Sheriff s Department was having trouble keeping officers on the street so they had to pull their officer from the program. Peggy Lewis stated she could see the benefit of having it as a local project. She feels it would be a stronger connection if its between Veazie Police and kids. Police Chief Mark Leonard stated that so many officers come and go and that for the DARE program you must have 2 years experience prior to the academy. Mark Leonard stated that the Town doesn t have officers that have that experience. However, Mark Leonard stated that he is looking into a former DARE instructor who is retired to come into the Veazie Police Department and take this program on.
Chairman Hathaway inquired on the enrollment this year. It was stated at 204, slightly down from last year according to Principal Scott Nichols. Tom Perry stated that secondary enrollment was 99 on October 1st, 43 private tuition students and 56 public tuition students.
Chairman Hathaway inquired on whether Bangor was only taking students by application. Tom Perry stated that it is more complicated then that, Bangor is anticipating restrictions on tuition students, however they haven t said they wont take anymore or when they are going to impose limitations.
Chairman Hathaway stated the Town and school need to find out where the Town is going with development and plan for it. If it comes in smaller pieces it allows the Town and school to plan for growth. Water District Trustee James Parker stated that the age of the population changes, the Town is an older community with few kids, but that will change to a younger community with more kids and will keep fluctuating.
Councilor Cheney inquired on what the comfortable capacity is of kids that the school can handle. Peggy Lewis stated that it would be 12 classrooms times 22 kids, which would be 264. Councilor Cheney then asked if the school needed to expand what would be their first need, portables or an addition to the building. Peggy Lewis stated that it would depend on growth, if growth continued they would need to add on to the building, if there one was one year of growth a portable would suffice. Andrea Ostrofsky stated that the music space, gym, lunch room and library can handle growth, it is only classrooms that would be needed.
Chairman Hathaway mentioned perhaps having a newsletter from the Veazie Community School to the community. Something once or twice a year just to let the community know what is going on at the school.
Chairman Hathaway also mentioned a few things at the school that he was concerned with. Chairman Hathaway thought the driveway was too narrow, the ponds out front are unattractive, there is erosion by the basketball courts and the bricks around the patio are losing ground. Chairman Hathaway stated perhaps the Town and school can come up with some funds to repair these things.
Andrea Ostrofsky stated she had concerns over deadwood falling out of trees in the play area. Manager Reed stated that every spring the Town has someone go out and remove all the deadwood. There is a safety audit by Lucas to audit all the public space in Town.
Chairman Hathaway outlined that the State is in period where dollars are not flowing freely into school systems, money is pretty much maxed out. Tom Perry stated that state funding is complicated to understand. There are three factors in state funding. The first being students, money should follow enrollment. Another factor is community wealth, the term the State uses is fiscal capacity, the value of the total property divided by the total number of students. The third factor is median family income.
ITEM 5a. Municipal Release Kerrie Maxell Matter
Manager Reed stated enclosed in the Council packets was information pertaining to the former Jones property. The Town had wanted to relieve itself of the property over the past several years but as it was known, Kerrie Maxell (Jones) had been awarded a claim on the property. Manager Reed stated that interested parties had contacted her attorney, John Bunker, over the past several years. The Town was requiring that any parties interested obtain a claim release from Kerri Maxell (Jones). Attorney Silver contacted the Town about a month ago and served notice that a client of his was in negotiations with Kerri Maxell s attorney, John Bunker. Manager Reed further stated that the Town blessed the discussions and
outlined what the Town would require for the settlement to move forward. Bright Bridge Ltd., represented by Attorney Silver, purchased Kerrie s interest in the property and has paid all of the back taxes due and the additional administrative service cost.
Councilor Friedman inquired what the property was going to be used for. Manager Reed stated that the Greystone trailer park owner bought the property. They planned to fix it up and rent it. Councilor Friedman also inquired on whether the Town had actually been paid yet. Manager Reed stated the Town had received a check.
Councilor Cheney inquired on the size of the lot. CEO Thomas stated he thought it was around one acre.
Motion By: Councilor Cheney to authorize the Town Manager to execute the municipal quit claim deed on the Town Council s behalf for the property located 1490 State Street known as the Stone House formerly owned by Freeland Jones, Bonnie and Steven Jones, account #347 to Bright Bridge Ltd. Seconded: Councilor Hathaway, Voted 5-0, in favor
ITEM 5b. MSG - Resolve
Manager Reed stated that Article 6.01 details that this is a lease and not a debt. Exhibit E states the 4.23% interest rate. Manager Reed also stated that the Town s attorney will have to look over Exhibit B. Manager Reed stated as far as Exhibit G goes MMA will provide an add-on insurance policy.
Motion By: Councilor Friedman to resolve attachment entitled Exhibit A Resolution of Governing Body Extract of Minutes and authorize the Town Manager to execute all necessary documents pertaining to the lease agreement under all terms and conditions that he or the Town s legal counsel deem necessary and appropriate. Seconded: Councilor Kelly, Vote 5-0 in favor.
ITEM 5c. Fire Department Retention Plan
Manager Reed stated that each department has had their job descriptions and wage rates reviewed in an effort to improve retention of personnel. Manager Reed outlined that Assistant Fire Chief Carl Tenney has met with individual call members of the department and has concluded that there is a division within the department, professional long term membership vs. basic level membership. Manager Reed stated that the Assistant Fire Chief Carl Tenney, Fire Chief Gerry Martin and himself are recommending the elimination of the call department and treat the membership as regular part-time staff under the newly proposed wage scale.
Assistant Fire Chief Carl Tenney stated that there are 22 members, 14 currently certified FFIIs, 4 FFIs and 10 EMTs. There are two things apparent. First, recognition, members don t feel they are being recognized efficiently by the department. Second, the current pay scale is from the 1997 time frame. The pay scale is also based on the department s full time people. Carl Tenney stated the department would like to do away with different standards and have everyone set to the same set. Councilor Friedman inquired on how many members fall into each level. Carl Tenney stated there are two at Level 1, four at Level 2, seven at Level 3, five at Level 4 and two at Level 5. Carl Tenney stated he would fall into Level 6 and he wasn t sure where Fire Chief Gerry
Martin would fall.
Councilor Friedman stated he liked the building block approach mentioned in Carl Tenney s memorandum included in the Council packet. Councilor Friedman also stated that he would like skill added to the end of the first sentence in the fourth paragraph.
Councilor Cheney inquired on who would make the evaluation out. Carl Tenney stated it would either be Fire Chief Gerry Martin or himself. Councilor Cheney also wanted to know if the department has a job description they go by for the evaluation. Carl Tenney stated the department has a set of guidelines they put out. Each member will be given an evaluation in order to move up a step.
Councilor Cheney inquired on how Carl Tenney came up with the 5% wage increase. Manager Reed stated that it comes from the standard methodology on pay raises for Town employees. Chairman Hathaway inquired on whether the whole process was being pulled together for the whole Town. Manager Reed stated that all job descriptions are in the Town Charter book. The Police Department and Office Staff are already done and Public Works is next.
Motion By: Councilor Friedman to authorize the Town Manager to implement the newly proposed integrated fire department wage scale effective March 1, 2002. Seconded: Councilor Michaels, Vote 5-0 in favor.
ITEM 6a. Audit Review
The Town s auditor, Charemon Willey-Staples could not be present, the audit review will be moved to the next meeting, January 28, 2002.
ITEM 6b. Reappointment of a Water Trustee
James Parker was present at the Council Meeting. Manager Reed stated that he had received an email from James Parker stating his term on the Orono Veazie Water District expired on December 31, 2001 and would like to be reappointed at the pleasure of the Council. A copy of this email was added to the Council packets as Item 6b.
Motion By: Councilor Cheney to reappoint James Parker to Water Trustee. Seconded: Councilor Michaels, Vote 5-0 in favor.
ITEM 6c. Kim Miller Foreclosure
Manager Reed asked the Council to review Item 6c which was added to the Council packet. Manager Reed stated the individual who wrote the letter summarized why she broke her payment arrangement. The individual was asking for an extension on this foreclosure. Manager Reed asked for authorization to allow a 90 day extension on this foreclosure. Councilor Kelly inquired on whether the Town makes man agreements with Veazie residents on these sort of issues. Manager Reed stated yes. Councilor Friedman wanted to know if this would be the second extension. Manager Reed stated it would be and that there was only one other person who was allowed a second extension. Councilor Friedman wanted to know how much Kim Miller owed and how much the Town has collected from
her. Manager Reed stated the amount owed was estimated around $800 and she had made several payments prior to her inability to make payment. Manager Reed stated that Kim Miller will not receive a full release until all taxes are relieved.
Motion By: Councilor Michaels to authorize the Town Manager to issue a 90 day extension to Kim Miller on her foreclosure. Councilor Kelly asked that a stipulation be included in the letter of what the Town requires with this extension. Seconded: Councilor Kelly, Vote 3-1 in favor. Councilor Cheney refrained from voting.
ITEM 7. Manager s Report:
7a. A copy of all of the finalized contracts pertaining to the Senior Housing Project. This is also to serve as back up for the $200,000.00 wire transfer that is on the Town warrant under Community Investment Project.
7b. A letter from the sewer district pertaining to the purchase of two to four lots in Veazie Park and Allan s reply. They will be scheduled to attend the February 11th Council Meeting.
7c. An update from MMA on the projected Revenue Sharing figures. The Council should note that the Town revised it s figures last April in the budget process due to the weakness at that time. The revised figure will still exceed the Town s budgeted figure.
7d. A memo from the Public Works director updating the Town on the meeting with GZA and the department s action plan
7e. A memo from the Public Works director outlining that it was a good thing that we hadn t sold the truck yet
7f. Minutes from the Water District
7g. School Committee Minutes & Agenda
7h. A letter from Shelley updating the Town on Adelphia s services and revised rates
7i. A newspaper article outlining that many southern Maine communities are moving to a 50% set a side and cluster housing to preserve open space and rural settings.
ITEM 8. Requests for Information/Council Comments:
Councilor Cheney wanted to thank the Town Office for letting the Care Club put a box in the office to collect food. Councilor Cheney also stated she appreciated the note in the Town s newsletter letting residents know the box was in the Town Office for donations. Councilor Friedman recommended Manager Reed write a letter to the Care Club to recognize their efforts.
Chairman Hathaway asked that Manager Reed write a letter to the City of Bangor addressing the Chase Road bridge. Maintenance, such as grinding down the approaches to each side of the bridge, needs to be done.
ITEM 9. Warrants: Town Warrant 15 & 15A, Town Payroll Warrant 15, School Warrant 13, School Payroll Warrant 13, and School Lunch Warrant 13, were circulated and signed.
ITEM 10. Adjournment: Motion: Councilor Kelly to adjourn January 14, 2002, Town Council Meeting. Seconded: Councilor Friedman, Voted 5-0 in favor. There was no further discussion. Meeting adjourned.