PRESENT: Chairman Hathaway, Councilor Cheney, Councilor Friedman and Councilor Hogan; Manager Reed, Assistant Clerk K. Gifford, Police Chief Mark Leonard, CEO A. Thomas, Deputy CEO John Ellis, Superintendent of Public Works Butch Free, Parks & Recreation Director Rosemary Freese, Parks & Recreation Committee Member Joan Perkins, Superintendent Tom Perry, Principal Scott Nichols, School Committee Members: Julianne Simone, Rebecca Wetherbee, Duska Hayman and Hilary Stewart-Reed; Budget Committee Members John Manter and Suzanne Hart; Sewer District Trustee Brian Perkins, Penquis CAP
Representative Steve Mooers, Members of the Public Glen Kennedy of Eastern Maine School of Self-Defense and Anthony Saucier of the Bangor Daily News. Councilor Kelly was absent and excused.
ITEM 1. The March 24, 2003 Veazie Town Council was called to order at 7:00 PM.
ITEM 2. Consideration of minutes: Motion By: Councilor Cheney —to accept March 10, 2003 minutes as written. Seconded: Councilor Hogan, Voted 3-0-1 in favor. Councilor Friedman abstained due to his absence at the March 10, 2003 Council meeting.
ITEM 3. Consideration of the Agenda: Councilor Friedman recommended moving item 6a to the beginning of the agenda. It was placed as the first item under new business.
ITEM 4. Public Comments: There were no comments from the public.
ITEM 6a. CEO-Penquis CAP - Discussion
Manager Reed outlined that Penquis CAP was requesting a letter of non-action regarding a set back matter that had come to their attention during the final inspection of the project. CEO Thomas stated he would sign off on the matter if the Town Council authorizes him to do so and if the abutter agreed, which they had. A letter was given to the Town by the abutter’s attorney outlining the support.
Motion By: Councilor Hogan—to authorized the Code Enforcement Officer to sign off on the letter of non-action as submitted for review and inspection of the Town Council dated March 10, 2003. Seconded: Councilor Friedman, Voted 4-0 in favor.
ITEM 5a. Budget Roundtable
Manager Reed stated that revenue sharing should stay about the same. Per capita income increased as well as community value. Manager Reed outlined that the Town’s community value is still off by 15-20%. Home sales keep proceeding the Assessors projections. Excise collections are doing well, the slow down on car sales hasn’t been felt until this month.
Superintendent Tom Perry stated that school revenue is looking pretty bleak. The State budget is in its final stages. He outlined that Veazie is losing about 28% of funding, roughly $328,000. However, that is not the final number. Superintendent Perry stated that there is a cushion of $3,000,000 for communities who are receiving less funding this year but there is a $16,000,000 shortfall among all communities losing funding. Superintendent Perry stated that there will also be less carryforward this year. Next year there will be 12 additional secondary students going to high school so tuition costs will be high.
Councilor Friedman inquired on the estimated amount of carryforward. Superintendent Perry stated it should be more than $50,000. Councilor Friedman also inquired what the cost is per secondary students. Superintendent Perry stated it is around $6,700 for public schools and private schools will be 10% more than that.
Superintendent Perry stated that Veazie is the city/town with the highest percentage loss of State aid and the city/town with the highest percentage community value increase. Chairman Hathaway inquired on the number of projected students for the next school year. Superintendent Perry stated that they are projecting 113 high school students and around 180 for K-8.
Superintendent of Public Works Butch Free stated that he is trying to keep his budget the same as last year and his capital budget will be considerably less.
Police Chief Mark Leonard stated he is trying to do the same, however, there will be a capital increase for bulletproof vests. It is now State law that the vests must be replaced every five years.
Parks & Recreation Director Rosemary Freese stated that her department will be keeping their budget the same as well.
ITEM 5b. Community Center Proposal
Manager Reed outlined that Glen Kennedy was the only individual who went through the whole RFP process and submitted a proposal. Over fifty RFPs were sent out. The proposal submitted did address a number of the requirements that the Town was looking to have addressed. Manager Reed outlined that the slow economy may have played a part in the low submission number as well as the buildings location and limited parking.
Glen Kennedy stated that he is looking to use the space for what it has always been used for. The downstairs will be updated, he is not looking to tear the building apart and rebuild. Glen Kennedy outlined that the building is perfect for what his business does. The area where the seniors meet could be turned into a tutoring space or meeting space for organizations. He outlined that he has been approached by many people who are looking to rent space.
Manager Reed outlined that Glen Kennedy opted for an investment over time which is detailed on pages 7-9 of his proposal. If his proposal is approved the Town would give the building to him on a lease agreement so that he has management control of the facility.
Motion By: Councilor Friedman—to table this item until further review and discussion. Seconded: Councilor Hogan, Voted 4-0 in favor.
Councilor Friedman stated he would like to get through the budget and then deal with the community center. It was the consensus of the Council to plan on discussing the subject again at the first meeting of the new fiscal year.
ITEM 5c. Manager’s Review - Annual
Manager Reed stated that enclosed in the Council packets was a review form used for all employees. Chairman Hathaway asked the Council what process they would like to use for the Manager’s review. In the past one person has been appointed to meet with the Manager and convey feelings of the board and discuss performance issues and concerns.
Councilor Friedman stated he would like to be the one to sit down with the Manager. He stated he would contact each Council member to discuss concerns.
ITEM 5d. Equal Employment Opportunity – Revised Policy
Manager Reed outlined that management staff attended a seminar on management and personnel practices. The Town is in the process of beginning a review of current policies and making revisions. The policy that stood out the most was the Equal Employment Opportunity Policy. The Town’s statement lacked part of section c. Maine Municipal Association asked the Town to review the policy and use specific wording.
Motion By: Councilor Cheney—to accept the proposed revised Town of Veazie Equal Employment Opportunity Policy as submitted. Seconded: Councilor Hogan, Voted 4-0 in favor.
ITEM 6b. Dang Counteroffer
Manager Reed outlined that Councilor Kelly would like this discussed when he is present.
Motion By: Councilor Friedman—to table discussion on the Dang counteroffer until a future meeting: Seconded: Councilor Hogan, Voted 4-0 in favor.
ITEM 7. Manager’s Report
a. Manager Reed outlined that there was a surprised visit from the Department of Labor. There were no major matters, all minor issues are currently being addressed. The Fire Department had one safety violation which was fixed immediately. The Police Department had a fire extinguisher past date, a replacement was purchased.
b. Manager Reed stated that he had a meeting with Gary Brooks, Superintendent of the Sewer District. The Council reviewed a copy of the district’s Town assessment and annual audit.
c. The Council reviewed a copy of the Veazie Sewer District’s minutes.
d. The Council reviewed a copy of a letter from Adelphia outlining gross revenues and their franchise fee payment to the Town based on sales.
e. The Council reviewed a copy of the Orono-Veazie Water District’s minutes.
f. The Council reviewed copies of letters sent to the Town’s representatives in support of LD 279.
g. The Council reviewed a copy of a thank you letter from the Police Department to the Fire Department.
ITEM 8. Requests for Information/Council Comments:
Councilor Cheney commented on a house that had a lot of trash on the front yard. Deputy CEO John Ellis stated that a lot of the trash has been frozen in the snow and ice and could not be removed. However, as it is thawing in the warm weather it is being removed as it loosens.
ITEM 9. Warrants: Town Warrant 19 & 19A, Town Payroll Warrant 19, School Warrant 19, School Lunch Warrant 19 and School Payroll Warrant 19 were circulated and signed.
ITEM 10. Adjournment: Motion: Councilor Friedman—to adjourn March 10, 2003, Town Council Meeting. Seconded: Councilor Hogan, Voted 4-0 in favor. There was no further discussion. Meeting adjourned at 8:25 pm.