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Council Minutes September 8, 2003

PRESENT:        Chairman Friedman, Councilor Hathaway, Councilor Cheney, Councilor Kelly, and Councilor Hogan, Town Manager B. Reed, CEO A. Thomas, Police Chief Leonard, Fire Chief Martin, and Asst. Fire Chief Tenney, Citizens: Mark Humphrey and Donald MacKay and Office Administrator J. Reed.
        
ITEM 1. The September 8, 2003 Veazie Town Council was called to order at 7:00 PM.

ITEM 2. Consideration of minutes: Motion: Councilor Kelly to accept August 11, 2003 minutes as written. Seconded: Councilor Hogan, Vote 4-0-1 in favor.

ITEM 3. Consideration of the Agenda:  Changing the name of Chickadee Lane to Chickadee Drive was added as item 4e.

MMA appointments were added as item 5c.

ITEM 4a.        Compensation and Job Classification Study (Proposal): Manager Reed provided an overview of his efforts to find existing wage studies and explained that MMA does not conduct wage scale classifications and wage studies any longer although MMA did provide information for companies that conduct wage studies. He outlined that D. Gallant & Associates had given the Town a proposal to conduct a wage study for the Town of Veazie.

Manager Reed described what the study would consist of and the costs of the study. Manager Reed stated that D. Gallant could present a proposal at a future council meeting if it were the Town Council’s wishes.

Councilor Cheney asked what the cost of the study would be. Manager Reed outlined that there were phases to the wage study and separate costs associated with the phases. The job description phase could be eliminated because the descriptions were all updated recently. Eternal and internal equities are the main issues at hand at this point of time, from his perspective.

Councilor Hathaway voiced that Veazie is unique and does not need to spend $7500 to get information the Town already has. The Town competes with Bangor, Orono, Old Town and know it needs to be competitive to keep skilled staff members. Chairman Friedman stated that he wanted to echo what Councilor Hathaway stated.
        
Chairman Friedman suggested meeting with the staff members prior to the department head meeting to get information from the individual’s working frontline. He also stated that he would like to be present for the meetings or, for a member of the Town Council to meet with staff from all departments.
        
Another councilor expressed that only management should meet with the employees.

Chief Martin was asked if the past wage study and departmental redesign had helped to motivate his department. Chief Martin stated that the members of the fire department are striving to better educate themselves and acquire higher ranks within the department.

The consensus of the Town Council was to decide to keep the study in-house.

Chairman Friedman asked for a time line Manager Reed stated that December was the goal to have a draft evaluation completed.


ITEM 4b.        Assessor’s Report: CEO Thomas stated that the property values are increasing at about 1.5% per month if not more and that property assessments were raised this year. Councilor Hogan stated that he likes to see the values go up and the mill rate go down but the taxes are still going up and he wanted to know how the town can get meaningful input. Manager Reed stated that the predicted mill rate was 16.8-17.3 but once values were raised 5-10%, which is still well below market values, the mill rate came in at 16.3.

Manager Reed outlined how the mill rate continues to go down because of the increased values of property within the community.

Manager Reed stated that the Storm Water Management Plan has been sent into the State.

CEO Thomas outlined that this is a continuing document and it will continue to change as it is developed. Councilor Cheney asked that the public be informed more about this type of material so that there would be a better understanding of why monies are needed to provide for this type of project. CEO Thomas stated that this information will be provided on the major channels, the local access channel and also on the regional government access television channel as well.

ITEM 4c.        Governor’s Competing Measure: Manager Reed explained the handouts relating to the Governor’s plan for State Aid to Education. Manager Reed explained that he went into shock and called Supt. Perry when he saw the estimated figures on how much State Aid Veazie would lose under the Governor’s proposed plan. Under the plan Veazie loses some $800,000 because of the removal of the circuit breaker and hardship cushions.  He also called the Town’s State Representatives and they stated that the percentage of losses are very great for the Town of Veazie. Mary-Ellen Ledwin stated that she would do what she could to help Veazie in this plan.

Manager Reed outlined that Tom Perry will work with the school board to follow up on the school funding initiatives.

Councilor Hathaway stated that the Governor’s plan will place more of the costs on to the communities. Councilor Hathaway expressed that after ten years MMA reached out to the legislature to change one word in the school state funding law from “should” to “shall” fund 55% of the school funding. Tinkering with the system he feels it is wrong. The word “shall” would affirm MMA’s proposal and make the monies available.

Motion: Councilor Hathaway to reaffirm the Citizen’s Initiative, the MMA plan--Seconded: Councilor Cheney Vote 5-0 in favor.

ITEM 4d.        Fire Department Parking Ordinance Request: The Fire Department  asked that the current parking ordinance be amended. The department would like to add verbiage to the ordinance to mandate parking in a cul-de-sac illegal. The Fire Department is concerned that in the event of an emergency situation it is important for the areas to be clear for emergency vehicles. Manager Reed explained what the process would be to change the current ordinance. The proposal would have to go to the Planning Board and then to Public Hearing after which time the Planning Board would make a recommendation to the Council for final action.

Councilor Hathaway asked what actions were being taken at this time in regards to people parking in the cul-de-sacs. It was outlined that there is not a mechanism in place at this time to do anything other than ask people to move their vehicles. Manager Reed stated that the winter parking ban would be in effect soon and more “no parking” signs were being ordered but the summer parking problem still needs to be addressed.  
        
Councilor Cheney stated that she felt that it would be difficult to ban all parking in the cul-de-sacs because there are a lot of them in town. Councilor Hathaway stated he would like to see additional information on the problem and to look at some of the narrow streets. Asst. Fire Chief Tenney explained that the problem is that the new ladder truck is very long and therefore turning on the cul-de-sacs is difficult and if there are vehicles obstructing the way it makes it difficult for the driver of the truck.  Councilor Hogan explained that if it is the wishes of the Council to study this it is an issue for the Planning Board. Councilor Cheney would like to see some educational information go out to the public and see if there is volunteer cooperation rather than make it illegal. Councilor Hogan asked for a deadline for additional information. A decision was made to act within 45 days.

ITEM 4e.        Street Name Revision--Chickadee lane to Chickadee Drive: The Town Council reviewed the CEO’s update on the conflict of the street name.

Motion: Councilor Hogan – To approve the name revision of Chickadee Lane to Chickadee Drive Seconded: Councilor Cheney Vote 4-1-0 Councilor Hathaway abstained.

TEM 5a. Goals and Objectives FY 2003-2004: Manager Reed outlined the goals and objectives had been compiled and that even though there are numbers beside the goals there is not any significance to the listing. A decision was made to revise the goal list with bullets rather than numbers

ITEM 5b.        EAP Project follow-up: Manager Reed outlined where the Town is with the EAP program. A representative met with small groups last week and will continue to meet with all departments. The fire and police will meet with the EAP representative during a future training and there will also be a department head meeting. Councilor Hogan asked if there was a plan in place to reiterate the programs availability on a yearly basis so that the employees know that the program is available to them. Manager Reed stated there was a plan in place to review the program on a yearly basis.

ITEM 5c.        PVCOG appointments: Manager Reed outlined who had held the positions in the past and that the terms were up and new nominations needed to be done. He state that the organization meets once a month. Chairman Friedman asked if there were any interested parties. Councilor Cheney offered to fill the position with Councilor Hogan to be the alternate for the elected official appointment. Manger Reed would serve as the non-elected member.

ITEM 5d.        MMA elected Delegated Official: Chairman Friedman was elected as the official to serve for the Town of Veazie and will attend the October 8th meeting. Manager Reed will also attend. The official ballot was passed and signed.

ITEM 6. Public Comments: Scott Humphrey stated that he felt that an important employee benefit is job security. He expressed the possible need to create an attrition policy.

On the cul-de-sac situation he stated that between now and the next meeting the situation could be monitored to see if there are some areas worse than others and post one or two with no parking signs.

There were no other comments from the public.
                
ITEM 7a.        Manager’s Report: The Town Council reviewed the Manager’s Report.


ITEM 8. Requests for Information/Council Comments: Chairman Friedman expressed his desire to have the Town evaluate positions and departments. It was noted that the Police Department would be meeting with the Council next meeting.

Councilor Cheney asked how the Conservation Commission’s Town Forest Hike turnout went on Saturday. Councilor Kelly stated that 12-15 people arrived initially and a few could not stay for the whole tour of the forest. She then asked if there will be maps of the trails available.

Manager Reed outlined that the Town was seeking out additional grants for the project and that a Woodcock Habitat Grant had been applied for.

Councilor Cheney asked if the fence in front of the cemetery was going to be fixed soon. Manager Reed stated that Public Works is working on finding the appropriate replacement material.
        
ITEM 9. Warrants: Town Warrant 5, 5a & 5b, Town Payroll Warrant 5, School Warrant 5, School Payroll Warrant 5, and School Lunch Warrant 5, were circulated and signed.

ITEM 10.        Adjournment: Motion: Councilor Cheney--to adjourn the September 8, 2003 Town Council Meeting. Seconded: Councilor Hogan-- there was no further discussion.  Voted 5-0 Meeting adjourned at 8:23 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Julie D. S. Reed
Office Administrator


 

Town Office: 1084 Main Street, Veazie, ME 04401
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