PRESENT: Chairman Friedman, Councilor Cheney, Councilor Kelly, and Councilor Hogan, Town Manager B. Reed, CEO A. Thomas, Fire Chief Gerry Martin, Police Chief Leonard, Assistant Clerk K. Humphrey, Budget Committee Members John Manter, Suzanne Hart and Scott Humphrey. Councilor Hathaway was absent and excused.
ITEM 1. The September 22, 2003 Veazie Town Council was called to order at 7:00 PM.
Chairman Friedman congratulated Councilor Kelly on the birth of his grandson and Assistant Clerk Karen Humphrey on her marriage. He also extended thanks to the budget committee members for attending the meeting.
ITEM 2. Consideration of minutes: Motion: Councilor Cheney—to accept September 8, 2003 minutes as written. Seconded: Councilor Hogan, Voted 4-0 in favor.
ITEM 3. Consideration of the Agenda: Councilor Cheney stated she would like to discuss the signage issue for the municipal building. This was added as item 4b. Fire Chief Gerry Martin stated he would like to update the Council on recent grant applications. This was added as item 4c.
ITEM 4a. Police Department Update
Chief Leonard stated that the department is at a call volume of 2106 calls compared to 1122 calls last year at this same time. The department has had a busy year. The department received the vest grant and all vests have been ordered.
Chief Leonard stated that he would like the department to work with the school more. The department had lost its D.A.R.E. officer, however, Officer Miller has been appointed to that position and will be attending the D.A.R.E. training in Pennsylvania. Chief Leonard stated that he would like to have the department get involved with the PTO and have an officer present at their meetings.
Chief Leonard stated he has been working with residents in Greystone Trailer Park to bring together a group of residents to be proactive with problems. There are speeding vehicles and the school bus stop is unsafe. There are around thirty children who wait for the school bus in the morning and a safe place is needed for them to stand. Chief Leonard outlined that a few options are being reviewed. One option is to have the school bus enter the park and make the first loop. The second is to make an area by State Street that would be safe for them to stand. The new park owner has made an interest in building a shelter for the children to wait at. Chief Leonard mentioned moving the sign for the restaurant and leveling the area as another option.
Chief Leonard stated over the past few months the department has lost four officers; two have resigned and two have been lost to two other municipalities. The department has been able to hire one officer since and hopefully will have an additional officer after tomorrow. The department has also hired a new animal control officer from Hermon.
Chief Leonard outlined that the department is still participating in the MDEA program. The department sponsors an officer and then is fully reimbursed by the State.
The Police Department’s budget still appears to be in line. In looking over last year’s budget things came out very well. The department might even have monies to return.
Chief Leonard stated that Veazie has had some high profile investigations and outlined a few of them. He also outlined some future involvements he would like for the department, they included working closer with Veazie residents, a citizen survey and a citizen police academy.
Chief Leonard stated he will be promoting an officer to Sergeant to oversee the department while he is out of work for the birth of his baby.
The only problem Chief Leonard foresees is keeping and attracting people to the department. Hopefully this will be solved by the Town’s wage study. When an officer goes to the academy there is also an issue with having enough staff to cover the shifts.
Councilor Hogan asked if when the Town loses an officer to another municipality whether that municipality reimburses Veazie. Chief Leonard outlined that they do reimburse the Town and Veazie has in fact been reimbursed for two officers. The Town was reimbursed for 60% of what it cost to send the first officer to the academy and to staff while the officer was at the academy. Veazie was reimbursed 100% for the second officer.
Councilor Cheney asked if with the experienced officers leaving and the new younger officers coming in whether the department paid them less. Chief Leonard stated that the department has a pay scale based on experience.
Budget Committee member John Manter asked if the 2100 calls the department has responded to have been categorized and whether the department has the same type each year. Chief Leonard stated that there is a long list of categories for the calls however he does not have the information right in front of him on which category of calls increased or decreased.
Budget Committee Member Suzanne Hart asked whether the officers who left the department left for higher paying jobs. Chief Leonard outlined that they did. He added that he would be working with the Town Manager on a wage study.
ITEM 4b. Signage for Town Office
Manager Reed stated that he, Allan and Butch have gotten together to discuss signs for the Town Office. He outlined that the signs originally designed may not be in compliance with the Town’s sign ordinance. Public Works Superintendent Butch Free has contacted White Sign and they are able to do a wood laminated sign. Manager Reed outlined that there are funds in the sign account the Town just needs to make sure the sign is in compliance. Manager Reed stated that there will be a sign in the main entry and a smaller sign out by the road. Chairman Friedman stated that the Town signs at the Orono and Bangor entrances need to be replaced. He thought a plain sign like other towns have would suffice. Councilor Cheney proposed putting a sign like the school’s at the triangle. This would enable the Town to put up messages for meetings and voting. It could also show the hours of the Town office and the phone number. Manager Reed will look into it and provide information at the next
ITEM 4c. Fire Department Grants
Chief Martin stated that the department has received a FEMA grant for $10,800 which is roughly half of the cost of the thermal imaging camera. Right now the department is researching a co-grant. The cost of the camera is close to $20,000 and the warranty is usually longer than the $15,000-16,000 cameras. One of the main reasons for the camera is the Duke Energy plant, the steam is very dangerous there.
Chief Martin stated that if the department cannot get another grant to put towards the camera they will use monies returned from last years budget which was put into a reserve account to pay the difference. Councilor Cheney asked whether the plant could help towards purchasing the camera. It was mentioned that if the plant knew that the camera was needed they may help with the cost. Fire Chief Martin pointed out that the plant was one main reason the camera was needed.
ITEM 5a. Drainage Study Update
Jim Parker of CES was absent due to illness and will have to reschedule for a future Council meeting.
ITEM 6. Public Comments: CEO Thomas stated that plant manager Gonzalo Garcia came into to review the plant’s taxes. He outlined that they talked for a good hour and he explained the method used by the TIF District to Mr. Garcia after which he paid the plant’s taxes in full.
ITEM 7a. Manager’s Report:
a. The Council reviewed a copy of a news release that the Fire Department sent out pertaining to a grant that was awarded to the Town. Manager Reed outlined that the Town has been successful in obtaining grants and listed some of the grants it has received to date.
b. The Council reviewed a copy of the Fire Department’s monthly report.
c. The Council reviewed a copy of a Town event calendar.
d. The Council reviewed a copy of the revised 2003-2004 Goals and Objectives list.
e. The Council reviewed a copy of the Town’s latest workers compensation experiencing rating.
f. The Council reviewed a copy of a letter from Adelphia regarding their rate increase.
g. The Council reviewed a letter received from concerned parents about the Greystone Park bus stop. Manager Reed discussed tort issues and buses on private ways with the Council. Chairman Friedman stated he would like to see some improvements to the trailer park and would like to encourage the new owner to do so. He stated he would like to see progress reports from CEO Thomas every two months on the condition of the park.
ITEM 8. Requests for Information/Council Comments:
Councilor Cheney asked how tax collection was coming. Manager Reed stated the Town has collected 80% of taxes. Personal property is 99% collected and real estate is 60% collected.
Councilor Cheney asked what was going into the old RPM Auto building. Manager Reed stated a chiropractor from Old Town was relocating his practice there.
John Manter stated that the Conservation Commission held a site walk on the McPhetre Farm lot on Saturday, September 6th. All forest work has been completed on the lot and there is new bridging and trail systems. The Town Forester has developed new maps and the commission would like to find a way to get them out to the public.
ITEM 9. Warrants: Town Warrant 6 & 6a, Town Payroll Warrant 6, School Warrant 6, School Payroll Warrant 6, and School Lunch Warrant 6, were circulated and signed.
ITEM 10. Adjournment: Motion: Councilor Hogan—to adjourn the September 22, 2003 Town Council Meeting. Seconded: Councilor Cheney—there was no further discussion. Voted 4-0 Meeting adjourned at 8:00 p.m.