PRESENT: Chairman Friedman, Councilor Kelly, Councilor Hathaway, Councilor Cheney and Councilor Hogan, Town Manager B. Reed, Police Chief Mark Leonard, Assistant Fire Chief Carl Tenney, Captain Pete Metcalf, Firefighter Nicholas Sirois, Firefighter Sarah Bateese, Firefighter Rick McQuade, Public Works Superintendent Butch Free, Parks & Recreation Director Rosemary Freese, Parks & Recreation Committee Members Joan Perkins, Sherrie Patterson, Michael Laferriere and Susan Laferriere, Budget Committee Members John Manter and Suzanne Hart, CEO Allan Thomas and Assistant Clerk K.
ITEM 1. The January 12, 2004 Veazie Town Council was called to order at 7:00 PM.
ITEM 2. Consideration of minutes: Motion: Councilor Hogan—to accept December 1, 2003 minutes as written. Seconded: Councilor Friedman , Voted 3-0-2 in favor. Councilor Hathaway and Councilor Kelly abstained due to their absence at the meeting.
ITEM 3. Consideration of the Agenda: There were no additions to the agenda.
ITEM 4a. Discussion of West Old Town Landfill Traffic Impacts
Manager Reed explained that the West Old Town landfill has become a hot topic of discussion, in particular the rumored traffic impacts. Manager Reed stated that he had attended an informational DEP/MDOT meeting. MDOT outlined that due to the low volume of traffic generated from the facility that MDOT really did not know which standard to use in its evaluation process, however, they are looking from Hampden – north as the “review area”. The estimated “peek period impact” would be five trucks per hour. Manager Reed noted that the empty trucks would return via the interstate because they would be below the 80,000 lb. weight limit. Currently, the chosen route is through Brewer (Rt9/178) because of it’s higher speed limit and few traffic lights. He
outlined that MDOT had explained that they cannot tell trucks what route to take as long as they are on state highways and the proposed mode of travel is legal. He outlined that the contractor stated that requiring the loads to be shipped in smaller trucks so they could travel on the interstate would cost 30% more annually and would translate into a $5 to $8 rate increase in tipping fees for PERC.
Manager Reed explained that during the meeting it was outlined that the landfill purchase and sales agreement is very complicated. It is a three way agreement between Georgia Pacific (the seller), the State (the buyer) and Casella (the operator).
Councilor Cheney outlined that she had attended a PVCOG meeting where this was discussed in detail and noted Brewer’s discontentment with the travel route. It was noted that BACTS would be taking up the discussion on interstate weight limits at its next policy meeting.
ITEM 4b. Senior Housing Rental Discussion
Manager Reed stated that he had received a letter from Stephen Moores of Penquis CAP regarding the annual additional rental agreement between the Town and the housing partnership. He outlined that in the first year the Town only paid $500.00, which was the estimated figure that was calculated in the beginning of the development. That figure was based on one weekly night meeting. The proposed additional rent change of $12,000 includes items that were not included or stated in the non-exclusive lease agreement. Manager Reed recommended that the Town Council not agree to the proposed costs and that the Town remit a revised proposal based on the actual usage of one night a week.
Councilor Cheney inquired whether any other group used the community room and whether they were charged a fee. Manager Reed stated that he did not think any other groups were using the room on a regular basis. Consensus of the Town Council was for the Town Manager to remit a letter reflecting their surprise in the increase.
ITEM 4c. Tax Foreclosure Property Discussion
Manager Reed passed out a copy of a letter from John Bunker expressing his clients wish to work with the Town on the foreclosure of a property in Veazie. The last date of redemption is January 16th. Manager Reed outlined that the Town’s attorney is reviewing the foreclosure and calculating a reasonable administrative cost for Mr. Bunkers client
Motion By: Councilor Hogan—to authorize the Town Manager to execute quit claim deeds for all property that the Town acquired for the non-payment of taxes under such terms and conditions as he and the Town Attorney may deem advisable and prudent. Seconded: Councilor Kelly, Voted 5-0 in favor.
ITEM 5b. Parks & Recreation Department Update (taken out of order)
Director Rosemary Freese publicly recognized the Parks and Recreation Committee for all their hard work. She outlined that they are in a very busy basketball season, following a very busy soccer season. Over 70 children are participating in grades K-5. She did have over 80 children at one time but have a lost a few to hockey and such. She was pleased that she had so many volunteer coaches.
Director Rosemary Freese stated that the department has a very active adult program. Monday is women’s basketball and there are seven women registered. This year men’s basketball was divided into two different nights, one for ‘under 40’ and one for ‘40 and over’. There are a total of 36 men registered for both nights. Thursday night is co-ed volleyball and there are 22 individuals registered.
Director Rosemary Freese outlined that the after-school program is growing. There are 50 children registered and she has an average of 27-28 daily. In February the department is hoping to have a skating/sledding family day. The department will also be holding its annual family Valentine’s dance on February 13th.
Chairman Friedman stated that on behalf of the Council they are very proud of the committee and Rosemary Freese for doing such an excellent job.
ITEM 5a. Wage Scale Review
Manager Reed stated that he and the Police Chief went with a proposed wage scale period of a four year period due to possible inflation concerns. He outlined that the revised wage scale is pre-adjusted for inflation.
Manager Reed explained the process in determining the wage scale. The data collection pool was from well over 90 plus communities. The data collected was summarized by finding the median, average, standard deviation and average deviation. In their review they decided to use the median as the positions’ mid-point value due to the median being less sensitive to extreme values. They then used the standard deviation as the sampling’s fluctuation or variance factor. The total volatility of the pay range for the positions was then created within the standard deviation factor +/- the median value.
Chief Leonard stated that in coming up with the merit steps he went in line with what the fire department did with theirs. This gives the officer a chance for upward mobility while continuing their education. Chief Leonard stated the thought this new scale would help retain employees due to its comparability to other local agencies.
Councilor Cheney inquired what the increase would be for this new wage scale. Chief Leonard stated it would be about a $5,000 increase in the budget however, to make up for it he is eliminating three part-time positions. Currently there are four full time officers and three part-time. He outlined that he is planning on adding one more part time officer. Last year there were eleven positions in the department and he has now cut it back to eight. He has also changed the shifts from eight hours to twelve hours.
Councilor Cheney inquired whether there is much overtime. Chief Leonard stated that there is minimal. With the loss of personnel and being short staffed there was overtime this year, however, now with the twelve hour shifts there should be minimal overtime.
Motion By: Councilor Cheney—to accept the proposed wage scale for the Police Department. Seconded: Councilor Hogan, Voted 5-0 in favor.
ITEM 5c. Public Works Department Update
Public Works Superintendent Butch Free stated that the department has been busy as usual. It recently had an OSHA inspection and had no write-ups. The inspector stated that Veazie’s Public Works Department was the most improved he had ever seen. All members of the department have had training and are all updated on the hazardous waste mandates.
Superintendent Butch Free stated that an issue that needs to be addressed is deciding what should be done with televisions and computers. He noted that last year during spring cleanup he had so many units that it cost over $1,200 to dispose of them.
Superintendent Butch Free outlined that the department built fourteen new bridges that were placed on the nature trails behind Fairview Cemetery on the McPhetre farm lot.
He outlined that cemetery piping has been repaired several times. When it comes budget time the Town should think about running a new watering system underground.
The tree budget will be over this year due to windstorms and aging trees in Town. Nine trees alone have fallen down in the cemetery. Superintendent Butch Free added that the Town needs to look into finding a compost site. A study was done by CES on a compost site next to the sewer treatment plant.
A quote for paving behind the municipal building was also completed by Sunrise in the case that the Town decides to get a salt shed.
Councilor Cheney noted that she has received compliments from residents who moved here from out of state on the snow plowing. One was a doctor who needed to get to the hospital during the last big storm and was able to get there.
Councilor Hathaway stated that the spring clean-up issue needs to be addressed. It is unrealistic to continue to expect the manpower, the sorting, the disposal and the costs.
Superintendent Butch Free stated that it is getting harder to sort things out in the time allotted. Right now he has allotted one week per section and it is getting hard to get a whole section finished on time.
Councilor Hogan stated that the Town needs to be verbal in getting information out to its residents.
Chairman Friedman asked Superintendent Butch Free to get together a list of costs for the disposal of items during spring cleanup.
Councilor Hathaway outlined that there seems to be an issue with mature trees in town. He recommended having a survey done of the town and coming up with an estimate of removing the necessary trees and limbs.
Superintendent Butch Free stated that he would also put together an estimate on replacing the cemetery piping.
ITEM 5d. Fire Department Update
Assistant Chief Carl Tenney stated that the department received multiple grants this year. One was for the purchase of a thermal imaging camera and another was from Maine Municipal Association.
Recently the department had an employee graduate from First Responder school. The department is also working with Orono on joint department trainings. The Orono Fire Department has already come down for a training at the power plant.
The department participated in the Veaize 150th celebration and has met with various groups in the community to have blood pressure and glucose screenings and provide fire extinguisher training.
Councilor Hathaway inquired whether the department was still doing pre-plans with businesses in town. Assistant Fire Chief Carl Tenney stated that they are and they are currently working with Veazie Car Care.
ITEM 6. Public Comments: There were no comments from the public.
ITEM 7. Manager’s Report:
a. The Council reviewed a six month finance statement provided by Deputy Treasurer Julie Reed. Manager Reed noted that she is going to put together a workshop in February for the budget committee and town auditor.
b. The Council reviewed a memo from Communications Coordinator Karen Humphrey on the status of the Town’s website and TV channel.
c. The Council reviewed a copy of the Pine Tree Development Zone Information/Application package. Manager Reed outlined that the Town is unable to apply due to the fact that the Town does not own any property and it has the inability to keep a specific development site on the market. The Town will continue to work with EMDC on the Penobscot Development Corridor.
d. The Council reviewed a draft of a Park Use Ordinance which the Conservation Commission will be reviewing.
e. The Council reviewed a booklet on participating in the MDOT’s planning process.
f. The Council reviewed a copy of the Fire Department’s monthly report.
g. The Council reviewed a copy of a thank you letter to Captain Pete Metcalf.
h. The Council reviewed a copy of the school committee’s agenda and meeting minutes.
i. The Council reviewed a copy of an article from the Maine Sunday Telegram which overviews the report which recommended the disbanding of school unions due to cost differences. The committee discussed this at their last meeting. Will be following this matter closely. Have not received official report.
j. The Council reviewed a copy of the audited financial statements from Risk Management Services of MMA.
k. The Council reviewed a copy of a notice from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission regarding the Veazie Hydroelectric Project.
Manager Reed outlined that at the next meeting PPL’s Director, Scott Hall, will be present to give an overview of the proposal to remove the Veazie Dam.
ITEM 8. Requests for Information/Council Comments: There were no requests for information or comments.
ITEM 9. Warrants: Town Warrants 12, 12A, 13 & 14, Town Payroll Warrants 12, 13 & 14, School Warrants 12, 13 & 14 School Payroll Warrants 12, 13 & 14 and School Lunch Warrants 12 & 13 were circulated and signed.
ITEM 10. Adjournment: Motion: Councilor Cheney—to adjourn the January 12, 2004 Town Council Meeting. Seconded: Councilor Hogan—there was no further discussion. Voted 5-0 Meeting adjourned at 8:30p.m.