PRESENT: Chairman Friedman, Councilor Kelly, Councilor Cheney and Councilor Hogan, Town Manager B. Reed, CEO Allan Thomas and Assistant Clerk K. Humphrey, Superintendent of Public Works Butch Free, John Banks (Penobscot Nation), Gordon Russel (U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service), Jeff Reerdon (Trout Unlimited), Laura Rose Day (Penobscot Partners), Scott Hall (PPL), Richard Davies (Office of the Governor), Peggy Schaffer (Dept. of Econ. & Comm. Development), Ralph Keef (Maine Council), Allison Keef (Maine Council ), Andy Goode (Atlantic Salmon Federation); Members of the Public Lindsey Delia, Ashley
Geisheker, Kyle Fortinsky, Gayland Hachey. Councilor Hathaway was absent and excused.
ITEM 1. The February 9, 2004 Veazie Town Council was called to order at 7:00PM.
Chairman Friedman took a moment to recognize the journalism students that were in attendance.
ITEM 2. Consideration of minutes: Motion: Councilor Cheney--to accept January 26, 2004 minutes as written. Seconded: Councilor Hogan, Voted 2-0-2 in favor. Chairman Friedman and Councilor Kelly abstained due to their absence.
ITEM 3. Consideration of the Agenda: There were no additions to the agenda.
ITEM 4a. PPL Presentation - River Restoration
Scott Hall from PPL was present along with many others to give a presentation on the Penobscot River restoration project. Scott Hall outlined that the project is a conceptual agreement between many parties. There are a handful of components, one of which involves an option to purchase PPL's three plants (Howland, Great Works and Veazie). The intent would be to remove the Great Works and Veazie dams and to alter the Howland dam. This will compensate PPL as well as replace 90% of the energy lost from the three dams and gain fish passage. Another component deals with the Penobscot Nation Indians of whom there is a conceptual agreement with.
Scott Hall outlined that back in Cotober they announced the conceptual agreement and in April of this year they expect to have the final agreement. The final agreement will outlined the particulars and provide a road map of where the group hopes to go from here. Currently the process has a time line of five years, however, realistically the group is a number of years away from anything happening, i.e. the dams being removed.
Dick Davies from the Governor's Office, who is serving as Governor Baldacci's liaison on this project, stated that an important aspect of this project is salmon spawning. Access for the salmon to move up the river will be increased. He outlined that Veazie could suffer some consequences for instance the loss of tax dollars if the dam is removed. However, he discussed funds that wouuld be available to communities who are impacted by this project.
Councilor Cheney stated that she would be in favor of preserving the Penobscot River. She wondered if the project would bring jobs to the area and how the closing of the Great Works dam would affect the Georgia Pacific mill. She also wondered how the removal of the dam will affect the Bangor/Brewer waterfront and what will happen to the sediment that has been sitting at the bottom of the river for so long.
Scott Hall stated that he doesn't know all of the answers and that is why everyone needs to work together to find the answers to the many questions surrounding this project. He noted that it will not have a negative impact.
Manager Reed outlined that the tax effect is very small for Veazie compared to other towns who may have a higher effect.
Jeff Reerdon stated that a group of engineers has been hired and they are out on the rivers doing surveys. Currently the ice is not thick enough to get out on the river so it will be spring before they are able to get samples from the river bottom to find out what type of sediment lies on the floor of the river. He outined that they are anticipating that there won't be much there. Some of the soft material on the rivers floor may be areas where things have accccumulated. Two questions asked will be "is it contaminated" and after the removal of the dam "is it likely to move." There are a lot of questions, but they will all need to be answered before anything happens. For instance, a lot of people wonder what the river will look like after the dams have been
removed. Jeff Reerdon outlined that there is a photographic imaging that can predict what the river will look like during spring thaw, during the summer, etc.
John Banks stated that a survey was done behind the Milford dam and there were no sediments found that could hold contamination. It appears that during spring thaw everything gets 'scoured' out.
Dick Davies discussed the Howland area and how they are thinking about the impact of the dam removals. Some fish that haven't made it that far up the Penobscot River in over a 100 years could now begin to migrate up there. The people in the area are thinking about how the removal of the dams could start a new industry of fishing tours, boat rentals, lodging, restaurants and fishing supplies.
It was noted that the more the river moves, the quality should upgrade and should move in that direction for years to come. People would be more inclined to built boat docks and porches facing the river. Dick Davies noted that there is a steep slope down the river going towards Bangor and perhaps when the dams are removed and the river is opened up that there could be white water rafting.
CEO Allan THomas inquired as to what parts of the dam will be removed. Jeff Reerdon stated that as much as possible will be removed to improve the river and increase fish passage.
Member of the public, Lee Giles, asked if Scott Hall could be more specific about the 90% replacement of energy lost. Scott Hall stated that turbines from the two removed dams would be added to the already existing Orono and Stillwater power houses to increase power. He noted that this would bring some short-term jobs opportunites to the area to construct the two power houses.
Chairman Friedman outlined that he supported the project and it made sense environmentally.
ITEM. 4b. Senior Dinner Discussion
Manager Reed stated that Sandra Patterson gave him two possible dates for the Council to sponsor a dinner for the Senior Citizens Club. These dates were Wednesday, March 3rd, and Wednesday, April 7th. It was the consensus of the Council to hold a dinner on April 7th.
ITEM 4c. Assessor's Quarterly Update
CEO Thomas was present to review his quarterly update and answer any questions the Council may have. THe former Painting Place has been converted into a chiropractic center. In about a month John Ellis will be present to address the Council on NPDES Phase II and stormwater issues. CEO Thomas also stated that he had received a lot of complaints over the past month about low water pressure and instances of no water at the Greystone Trailer Park. Park management has since located the problem and resolved it.
ITEM 5a. Spring Cleanup Discussion
Superintendent of Public Works Butch Free provided the Council with a list of items that can be collected at the Hazardous Waste Collection in Bangor in October. Public Works could collect florescent bulbs at their garage while brush, bagged leaves, freon items and white goods would be collected curbside. Residents could take their demo, old furniture, tires and mattresses to Waste Management for disposal. They would be required to pay a fee for a each item. Light metal, microwaves, white goods and freon items could also be taken to Industrial Metals.
After discussion the options available to Veazie residents, Superintendent Free made the following recommendation: Public Works would collect brush, leaves, white goods ($10 each), freon items ($15 each), tires with no rims ($2 each) and mattresses ($10 each). For each item with a fee the resident would have to purchase a permit at the Town Office to place on the item in order for it to be collected. Brush limits would also be set as well as weight limits on bagged leaves. Demo and old furniture will be the responsibility of the resident to take to Waste Management.
Manager Reed outlined that the office could send out a newsletter relating to just spring cleanup. It could explain the disposal problems as well as the costs and outline the new system and provide maps to the various disposal locations. Chairman Friedman stated that he would like to see the information provided on the Town's website as well.
Councilor Cheney mentioned that Bangor has a truck that sucks the leaves right up off the side of the road and suggested the possibility of Veazie utilizing such a machine. Superintendent Free stated that he could talk to Bangor and see if the Town could possibly lease it.
Councilor Hogan and Councilor Kelly both stated that they didn't think the Town should collect white goods or tires. Councilor Kelly outlined that when most people purchase a new appliance they have the option of paying a small fee for the delivery drivers to take their old one for them. He also mentioned that when you have new tires put on your car the garage can also dispose of the tires for you.
Member of the Public, Lee Giles, recommended slowly making changes to spring cleanup otherwise you will have people just dumping their items anywhere they can. It was noted by the Council that regardless of when you make the changes you will still get people dumping items.
Motion By: Councilor Hogan--to revise the spring cleanup collection items to only limited curbside brush and leaves. Florescent bulbs and ballasts will still be collected at the Veazie Public Works garage and all other items will have provided disposal sites. Seconded: Councilor Kelly, Voted 4-0 in favor.
ITEM 6. Public Comments: There were no comments from the public.
ITEM 7. Manager's Report:
a. The Council reviewed a copy of "Where We Are on Goals and Objectives 2004."
b. The Council reviewed a copy of Penobscot County's Annual Report and proposed county tax.
c. The Council reviewed a copy of a letter that the Sewer District sent the Town pertaining to various developments' acceptance dates, also included was the Town's reply.
d. The Council reviewed a copy of the Town's most recent Workers Compensation Experience Rating ending 12/02/2003. The Town has decreased its rating from 1.18 to 1.01.
e. The Council reviewed a copy of the Town's fourth quarter investment portfolio standings.
f. The Council reviewed a copy of a letter from Small Woodland Owners Association of Maine regarding the Town's recent certification.
g. The Council reviewed a copy of the 2004 Town Meeting and Elections schedule.
h. The Council reviewed a copy of the Bacts Tracts.
i. The Councl reviewed a copy of the Police Department's quarterly report.
j. The Council reveiwed a copy of the Fire Department's monthly report.
k. The Council reviewed a copy of the School Committee's agenda and meeting minutes.
l. The Council reviewed a copy of an invitation to an open house to welcome Catherine M. Conlow, the new Town Manager of Orono.
ITEM 8. Requests for Information/Council Comments:
Councilor Cheney inquired whether Manager Reed was still communicating with Sewer District Superintendent Gary Brooks on a regular basis. Manager Reed stated that over the winter there weren't any real issues to discuss so there has been limited communication. Councilor Cheney inquired whether he was regularly communicating with Superintendent Tom Perry. Manager Reed outlined that he and Superintendent Perry meet once a week.
Councilor Cheney mentioned that there seems to be some confusion regarding the school lunch debt with the School Committee. Manager Reed stated that the Town Auditor explained the issues to Superintendent Perry and that he had provided Superintendent Perry with information to give to the School Committee.
Manager Reed outlined that there seemed to be some miscommunication between the Town and the Sewer District regarding the acceptance of developments. Councilor Hogan recommended meeting with the Sewer District's trustees. It was the consensus of the Council to invite the trustees to either the February 23rd meeting or the March 8th meeting.
ITEM 9. Warrants: Town Warrant 16, Town Payroll Warrant 16, School Warrant 16, School Payroll Warrant 16 and School Lunch Warrant 16 were circulated and signed.
ITEM 10. Adjournment: Motion: Councilor Hogan--to adjourn the February 9, 2004 Town Council Meeting. Seconded: Councilor Cheney--there was no further discussion. Voted 4-0 in favor, Meeting adjourned at 9:03 p.m.