PRESENT: Chairman Friedman, Councilor Hathaway, Councilor Kelly and Councilor Cheney, Town Manager B. Reed, CEO Allan Thomas and Assistant Clerk K. Humphrey, Fire Chief Gerry Martin, Veazie Sewer District Superintendent Gary Brooks, Bangor Daily News Reporter Aimee Dolloff. Councilor Hogan arrived late and was excused.
ITEM 1. The February 23, 2004 Veazie Town Council was called to order at 7:02 PM.
ITEM 2. Consideration of minutes: Motion: Councilor Cheney—to accept February 9, 2004 minutes as written. Seconded: Councilor Kelly, Voted 3-0-1 in favor. Councilor Hathaway abstained due to his absence.
ITEM 3. Consideration of the Agenda: There were no additions to the agenda.
ITEM 4a. Regional Planning Grant
Manager Reed outlined that the Town has worked with EMDC to see if a planning grant is possible. Due to the Town’s situation it would score very low and would be ineligible due to the lack of LMI status. The Town is trying to get other communities together to apply for a regional grant. Howland is currently the only town who has said they will work with the Town.
A brief overview of the proposed grant includes a basic outline, an overview, a problem statement and a development of strategy. EMDC has already committed up to $4,000 of EDA funds to assist the Town with this regional application project. The Town has been considered the lead community and will be holding a regional public hearing on March 2, 2004. Manager Reed stated that the grant needs the Council’s endorsement and at least one individual to serve on the planning committee.
Manager Reed outlined that the planning grant would be for $10,000 and the Town would then reapply for the second phase grant.
Councilor Cheney stated that she hoped that the Town could get community involvement and hear the opinion of the residents. She recommended putting information on the cable channel and website.
Chairman Friedman stated that he would like to serve on the committee unless another Councilor would like to.
Motion By: Councilor Cheney—to endorse the Regional Penobscot River Restoration Development Planning Community Development Block Grant and to also authorize the Town Manager and/or his designee to be the Town’s representative for the regional planning committee. Seconded: Councilor Hathaway, Voted 4-0 in favor.
Councilor Hathaway mentioned that there were a lot of old proposals on recreation, walking trails and etc. that should still be valid today.
ITEM 4b. Tax Cap Discussion
Manager Reed stated that in their council packets were copies of two articles, one from the Portland Herald Press and another from the Bangor Daily News. Also included in the packets were copies of the proposed legislation on the tax cap. Special assessments would be eliminated under this legislation therefore the county tax and sewer assessment would no longer be passed along via the property tax. In Veazie, the estimated proposed tax cap law would mean that the Town’s allowed mill rate would be in the ballpark of 12 mills; 10 mill max and 2 mills for voter approved debt service. This in turn means that the Town would have roughly some $600,000 in lost revenues. The major problem is the proposed roll back to the 1997-1998 property tax values. The Town of Veazie has never assessed
property at 100% of market value so the figures would be greatly distorted.
Manager Reed outlined that Maine Municipal Association would be putting together an impact statement for the communities in the association.
Sewer District Superintendent Gary Brooks mentioned that when the tax cap issue came about it was going to be on the June ballot and now it looks like it is going to be on the November ballot. Manager Reed outlined that some of the Governor’s staff is pushing for the June ballot and the tax cap action group is pushing for the November ballot. Maine Municipal Association doesn’t want it on the June ballot with their tax initiative because it will just cause confusion for people and be another A, B or C vote.
ITEM 5a. Review of Where We are on Goals & Objectives 2004
Manager Reed stated that enclosed in the Council packets was a revised and updated “Where We Are on Goals and Objectives 2004” report. A few things were overlooked in the last submittal and were added to this revised copy. The overview gives a good idea of all the things the Town has completed or is currently working on.
Councilor Cheney asked if Tom Davis had been around Town lately. Manager Reed stated that Mr. Davis had met with the community master planner along with Stan MacMillian and Barney Silver. Terrance Dewan and Amy Segal wanted to meet with the three major land owners in Town to get input on their perspectives on future development.
Councilor Cheney inquired on whether Manager Reed had been involved in the pursuit for a new superintendent. Manager Reed stated that he has provided limited feedback. He added that Tom Perry has been a great superintendent and he hates to see him retire.
Manager Reed stated that prior to the meeting Councilor Hogan had inquired whether there was any new information concerning the additional rent on the Graham School Senior Housing. He outlined that the Town has not received any response to the letter remitted to the partnership.
Councilor Cheney inquired about whether there would be an expansion of senior housing. Manager Reed stated that there have been discussions with Penquis C.A.P. in the past, however, the funds are not there for it. He outlined that in the future the Town would like to charge a fee on new developments for affordable housing.
Councilor Hathaway inquired whether the Town was taking any kind of proactive approach towards regional consolidation. Manager Reed outlined that he had spoken with the Town Manager of Orono.
It was noted by Chairman Friedman that it seemed to be that it comes down to unionized and non-unionized departments. Councilor Hathaway stated that inevitably it may come to consolidation and the Town should “test the water” so to speak. It was noted that the Town does participate with regionalism on 1) traffic lights with the Bangor Electrical Department, 2) Regional Dispatch, 3) Regional Hazardous Waste Collection, 4) Regional State Planning with PVCOG and 5) Regional CBDG applications.
Councilor Hathaway stated that he would like to see an additional item in the goals and objectives and list: redevelopment issues with Greystone Trailer Park. He would also like to invite the park manager to a meeting to establish a working partnership to improve the park.
Councilor Friedman stated that he was concerned for Veazie’s Fire Department. When the Masonic Building burned down the only reason the department was not called to assist was because it is a non-union department. Veazie has wonderful equipment and well trained personnel and it was not utilized.
ITEM 6. Public Comments: There were no comments from the public.
ITEM 7. Manager’s Report:
a. The Council reviewed a copy of the Citizen’s Guide to Dams, Hydropower and River Restoration in Maine. This was a follow-up to last Council meeting’s river discussion.
b. The Council reviewed a copy of a letter that the Town sent to the Sewer District following up on a phone call made last week.
c. The Council reviewed a copy of an article about the Veazie Viking Science Club.
d. The Council reviewed a copy of a letter from the Lands for Maine’s Future Board pertaining to the Caribou Bog grant application.
e. The Council reviewed a copy of PVCOG’s long range strategic plan.
ITEM 8. Requests for Information/Council Comments:
Councilor Cheney suggested recognizing the Veazie Viking Science Club for their win at the Lego Contest. Manager Reed stated that he could invite Raymond Michaels and his club to a Council meeting to present them with a certificate of recognition.
ITEM 9. Warrants: Town Warrant 17 & 17A, Town Payroll Warrant 17, School Warrant 17, School Payroll Warrant 17 and School Lunch Warrant 17 were circulated and signed.
ITEM 10. Adjournment: Motion: Councilor Cheney—to adjourn the February 23, 2004 Town Council Meeting. Seconded: Councilor Kelly—there was no further discussion. Voted 5-0 Meeting adjourned at 8:05 p.m.