PRESENT: Chairman Friedman, Councilor Cheney and Councilor Hogan, Town Manager B. Reed, Code Enforcement Officer Allan Thomas, Assistant Clerk K. Humphrey, Office Administrator Julie Reed, Fire Chief Gerry Martin, Assistant Fire Chief Carl Tenney, Police Chief Mark Leonard, Public Works Superintendent Butch Free, Superintendent Tom Perry and Principal Scott Nichols; School Committee Members Hilary Stewart-Reed, Lisa Janicki, Kim Dagher, Duska Hayman, Budget Committee Members John Manter, Joan Perkins, David King, Scott Humphrey and Suzanne Hart; Members of the public Ray Lynch, Sr. and Susan Logan. Councilor Kelly and Councilor Hathaway was absent and excused.
ITEM 1. The May 17, 2004 Veazie Town Council was called to order at 7:00 PM.
ITEM 2. Consideration of minutes: Motion: Councilor Cheney—to accept May 3, 2004 minutes as written. Seconded: Councilor Hogan, Voted 3-0 in favor.
ITEM 3. Consideration of the Agenda: There were no additions made to the agenda.
ITEM 4. Public Hearing
Manager Reed reviewed all of the graphs, charts and handouts provided in the packets to the Council, Budget Committee as well as the public.
Motion By: Councilor Cheney—to enter into public hearing on the FY 2004-2005 budget. Seconded: Councilor Hogan, Voted 3-0 in favor.
Budget Committee Member Suzanne Hart was appointed Chair Protem of the Bugdet Committee. She outlined that the committee had a series of meetings with department heads when they were formulating their final budgets. She noted that they have begun to receive financial reports on a regular basis and they have been able to take budget materials home. She detailed that the committee had a much higher level of participation this year then in the past. The Committee now has five members and it is an evolving process for the Budget Committee to become even more involved in the budget process.
Budget Committee Chair Suzanne Hart stated that the Budget Committee voted unanimously to recommend to the Council that they accept the FY 2004-2005 budget as reviewed and presented.
Councilor Hogan commended the Budget Committee on their interest and level of participation in the budget process this year. Councilor Cheney added that she was happy to see that there was now a full committee.
Manager Reed reviewed the Means of Financing sheet. Total expenditures for the year are projected to be $5,166,855 and the estimated mil rate is 17.8 mils.
Manager Reed outlined that included in the Council’s packets was a draft of an article that Town staff would like to place in a newsletter. It stresses the need for State Aid to Education. Manager Reed stated that last year the Town received $1.2 million in state aid and this year it will only receive some $850,000. It was noted that the Council will address the proposed article after the public hearing.
Manager Reed outlined that last year Town staff estimated a 17.2 mil rate however, after taxes were committed the mil rate ended up being 16.3 mils. This year Town staff is estimating a 17.8 mil rate which is roughly a 9% increase.
Manager Reed stated that the Town should end the year on a positive note. Investments are improving and the Town is looking into buying some “callable” paper.
Member of the public Ray Lynch, Sr. inquired what capital reserves were going to be carried over to the new fiscal year. Manager Reed stated that traditionally the unemployment fund, paid sick leave, risk pool and municipal credit reserve. Member of the public Ray Lynch, Sr. stated that the Town should have one capital reserve account. Manager Reed stated that in the Town’s Fund Balance Policy the funds have to go towards what they were intended for, that is why there are individual accounts designated for each item.
Member of the public Ray Lynch, Sr. inquired why the Town did not start a reserve for a new fire truck five years ago instead of waiting until now to put $20,000 in it. Manager Reed explained that the proposed reserve was delayed so the department could address other issues.
Manager Reed explained that the Town now has to be GASB 34 compliant and will have to set up depreciation accounts for assets.
Superintendent Perry stated that last time the School Department and the Council spoke the Governor’s budget had not yet been approved. Now the budget was been passed and the Town of Veazie has ended up with $3,700 less State aid then anticipated. Superintendent Perry outlined that the decrease is not caused by fewer students but by the increase in community value.
Motion By: Councilor Cheney—to close the public hearing on the proposed FY 2004-2005 budget. Seconded: Councilor Hogan, there was no discussion. Voted 3-0 in favor.
Motion By: Councilor Cheney—to accept the Town Warrant as presented for the Fiscal Year 2004-2005 Budget. Seconded: Councilor Hogan, there was no discussion. Voted 3-0 in favor.
There was brief discussion regarding the proposed newsletter article regarding Question 1 of the June 8th referendum. The Council supported the article being placed in the Town’s newsletter.
ITEM 5a. Meeting Schedule Discussion
It was the consensus of the Council to cancel the May 31st meeting due to it falling on a holiday and to schedule the next Council meeting for June 8th, the day of the Town Meeting. The Council meeting will take place at 7:00 p.m. in the auditorium.
ITEM 5b. Fiscal Update
Manager Reed stated that it was brought to his attention by Town staff that a few transfers need to be made in order to address some former outstanding issues from the prior year pertaining to the school’s lunch program, to soften the FY 04-05 tax rate increase and in general to strengthen the Town’s reserve fund positions.
Motion By: Councilor Cheney—to transfer from the Undesignated Fund Account to the School Food Service Enterprise Account, $75,073 to address the “due to liability” of the school lunch program. Seconded: Councilor Hogan, there was no discussion. Voted 3-0 in favor.
Motion By: Councilor Cheney—to transfer from the Undesignated Fund Account to the Municipal Credit Reserve Account, $75,000. Seconded: Councilor Hogan, there was no discussion. Voted 3-0 in favor.
Motion By: Councilor Cheney—to transfer from the Undesignated Fund Account to the Education Reserve Account, $50,000. Seconded: Councilor Hogan, there was no discussion. Voted 3-0 in favor.
Motion By: Councilor Cheney—to transfer from the Undesignated Fund Account to the Economic Development Fund, $50,000. Seconded: Councilor Hogan, there was no discussion. Voted 3-0 in favor.
Manager Reed outlined that included in the Council packets was a copy of a proposed fund balance policy. It is recommended that the Town adopt a fund balance policy as a part of our continued strengthening of the Town’s financials and GASB 34 compliance. Chairman Friedman recommended taking this item up at a future meeting when all Councilors were present.
ITEM 6. Public Comments: There were no comments from the public.
ITEM 7. Manager’s Report:
a. The Council reviewed a copy of the Fire Department’s monthly report.
b. The Council reviewed a copy of the School Committee’s agenda and meeting minutes.
c. The Council reviewed copies of letters regarding recent code enforcement activities.
d. The Council reviewed a packet from Deputy Treasurer Julie Reed, regarding budget reports, tax statuses and call volumes.
ITEM 8. Requests for Information/Council Comments:
Code Enforcement Officer Allan Thomas invited the Councilors to attend the stormwater meeting that would be taking place on May 18th in the Council Chambers.
Chairman Friedman stated that the Conservation Commission has been awarded with the Veazie Garden Club’s 3rd Annual Veazie Community Improvement Award for their work on the McPhetre Farm Lot.
ITEM 9. Warrants: Town Warrant 23 & 23A, Town Payroll Warrant 23, School Warrant 23 and School Payroll Warrant 23 were circulated and signed.
ITEM 10. Adjournment: Motion: Councilor Hogan—to adjourn the May 17, 2004 Town Council Meeting. Seconded: Councilor Cheney—there was no further discussion. Voted 3-0, Meeting adjourned at 7:54 p.m.