PRESENT: Chairman Friedman, Councilor Cheney, Councilor Hogan, Councilor Perkins and Councilor Champaco; Town Manager B. Reed, Code Enforcement Officer Allan Thomas, Assistant Clerk K. Humphrey, Fire Chief Gerry Martin, Assistant Fire Chief Carl Tenney, Police Chief Mark Leonard, Deputy Code Enforcement Officer John Ellis, Office Administrator Julie Reed, Intern Maggie Hanna, Sally Jacobs of the Caribou Bog-Penjajawoc Corridor Project, Sewer District Superintendent Gary Brooks, Greystone Trailer Park owner Mark Mullins, Park Manager Richard Moffit, Bangor Daily News reporter Aimee Dolloff and Member of
the Public Steven Thebarge.
ITEM 1. The June 28, 2004 Veazie Town Council was called to order at 7:00 PM.
ITEM 2. Consideration of minutes: Motion By: Councilor Hogan —to accept the June 14, 2004 minutes as written. Seconded: Councilor Cheney, Voted 5-0 in favor.
ITEM 3. Consideration of the Agenda: Chairman Friedman stated he would like to add a discussion on Maine State Retirement as item 5e. He also suggested moving items 5a and 5b to the top of the agenda.
ITEM 5a. Caribou Bog-Penjajawoc Project Grant Request (take out of order)
Sally Jacobs, Chair of the Caribou Bog-Penjajawoc Corridor Project, was present to give a short presentation. Currently the group is working on purchasing a parcel with grant money that will connect the Orono Bog with the Caribou Bog. She outlined that they have a willing seller of some forest land that would complete the preservation of the shores of Mud Pond and would preserve 1.5 miles of shore on Pushaw Lake. It would also connect into the University of Maine Forest. Sally Jacobs outlined that there are two things the group needs money for: to purchase land and to cover their operational costs. She added that all of the committee members are volunteers and they have all contributed money towards this project. Recently the group received a $50,000 anonymous contribution which
has to be matched. Sally Jacobs asked the Council for a $5,000 contribution to go towards this match.
Councilor Champaco outlined that she appreciated the concept of preserving land, however she heard Sally Jacobs talk about snowmobiles and ATVs and she wondered how they would affect wildlife habitats. Sally Jacobs outlined that snowmobiles are only used in the winter and they produce less damage because of the snow coverage. There is also a tendency for snowmobilers to follow the trails, whereas she can not say the same for ATV users. There are some ATV users that do not respect the land and can be very destructive. Sally Jacobs mentioned how International Paper put in 760 miles of trails with the help of salmon clubs in downeast Maine. They realized that if you accommodate people and give them a place to ride they tend to respect it more.
Councilor Champaco asked if there was a time frame for the match to be made. Sally Jacobs stated that they have two years.
Councilor Champaco stated that as a new member she didn’t feel like she had enough information on the subject to vote on the contribution. Chairman Friedman outlined to Councilor Champaco that she did not have to vote on it if she did not wish to, she could abstain.
Motion By: Councilor Hogan—to donate to the Orono Land Trust the sum of five thousand dollars as a local match for the $50,000 Challenge Grant and as a local contribution for the Lands for Maine’s Future Grant. Seconded: Councilor Cheney, Voted 3-1-1.
ITEM 5b. Water Project Update (taken out of order)
Manager Reed outlined that there were two letters included in the Council packets regarding the Greystone Trailer Park water expansion. The Town has obtained a final draft design from the Town’s engineering firm. The Town is also working with the Maine Department of Transportation on a utility location permit and discussions with affected property owners are underway. Manager Reed outlined that the Town has also discussed the project with a local contractor so that the project could be fast tracked with the assistance of the Water District’s staff.
It was the consensus of the Town Council to continue forward with the State Street/Greystone Trailer Park water expansion. Manager Reed stated that he will have another update at the next meeting.
Chairman Friedman wished to thank the park’s owner for flying up to Maine to be at this meeting and also thanked the park’s manager for his attendance at all of the past meetings.
ITEM 4a. Tree Damage Discussion
Manager Reed enclosed a copy of the tree services account in the Councilor’s packets. The account was significantly over this year due to a large number of trees that needed to be cut down and disposed of. There were also a few trees on Route 2 that needed to be removed. The State is responsible for maintaining Route 2, however, the trees needed to be removed immediately and the State could not get to them in a timely manner. Councilor Hogan asked if the State would reimburse the Town for doing the work. Manager Reed stated that they do not reimburse.
Manager Reed outlined that pavement projects have been delayed because of this. Funds needed to be taken from highway projects, however, Public Works will be moving forward with them after July 1st.
Councilor Champaco inquired whether the Town put out for bids for tree removal or if they just went with one vendor. Manager Reed outlined that theTown goes with its current vendor because they are very affordable. They also come right away, usually within a day, when they are called for a tree that is a hazard. He added that in the past other vendors charged the Town a steep price to immediately come and dispose of a tree.
Councilor Perkins inquired whether the vendor was bonded and insured. Manager Reed stated that they were.
ITEM 4b. Sewer District Appointment
Manager Reed outlined that in each Councilor’s packet was a copy of a letter from Steven Thebarge requesting an appointment to the Sewer District. Councilor Champaco stated that she knew Mr. Thebage and that he would make a wonderful addition to the Sewer District.
Motion By: Councilor Champaco—to appoint Steven Thebarge as a trustee for the Veazie Sewer District to serve the remaining term of Brian Perkins. Seconded: Councilor Perkins, Voted 5-0 in favor.
ITEM 4c. Pembroke/Brocket Right of Way Matter
Manager Reed outlined that the Town is clearing up “right of way” areas for future drainage easements consistent with the community’s drainage study. In general, the roadway in this area (Prouty Street, Randolph Drive) is not centered in the right of way. The Town will be swapping property boundaries with the property owners.
Motion By: Councilor Hogan—to authorize the Town Manager to execute any and all documents recommended by the Town’s attorney in association with the Pembroke/Brocket Town of Veazie property transfer and/or “swap”. Seconded: Councilor Champaco, Voted 5-0 in favor.
ITEM 4d. Tax Cap Governmental Structure Discussion
Manager Reed outlined that he has had a department head meeting and has asked each department head to come up with a budget that would reflect the 30% budget shortfall due to the tax cap referendum in November. All departments have tightened up on hours and overtime has been eliminated in some departments. Manager Reed stated that if the tax cap passes in November service levels will be different and the fee structure will change. Included in the Councilor’s packets was a copy of an organizational chart that shows where authority lies.
ITEM 5c. Credit Card Payment Discussion
Manager Reed outlined that many customers have asked why the Town does not accept credit cards. In the past it was because the fee incurred by the Town was too much, however, Banknorth has offered the Town a rate of 2.15%. This has been the best proposal thus far. The amount of charge back is minimal. The Town will also be able to accept debit cards as well and the cost will be $.45 per transaction. Councilor Cheney inquired whether the customer will have to pay the $.45 or the Town. Manager Reed stated that the Town will pay it.
Councilor Hogan inquired on the equipment. Manager Reed stated that the equipment will be purchased outright and it will come with a ten year warranty.
Motion By: Councilor Hogan—to authorize the Town to accept credit card services and to authorize the Town Manager to sign any and all documents required to implement the service. Seconded: Councilor Cheney, Voted 5-0 in favor.
ITEM 5d. Budget Report Draft
Deputy Treasurer Julie Reed passed out a budget report to the Councilors. Manager Reed outlined that the Town will end the fiscal year on a positive note. The Fire Department’s payroll line is substantially over budget but the chief and assistant chief are handling it actively. The Police Department’s payroll line is over as well, however, it is due to the department being short staffed at one point during the year.
Chairman Friedman requested a list of taxpayers who owe money to the Town and any payments they have made at the next meeting.
Councilor Champaco inquired why there was such a huge outlay on the school lunch program. Manager Reed outlined that the program loses money every year. Councilor Hogan outlined that with many school lunch programs it is not uncommon for the program to run in the “red”. Manager Reed added that the overhead cost to produce the food is very high that the school would need twice as many students to breakeven without increasing the cost of the lunches.
Councilor Perkins inquired why the program wasn’t included in the school budget. Manager Reed explained that it is a part of the school budget, however it is set up like an enterprise fund because you cannot have a profit/loss fund account in the school budget.
Chairman Friedman stated that Chief Leonard and his department were very professional in their handling of the Secretary of the Interior’s presence at the river restoration event on June 25th.
ITEM 5e. Maine State Retirement
Manager Reed outlined the Maine State Retirement would replace the 457 plan for police officers. There was discussion pertaining to the 218 agreement which the Town is working on amending with the Town auditor.
Motion By: Councilor Cheney—to authorize the Town Manager to sign and execute any and all documents required to be signed to allow the Town of Veazie’s full-time police officers to participate in the Maine State Retirement System’s Special Plan 3C. Seconded: Councilor Hogan, Voted 5-0 in favor.
Motion By: Councilor Cheney—to formally adopt the policy that the MRSR Special Plan 3C, once fully implemented, will be the Town’s primary retirement plan for the full-time police officers within the Town of Veazie. Any full-time MSRS eligible police officer may also participate in the Town’s 457 plan but will not be eligible for the Town’s contribution share. Seconded: Councilor Hogan, Voted 5-0 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 a call volume report prepared by Deputy Clerk Beckie Woods.
b. The Council reviewed a copy of a statistical report on the Town’s website prepared by Communications Coordinator Karen Humphrey.
ITEM 8. Requests for Information/Council Comments:
Chairman Friedman inquired what was going to happen to the Dang property. Manager Reed stated that Mr. Dang is converting the building into a residence. Chairman Friedman stated that he has seen a lot of debris and trash out front and it looks terrible. Deputy Code Enforcement Officer John Ellis stated that he would drive by and take a look.
Councilor Hogan stated that he is looking forward to working as a team with the addition of the two new councilors. The Council, the Town Manager and all departments need to keep communication open with one another. He outlined that when there is a problem it should be brought to the Council as a whole.
Councilor Cheney stated that she felt they did not resolve the Lynch turnaround issue at the last meeting. Manager Reed stated that it is going to be up to Public Works to determine what is best. The area in question is actually in the Town’s way. The options are limited to what can be done, to build a turnaround would be costly and require the acquisition of property.
ITEM 9. Warrants: Town Warrant 26 & 26A, Town Payroll Warrant 26, School Warrant 26 and School Payroll Warrant 26 were circulated and signed.
ITEM 10. Adjournment: Motion: Councilor Hogan—to adjourn the June 28, 2004 Town Council Meeting. Seconded: Councilor Cheney—there was no further discussion. Voted 5-0, Meeting adjourned at 9:02 p.m.