PRESENT: Chairman Friedman, Councilor Hogan, Councilor Perkins and Councilor Champaco; Town Manager B. Reed, Assistant Clerk K. Humphrey, Fire Chief Gerry Martin, Assistant Fire Chief Carl Tenney, Public Works Superintendent Butch Free, CEO Allan Thomas, Office Administrator Julie Reed, Jim Parker and Members of the Public. Councilor Cheney was absent and excused.
ITEM 1. The August 9, 2004 Veazie Town Council was called to order at 7:00 PM.
ITEM 2. Consideration of minutes: Motion By: Councilor Perkins —to accept the July 12, 2004 minutes as written. Seconded: Councilor Champaco, Voted 3-0-1 in favor. Councilor Hogan abstained due to his absence from the meeting.
ITEM 3. Consideration of the Agenda: Chairman Friedman stated that there was a new agenda to reflect the addition of a warrant under item 9. Manager Reed outlined that Jim Parker was present to discuss his proposed renovations to the old Tiny Tot building which he now owns. He provided a letter outlining his proposal to the Council. This was added under new business as item 4e.
ITEM 4e. Tiny Tot Residential/Commercial Use Proposal (taken out of order)
Jim Parker was present to discuss the old Tiny Tot building which he now owns. The first floor has been approved for Black Bear Lawn Care’s sale and service of lawn equipment which is owned by his son. The upstairs was a residence when Tiny Tot Diaper Service was open. Jim Parker outlined that he sees no other practical use of the second floor other than a residence because of the way the building is constructed and laid out. However, due to the building being left vacant for the last two years it is considered abandoned and the reuse of the residence is not allowed because it is in a commercial zone. He outlined that he would like it to be considered as other businesses and noted that such businesses as Always Flowers and R & J’s Market have residences above the business. Jim Parker stated he is asking for a modification of the zoning so that it would allow any building that has had commercial and residential use to continue to use the residential use.
Chairman Friedman stated that he was glad to see that someone had purchased the property and is trying to fix it up. He gave his full support of the project. Councilor Hogan reiterated the same.
Motion By: Councilor Hogan—to request that the Planning Board review the proposal or concern presented by Jim Parker pertaining to the historic residential use in a commercial zone. Seconded: Councilor Perkins, Voted 4-0 in favor.
ITEM 4a. Committee Appointments – Conservation Commission
Motion By: Councilor Hogan—to appoint Suzanne Malis-Andersen, John Manter and Chris Cronan to a three year term on the Conservation Commission. Seconded By: Councilor Perkins. Councilor Champaco asked if any of the individuals were present. Code Enforcement Officer Allan Thomas stated that the individuals were also members of the Planning Board which was currently meeting at the school. Manager Reed outlined that once the summer was over the Town’s committees and departments would be regularly meeting with the Council. Voted 4-0 in favor.
ITEM 4b. LPC - Ballot
Manager Reed stated that included in the Councilor’s packets was a ballot for the Legislative Policy. Manager Reed outlined that he is one of the candidates for the committee. He noted that the other candidate has strong support from the northern part of the county but hopefully he will have the strong support of the southern part. The Town Council signed the municipal ballot in support of Manager Reed.
ITEM 4c. Cemetery Water Project
Superintendent of Public Works, Butch Free was present to discuss his plan for the replacement of the water system in Fairview Cemetery. Currently the system is in very bad need of repair or replacement. Superintendent Free showed the Councilors a diagram of the proposed system. The new system would cover the entire cemetery and there would be places for people to get water to water their flowers. He had thought about placing a couple valves by the road so the Veazie Garden Club could use them to water the flowers on the fence but decided against it. He was worried about vandalism and the chance of someone turning it on and leaving it on. Currently some of the piping runs through some of the individual lots. Manager Reed outlined that it can be upsetting for some individuals who come to
visit their loved ones and see the lot flooded with water because of the damaged pipes that are leaking. The new system would run along the roads instead. Superintendent Free stated that they would like to rent a trench machine to do the digging and they would lay all of the piping. He is estimating the cost to be around $6,000 or $7,000, $7,000 being on the high side. Chairman Friedman inquired on how much was in the cemetery account. Superintendent Free stated $10,000.
Councilor Champaco asked if the water in the cemetery was town water. Superintendent Free stated it was. She asked if it was feasible to put a well in the cemetery and have the water drawn from that. Manager Reed outlined that it would cost to drill a well and the Town would also have to have power run to the cemetery to operate a well pump.
Councilor Champaco stated that she appreciated the historical information on the cemetery. She outlined that there isn’t always one best way for everything. She asked if other towns had systems like this. Superintendent Free stated that the Town of Orono has one. Councilor Hogan stated that the small town he is from also has one. He outlined that he thinks it is a worthwhile project. Councilor Perkins stated that if the Town had contracted out for this project it would have cost a lot more. Councilor Hogan outlined that the Town is fortunate to have skilled staff to do the work themselves.
ITEM 4d. Call Response Policy
Manager Reed stated that included in the Council packets was a proposed Fire Department Emergency Call-in Response policy. The department has been using a policy that was never officially approved by the Council. This was discovered due to a grievance that was filed. Manager Reed stated that a policy should be adopted in a timely manner to avoid any other conflicts.
Fire Chief Gerry Martin stated that it has been a policy that has been in use for quite some time. It wasn’t as defined as the one that he and Manager Reed wrote. Firefighters are paid a minimum of two hours for a call-in after hours. He outlined that two weeks ago they had an emergency call after hours in which the provider that usually comes with the ambulance was not available. In cases of extreme emergencies, such as cardiac arrest, there is a short period of time in which to get to the victim to start medical treatment. Veazie’s personnel took eight minutes to get there, the ambulance took thirteen minutes. If this had happened at 3:00am during the winter some firefighters would not drive all the way in for a twenty minute call knowing that they
are only going to get paid for twenty minutes.
Motion By: Councilor Hogan—to formally accept the policy entitled “Fire Department Personnel Emergency Call-in Pay Standard” dated August, 9, 2004 as submitted and reviewed by the Town Council. Seconded: Councilor Perkins, Voted 3-0-1 in favor. Councilor Champaco abstained.
ITEM 5a. Water Project Update
Manager Reed stated that the Town is looking at starting the project on August 16th. He outlined that he had met with Barney Silver and they are delaying the project a week so that he may complete the Sewer District’s project first.
ITEM 5b. Fund Balance Policy
Manager Reed stated that enclosed in the Councilor’s packets is a proposed fund balance policy. The Town has been using something similar to this but the wording is more up to date on the proposed one. It was recommended that the Town adopt an updated fund balance policy as part of the Town’s continued strengthening of the Town’s financials and GASB 34 compliance.
Councilor Champaco asked if last year the Town had something similar to this where it held 10% in the Unreserved Fund Balance. She asked if since taxes went up this year there would be more money going back into the fund. Manager Reed said no. He explained that a tax increase does not mean the Town has more revenue. He outlined that the Town is receiving less subsidy from the State so this increase is covering that.
Councilor Hogan noted that may communities have to borrow money to operate during slow income periods which they in turn pay interest on. Veazie’s system allows it to draw from the Unreserved Fund Balance during slow periods and pay it back when taxes are received.
Councilor Champaco inquired about the $75,000 the Town gave to the school to cover the lunch program and where the money came from. Manager Reed outlined that the money was lost due to the program operating in the ‘red’ so, in general the Town wrote the debt off the negative balance.
Motion By: Councilor Hogan—to formally accept the Fund Balance Policy dated August 9, 2004 as submitted and reviewed by the Town Council. Seconded: Councilor Perkins, Voted 4-0 in favor.
ITEM 6. Public Comments: Member of the public, Harold Smith, stated that he did not understand why the Town was running a water line into the basement of the Cafe. He thought that the Town should stop at the Town line. Manager Reed explained that the owner of Greystone Trailer Park had given the Town a check to cover the cost of running water from the Town line into the basement of the Cafe and then they will be responsible for running the water line from the Cafe into the park. Member of the public, Harold Smith, asked who will be responsible for the two fire hydrants in the trailer park. Manager Reed stated that the owner of the park will be. Mr. Smith also wanted to know why the Town was getting involved. Code Enforcement Officer Allan Thomas stated that the only thing
the Town is doing is installing a fire hydrant on State Street in front of the park for public safety. Manager Reed explained that the closest fire hydrant to the park is one located by Gagne Precast. By placing one next to the park it increases public safety for the park and decreases the Town’s ISO (Insurance Services Office) rating.
ITEM 7. Manager’s Report:
a. The Council reviewed a copy of the August newsletter that went out. An insert was included pertaining to commonly asked questions regarding proprety taxes.
b. The Council reviewed a copy of the Bangor Daily News article on the Town’s increased property values and lower than projected mil rate.
c. The Council reviewed a copy of two letters of commendation from Police Sergeant Robert Gould to Police Officers Brian Sirois and Michael Adams. As detailed the officers contributed to the recovery of $20,000 in cash and a number of guns. Manager Reed outlined that he was sorry to report that Officer Michael Adams had resigned from the department but he had enjoyed his time working here.
ITEM 8. Requests for Information/Council Comments:
Manager Reed informed the Council that the School Committee would be having a special meeting on August 10th in the afternoon. He inquired whether the Council wanted him to attend the meeting and ask the committee where they will come up with their 30% decrease due to the Palaskey Tax Cap. It was the consensus of the Council for Manager Reed to discuss this with the committee.
Manager Reed also outlined that on August 10th the Penobscot River Coalition will be coming to the Town Office to film an article on the revitalizing of the river and he asked if any of the councilors were interested in being interviewed for the story.
Manager Reed stated that he attended the Penobscot County Manager’s meeting and they discussed the problems at the county jail. The councilors are welcome to take a tour of the jail to see the problems and the efforts they are trying to make to alleviate the problems.
Manager Reed outlined that there was a meeting scheduled for Thursday, August 12th to discuss the Palesky Tax Cap vote in Cumberland County. He outlined that he would be attending that forum.
ITEM 9.Warrants: Town Warrant 3, 3A & 3B, Town Payroll Warrant 3, School Warrant 3 and School Payroll Warrant 3 were circulated and signed.
ITEM 10. Adjournment: Motion: Councilor Hogan —to adjourn the August 9, 2004 Town Council Meeting. Seconded: Councilor Champaco—there was no further discussion. Voted 4-0, Meeting adjourned at 8:24 p.m.