PRESENT: Councilor Hogan, Councilor Cheney, Councilor Perkins and Councilor Champaco; Town Manager B. Reed, Assistant Clerk K. Humphrey, CEO Allan Thomas, Office Administrator Julie Reed, Assistant Fire Chief Carl Tenney, Fire Chief Gerry Martin and Town Engineer Jim Parker. Chairman Friedman arrived late and was excused.
Motion By: Councilor Perkins—to nominate Councilor Cheney as Protem Chair. Seconded By: Councilor Champaco, Voted all in favor.
ITEM 1. The November 15, 2004 Veazie Town Council was called to order at 7:03 PM.
ITEM 2. Consideration of minutes: Motion By: Councilor Hogan—to accept the October 18, 2004 minutes as written. Seconded: Councilor Champaco .
There was no more discussion. Voted 4-0 in favor.
ITEM 3. Consideration of the Agenda: Manager Reed passed out the Town’s investment reports to the Councilors and added the item under 7a in the Manager’s Report.
ITEM 4a. Board of Appeals Appointment
Motion By: Councilor Hogan—to appoint Kevin Carr to a two year term on the Board of Appeals. Seconded: Councilor Perkins, Voted 5-0 in favor.
ITEM 4b. Election Ballot for MRC
Manager Reed outlined that included in the Councilors’ packets was a Municipal Review Committee ballot and the biographical descriptions of each of the candidates. He added that there is a weighted vote and Veazie holds roughly about 850 votes. In the past the Town has supported the Hampden candidate.
Councilor Champaco asked why the Council wouldn’t vote for Dennis Cox. Manager Reed stated that the Town usually votes for someone in our area, as do other towns. He outlined that the candidates that get the three highest votes will get positions. Manager Reed outlined that Mr. Cox would more then likely have the support of the northern communities.
Motion By: Councilor Hogan—to cast Veazie’s vote for Susan Lessard of Hampden. Seconded: Chairman Friedman, Voted 4-0-1 in favor.
ITEM 4c. Survey Work
Jim Parker of CES Inc. stated that his surveyor looked at the location of the Town line and thinks it is where it is suppose to be. He also talked with the surveyor for Bangor and they are pretty much in agreement. Jim Parker recommended digging up the Town line monument on Stillwater Avenue and resetting it. There are some additional monuments that need to be reset as well. He estimated that it would cost $3,000-$4,000 to have the surveying work done. Public Works could reset the monuments once it is determined exactly where they will go.
Jim Parker stated that regarding the issue on Hobson Avenue, his surveyor went to look at the roadway today so he does not have the findings yet. By the next Council meeting he will have a sketch and the findings.
Councilor Cheney inquired on how necessary it was to survey the Town lines and reset the markers. She thought the Town should already have the Town lines on paper. Jim Parker stated that Towns should do surveying every few years to keep their information updated. This will also straighten out any concerns the Town has on a few areas that may be affected by future development. The staff’s concerns had to do with Bangor’s growth areas that abut Veazie’s residential zones.
ITEM 4d. Election Overview
Registrar of Voters, Karen Humphrey gave a quick overview of the General and Referendum Election. The election went very smoothly with no problems. A total of 1,080 ballots were cast, which she thought was a record turnout for Veazie. There were also 172 absentee ballots cast which she also thought was a record for Veazie. The Election Clerks did a great job and the election was wrapped up by 10:00p.m.
Councilor Perkins asked about ballots that had been marked with an “X” or a checkmark instead of the circle being filled in. Karen Humphrey explained that the ballot counter still reads those marks as long as they are made in the circle.
Councilor Cheney inquired what the results were for the Palesky Tax Cap. Karen Humphrey stated she did not have the exact figures but there were approximately 770 votes against it and 290 votes for it. Councilor Cheney stated that the Council should discuss the tax cap because even though it did not pass it is still an issue. Manager Reed outlined that Carol Palesky is going to work on a new tax cap and the legislature would be taking up the matter in January.
ITEM 5a. Update Water Project
Jim Parker stated that the contractor should be breaking ground by Thursday, November 18th. He outlined that he thought the project shouldn’t take any longer than three or so days.
Councilor Cheney asked if the park owner was done with the work in the park. Code Enforcement Officer Allan Thomas stated that they are almost finished. Chairman Friedman asked what that meant. CEO Allan Thomas stated that they are still doing some grating to the roads, landscaping and marking the turnoff valves.
Chairman Friedman stated that he has not noticed any changes in the roads. They are still in bad condition with a lot of pot holes.
Councilor Hogan stated that the Council’s expectations will run higher next year because of this season and the outcome of past conversations concerning work on the trailer park. There are some things that were said would be done but they have not. Councilor Cheney stated that she has driven though the park during the worst time of the year and the drainage is awful. She wondered if the park owner will be addressing drainage. CEO Allan Thomas stated that they haven’t addressed it although they will be paving the roads in the spring.
Manager Reed stated that he spoke with the park owner, Mark Mullins, today. His priorities were changed when he decided to get city water to everyone in the park. This meant putting the “cosmetic” items on hold. In the long run, Manager Reed thought this was the better way to go. He outlined that the owner does not like the look of the park either, he was recently up to see it and was discouraged about the way it looks. It was noted that all new water services should help in the long run.
It was discussed that a new mobile home park ordinance that deals with maintenance, roads, trash removal, etc. should be revisited by the Town. Code Enforcement Officer Allan Thomas outlined that in 1994 when the Town adopted the new land use ordinance Veazie used the State’s ordinance.
Councilor Hogan inquired on who would work on this ordinance. Code Enforcement Officer Allan Thomas stated that he along with the Planning Board, Town Attorney and Town Manager would work on it. Chairman Friedman added that he thought the Town Engineer should be involved as well.
ITEM 5b. Online Assessor Information
Manager Reed outlined that he had Assessor Allan Thomas check other town’s websites to see what they had for online assessor information. Assessor Allan Thomas stated that many websites had the names listed including Scarborough, Winslow and Cape Elizabeth. Town Staff added that Old Town and Hermon have the names listed as well. Councilor Cheney inquired whether he needed to register on their websites to access the information. Assessor Allan Thomas stated that on almost all of them you could just look at the information.
Councilor Cheney outlined that it was mentioned in the Manager’s Report that it may be possible for Veazie to require people to register in order to view the information. Manager Reed stated that Virtual Town Hall could possibly set up the website to have a registration where a person would enter their email address. He is currently checking with them to see if this will be possible.
Chairman Friedman stated that he spoke with residents and they understood that other towns were doing this. Councilor Hogan stated the same. Councilor Perkins stated that he spoke with about 20 people and they realize that other towns are doing it but they are still opposed to it. Councilor Champaco stated that she realized it is a resource but she would rather not have the names listed.
Manager Reed outlined that part of downsizing is allowing automation to take over, otherwise there are no productivity gains.
Town Staff outlined that without the name it would be pointless to have the new site. The name is what people use to verify the information. Councilor Perkins asked how time consuming it was to answer calls regarding assessor information. Town Staff outlined that the questions can be quick or can take up to a five or ten minutes depending. Sometimes information has to be found in two or more different locations. With the website all of the information will be on the same screen.
Councilor Perkins inquired why the Town couldn’t put all the information on one screen for the Town staff to utilize when taking calls. Town Staff outlined that taking the property tax assessment calls was what they were trying to eliminate. The Town Office receives several calls per day regarding tax questions and sometimes four to five calls on the same property.
Councilor Cheney stated that if the Town added the requirement of registering it would add accountability.
Councilor Hogan outlined that the Town should move forward. Information will always be out there for people to use and there will always be people out there that want to misuse it.
Motion By: Councilor Hogan—to proceed with the original Town’s Staff proposal for the online assessing information. Seconded: Chairman Friedman, Voted 3-2 in favor.
Councilor Perkins outlined that this sort of item he would like to see in the newsletter so the public knows what the Town is doing.
ITEM 6. Public Comments:
Fire Chief Gerry Martin wanted to update the Council on a few things with the Fire Department. On November 4th the department responded to a structure fire on Rock Street and on their way back Ladder 195 broke down. The department stripped it of all of its gear and it had to be towed. The problem was fixed and now it is back in service. Fire Chief Gerry Martin also added that they have received dates back for union negotiations.
ITEM 7. Manager’s Report:
Manager Reed stated that the municipal building was without heat for about a week and a half. Maintenance needed to be done to the boiler. Part of the boiler was very old and the pipes had become narrower from sediment building up in them.
The new generator was installed and tested. The generator would not start and Central Maine Diesel was called to service it. A relay switch needed to be replaced so a new one has been ordered. Other than that small problem the generator is working fine.
7a. The Council reviewed a copy of the Town’s financial reports as well as a call volume report and the outstanding tax list. Deputy Treasurer Julie Reed outlined that the Town is approaching the foreclosure time again. She has sent out friendly reminders to property owners that still owe taxes. The Town has collected over 97% of the current year’s taxes.
7b. The Council reviewed a copy of a memo from Allan Thomas pertaining to his meeting with Tom Davis on drainage easements.
7c. The Council reviewed a copy of a memo from Allan Thomas following up on the streetlight matter.
7d. The Council reviewed a copy of the Fire Department’s monthly report.
7e. The Council reviewed a copy of a letter that Principal Scott Nichols had sent thanking the Town for the new Parks & Recreation storage shed which has extra space for the School Department’s equipment and the paving that the Public Works Department had done for the school.
7f. The Council reviewed a copy of a nice comment from the member of the public regarding the Town staff.
7g. The Council reviewed copies of documents drafted for the Planning Board’s consideration. The Planning Board will be meeting to discuss and review the documents in greater detail.
7h. The Council reviewed a copy of the School Committee’s agenda and minutes.
7i. The Council reviewed a copy of the BAT Community Connector Riders Guide and the BACTS newsletter.
ITEM 8. Requests for Information/Council Comments:
There were no requests for information or comments.
ITEM 9. Warrants: Town Warrant 10 & 10A, Town Payroll Warrant 10, School Warrant 10, School Lunch Warrant 10 and School Payroll Warrant 10 were circulated and signed.
ITEM 10. Adjournment: Motion: Chairman Friedman—to adjourn the November 15, 2004 Town Council Meeting. Seconded: Councilor Perkins—there was no further discussion. Voted 5-0, Meeting adjourned at 8:33 p.m.