PRESENT: Chairman Friedman, Councilor Hogan, Councilor Perkins, Councilor Cheney and Councilor Champaco; Town Manager B. Reed, Assistant Clerk K. Humphrey, Code Enforcement Officer Allan Thomas, Office Administrator Julie Reed, Police Chief Mark Leonard, Parks & Recreation Director Rosemary Freese, Assistant Fire Chief Carl Tenney, Town Auditor Charemon Willey-Staples; School Committee Members Hilary Stewart-Reed, Kim Dagher, Rebecca Wetherbee, Lisa Janicki, Chair Duska Hayman; Superintendent Kelly Clenchy, Principal Scott Nichols, Casco Bay Energy Co. Plant Manager Brian Ahern.
ITEM 1. The January 24, 2005 Veazie Town Council was called to order at 7:03 PM.
ITEM 2. Consideration of minutes: Motion By: Councilor Cheney—to accept the January 10, 2005 minutes as written. Seconded: Councilor Perkins, There was no more discussion. Voted 4-0-1 in favor. Chairman Friedman abstained due to his absence.
ITEM 3. Consideration of the Agenda: There were no additions made to the agenda.
ITEM 4a. Introduction of New Plant Manager
Manager Reed introduced Brian Ahern to the Council. Brian Ahern outlined that he was originally from Massachusetts and has been in Maine since 1986. He became the superintendent at the plant when it first started operating. Last month he was promoted to plant manager after Gonzalo Garcia left to take another position out of the country.
ITEM 4c. School Committee (Taken out of order)
Superintendent Kelly Clenchy provided a handout to the Council members. The handout included enrollment figures that Superintendent Clenchy went over with the Council. The current enrollment for grades K-8 is 177 and they are projecting 175 for the 2005-2006 school year. In October there were 108 high school students and they are projecting 110 for the 2005-2006 school year.
Councilor Cheney inquired on how these numbers related to the study the school department had done when figuring for school expansion. Principal Nichols stated that the total number projected is actually lower then the number in the study. He outlined that it is very hard to predict enrollment. He added that he thinks enrollment will actually be higher than the 175 predicted.
Also included in the handout were expenditures through the month of December. Superintendent Clenchy outlined that secondary costs are looking good as well as special education.
Superintendent Clenchy went over the Essential Programs and Services handout. It included preliminary estimates for state funding. He outlined that the State wants to get to the 55% state funding requirement over a period of four years. However, the 55% funding is aggregate, not all communities will receive 55% subsidizing. Superintendent Clenchy stated that the State said they would transition the towns so Veazie will be receiving the same amount as last year minus the $17,497 decline in costs. The last page in the handout was the revenue statement for the 2004-2005 year.
Councilor Cheney asked how the lunch program was doing. Principal Nichols stated that the school is trying to come up with different ways that children pay and how the school allows them to charge. This will provide a better balance of making sure the school receives their money. Chairman Friedman stated that he has always gone with the philosophy that no child should go without lunch. School Chair Duska Hayman stated that she agreed but they want to try to work with the family so that the children are getting lunch but also so that the school is being paid.
Chairman Friedman thanked the School Department for coming and he emphasized the need to keep the lines of communication open.
ITEM 4b. Budget Committee Update
Town Auditor Charemon Willey-Staples distributed copies of the draft audit report to the Council members. The structure has changed this year, the old format did not include debt. The new format shows debt, fixed assets and depreciation. The audit now shows a true picture of net equity and makes the Town look more like a business.
Town Auditor Charemon Willey-Staples went over the tables and statements in the audit with the Council. She outlined that if everything looked fine she would finalize it and add the recommendations.
ITEM 5a. Annual Review of Schedules
Manager Reed outlined that included in the Council packets was a schedule for the Town Meeting and one for the budget meetings. It was the consensus of the Council to make the schedules final.
ITEM 5b. Composting Program
Manager Reed outlined that where the Town does not have an open site in town for residents to dispose of leaves and such and perhaps the Town should promote backyard composting. Councilor Cheney inquired if the Town would offer an incentive to compost. Manager Reed stated that the incentive would be providing the bins and books for the composting much like they did several years ago.
Manager Reed outlined that the Town would be able to buy bins at a discounted price. The bins the Town purchased in the past he thought were not designed for Maine weather. Maine Resource Recovery Association has had the most success with the bins provided in the handout. Councilor Champaco and Councilor Perkins inquired on the size of the unit. Manager Reed stated that he would get a demo version to show the Council and that he would work with Public Works to assist in creating options for the Town Council to consider.
ITEM 6. Public Comments: There were no comments from the public.
ITEM 7. Manager’s Report:
a. The Council reviewed a copy of the proposed State bills and resolutions as well as a copy of the Weekly Legislative Report.
b. The Council reviewed a copy of the BACTS newsletter.
c. The Council reviewed a copy of the Penobscot Valley Council of Governments’ newsletter.
d. The Council reviewed a copy of the Town’s investment reports.
e. The Council reviewed a copy of a letter from Adelphia regarding programming fees and services.
f. The Council reviewed a copy of the Town’s workers compensation experience rating.
g. The Council reviewed a copy of the Police Department’s quarterly report.
Chairman Friedman outlined that the Police Department and Fire Department’s reports have been very good.
ITEM 8. Requests for Information/Council Comments:
Councilor Perkins stated that he would like to see the budget schedule in the newsletter. Manager Reed outlined that the next newsletter will have the schedule as well as a piece on State Aid to Education.
Councilor Champaco asked Police Chief Leonard if the department had a high number of fingerprint records for children in Town. Police Chief Leonard stated that it didn’t. He outlined that the department does it free of charge for anyone who requests it. He also added that he has thought about setting a program up at the school where they could do the fingerprinting right there. He also outlined that the Town doesn’t keep the prints the parents do.
Councilor Cheney inquired whether there were still a number of children that used the crosswalk and whether the crossing guard was still worth having. Police Chief Leonard stated that if it keeps one child from being hit it is worth having.
ITEM 9. Warrants: Town Warrant 15 & 15A, Town Payroll Warrant 15, School Warrant 15 and School Payroll Warrant 15 were circulated and signed.
ITEM 10. Adjournment: Motion: Councilor Champaco—to adjourn the January 24, 2005 Town Council Meeting. Seconded: Councilor Cheney—there was no further discussion. Voted 5-0, Meeting adjourned at 8:40 p.m.