PRESENT: Councilor Hogan, Councilor Perkins, Councilor Cheney, and Councilor Champaco; Town Manager B. Reed; Assistant Clerk J. Raye; Code Enforcement Officer A.Thomas; Fire Chief G. Martin; Assistant Fire Chief C. Tenney; Office Manager J. Reed; Police Chief M. Leonard; Public Works Superintendent G. Free; Recreation Director R. Freese; Budget Committee Members D.King, J. Manter, S. Hart, J. Perkins, and S. Humphrey; Verizon Representative K. Durrah; a University of Maine student; and A. Freese; Chairman J. Friedman was excused
Councilor Cheney made a motion to elect Councilor Hogan as the pro-tem Chairman. Seconded by Councilor Perkins. Voted 4-0. There was no further discussion.
ITEM 1. The April 25, 2005 Veazie Town Council was called to order at 7:02PM.
ITEM 2. Consideration of minutes: Motion By: Councilor Cheney —to accept the April 4, 2005 minutes as written. Seconded: Councilor Champaco. There was no more discussion. Voted 4-0 in favor.
ITEM 3. Consideration of the Agenda:
Councilor Cheney noted that she was prepared to do the Manager’s Review. The executive session was added as Item 5d.
Manager Reed informed the Council that they needed to sign the Land Installment Contract for the Kerrie Maxell/Freeland Jones. He reminded the Council that they had already approved the contract, but that it was drawn up requiring the Councilors’ signatures, instead of the Manager’s. This was added as Item 5e.
ITEM 4a. Municipal Budget Workshop
Councilor Hogan wanted to let everyone know that he appreciated the Budget Committee and Department Heads being at the meeting.
Manager Reed outlined that the Municipal Department is requesting $53,000 more than the current fiscal year, which is a 3.1% increase over last year, which is well below the 3.75% municipal growth management cap. He also noted that this year’s estimated mill rate, when taking into account the $239,400 (7.4%) School Department increase, is looking to be 18.7.
In the Charts and Graphs section of the FY 2005/2006 Proposed Budget, Manager Reed outlined each of the graphs, noting especially the Assessor’s Base Data chart. This chart shows the projected differences in property taxes from FY 2004/2005 to FY 2005/2006. Manager Reed pointed out that homes that apply for and receive a $13,000 Homestead Exemption, will receive a big benefit and some property owners may not even receive a tax bill this year. Most of the burden of taxes for FY 05/06 will be placed on businesses and higher valued residential properties.
Manager Reed went on to discuss the Revenue Section and noted that while he was not expecting as many incoming revenues this year as last year, the Town will still be in the positive. He noted excise tax is not projected to be as strong as last year, but also that the Town Investment Portfolio was doing very well.
Manager Reed moved on to outline the Departmental Budgets. He noted that this year each department wrote a description of the duties performed by its personnel. These descriptions are to help provide time-increment budgeting to keep tabs on the amount of time employees spend on each job. The Manager outlined that FY 05/06 budget would eliminate two full time positions, one police and one administrative.
Fire Chief Gerry Martin outlined the Fire Department budget, reminding Councilors and Budget Committee Members that his budget increases are mostly due to unfunded State mandates. He also noted that the biggest increase in his budget is due to training—there are currently eleven EMTs on the roster. Another increase is in the maintenance account because of the ages of the equipment.
Police Chief Mark Leonard noted that there is an increase in the personnel accounts even though one full-time position has been eliminated. Chief Leonard predicted gasoline costs to only go up $500 since he will be covering a shift and not spending as much time on patrol as the other officers.
Public Works Superintendent George Free is also requesting an increase in his budget. He outlined his increases, which were in personnel operations, service costs, and professional costs. Salaries, Medicare, FICA, and insurance costs have all gone up; overhead and maintenance costs have increased; and highway maintenance costs have increased because there is a list of paving projects in Town that need to be done.
Public Works Superintendent Free outlined that the use of sand will decrease this winter because sand causes too much pollution, so the Town is trying to switch to using mostly or all salt. Also, the Capital Account has a big increase because of updates that have to be made to the trucks and the Bobcat.
Recreation Director Rosemary Freese stated that her only increase is in personnel. All other accounts will remain the same. She had to increase Summer Rec fees because of transportation costs. Twice a week, the rec kids go swimming in different Towns, which requires transportation.
Next, Manager Reed outlined the increase in Fixed Costs, caused by solid waste, gas, diesel, heating oil, and electricity prices rising. The manager outlined that the Assessor projects that 1 mill equals $200,000 in the coming fiscal budget.
ITEM 5a. Old Business
a. Manager Reed briefed the Fire Service District Proposal that the Fire Department received from Brewer, but quickly noted that even though we are committed to working on regional issues, this proposal is not practical because of Legislative Document 1414.
b. Code Enforcement Officer Allan Thomas gave some background on the Storm Water Group and the Grant that he applied for. He noted that the Grant is going to help formalize the Storm Water Group. He also mentioned that at the Bangor Garden Show, the Storm Water Group’s Exhibit won the Best Educational Exhibit Award.
Councilor Cheney then made a motion to move that the Town of Veazie, as the lead community for the Bangor Area Storm Water Group, proudly accept the $9,800 grant awarded from the Fund for Efficient Delivery of Local and Regional Services. Seconded by Councilor Champaco. Voted 4-0 in favor.
c. Keith Durrah was at the meeting representing Taylor Network Communications. Taylor Network Communications made a proposal to the Town that would decrease the Economic Development costs by about $550 per month.
Councilor Champaco made a motion to move to authorize the Manager on the Town’s behalf to sign a three-year service agreement with Verizon in order to recive the proposed service as detailed by the Taylor Network Communications proposal. Seconded by Councilor Cheney. Voted 4-0 in favor.
d. Councilor Cheney and Councilor Hogan suggested that the Manager’s Review Executive Session be moved to the next Council meeting, May 2, 2005, due to the lateness of the meeting.
e. The Councilors signed the Land Installment Contract papers needed for the Kerrie Maxell matter.
ITEM 6. Public Comments:
There were no comments from the public.
ITEM 7. Manager’s Report:
a. Manager Reed noted on the Town’s investment report that he is changing the Town’s buying strategy. He outlined that they could review the transactions on the Portfolio.
b. Manager Reed wanted to point out that the Town and the Conservation Commission are committed to setting long range goals with the Orono Land Trust.
c. The Veazie Fire Department Monthly Report for the month of March was enclosed. Manager Reed noted the report.
d. The Veazie Police Department Quarterly Report was also enclosed. He mentioned that this report is very informative and is now being posted on the website
e. Manager Reed briefly mentioned the minutes from the most recent Veazie School Committee Meeting.
f. Penobscot Valley of Governments sent the Town an agenda and a copy of the minutes from their most recent meeting, Manager Reed noted.
g. The Bangor Daily News article that was enclosed in the Council packets was briefed by Manager Reed. The article discussed the School Department budget increase.
h. Manager Reed briefly noted the email sent by Lee Umphrey, the spokesperson for the Governor on Municipal Affairs. The email was a rebuttal to the State’s Tax Burden Ranking.
i. Another FYI about the Fabric Craftsman proposed expansion, Manager Reed briefed the Council on the letter that was sent requesting the zone change.
j. Manager Reed noted the comment card that praised Office Manager Julie Reed, Town Manager Bill Reed, and Code Enforcement Officer Allan Thomas for being so helpful.
ITEM 8. Requests for Information/Council Comments:
a. Manager Reed requested feedback on the memo and LD 1 information that Assistant Clerk Jodie Raye put together for the next newsletter. Counilor Hogan and Councilor Champaco quickly review their feedback.
b. Manager Reed mentioned having another Senior Dinner and asked if anyone would like to volunteer. Councilor Cheney said she would like to volunteer.
ITEM 9. Warrants: Town Warrant 21, Town Payroll Warrant 21, School Warrant 21
and 21A, School Lunch Warrant 21 and School Payroll Warrant 21 were circulated and signed.
ITEM 10. Adjournment: Motion: Councilor Cheney —to adjourn the April 25, 2005 Town Council Meeting. Seconded: Councilor Perkins —there was no further discussion. Voted 4-0. Meeting adjourned at 10:26p.m.