PRESENT: Chairman Friedman, Councilor Hathaway, Councilor Champaco, Councilor Cheney, Councilor Perkins; Manager W. Reed; Assistant Clerk J. Raye; Office Manager J. Reed; Police Chief M. Leonard; Police Officer J. Leal; Tax Assessor A. Thomas; Adelphia/Time Warner Cable Representative S. Winchenbach; J. Perkins, C. Lavertu, N. Lavertu, G. Brooks, and C. Brooks from the public
ITEM 1. The June 27, 2005 Veazie Town Council was called to order at 7:00PM. Councilor Friedman wanted to take a minute to welcome the Staff members, Councilor Hathaway, Adelphia/Time Warner rep Shelley Winchenbach, and the citizens in attendance.
a. Election of a Chairperson: Councilor Cheney nominated Councilor Friedman to serve as the Chairperson for the 2005-2006 year. The nomination was seconded by Councilor Perkins. There were no other nominations. No further discussion. Voted: 4-0-1. Councilor Friedman abstained.
After being elected, Chairman Friedman thanked the other Councilors for their support.
ITEM 2. Consideration of the Minutes
Motion By: Councilor Cheney —to accept the June 14, 2005 minutes as written. Seconded: Councilor Perkins. There was no more discussion. Voted 4-0-1 in favor. Councilor Hathaway abstained due to not being in office at the time.
ITEM 3. Consideration of the Agenda
Manager Reed noted that Deputy Treasurer Julie Reed printed out the latest financial statements and he would like to discuss them at the end of the Manager’s Report. The financial statements were added to the Manager’s Report.
ITEM 4. New Business
Chairman Friedman requested that Item 4c, the Veazie Police Citizen Recognitions, be taken out of order to allow Officer Leal to return to his duties in a more timely manner.
c. Veazie Police Citizen Recognitions
Chairman Friedman introduced Officer Jeremy Leal for the presentation.
Officer Leal gave some background on the Citizen Recognition coins, noting that Chief Leonard established the program in order to show appreciation and give recognition to citizens of Veazie who provide help to the Department. He then informed the Town Council and the audience of the situation in which the citizens provided their help.
About one month prior to this meeting, there was a stray dog roaming around Veazie for approximately six days. He was very skittish and no one could get near him until he went to the Lavertu house. Nicole Lavertu attracted the male dog with her dog and some cheese and was able to get a leash around the dog’s neck so Officer Leal could get him in the Police cruiser.
Still, the dog would not get near the cruiser until Gary and Cathy Brooks came to his assistance. With their combined efforts, Officer Leal and the Brooks’ were able to coax the dog into the cruiser so Officer Leal could take him to the Emergency Vet Clinic to be checked out.
In order to thank the Lavertus and the Brooks’, Chief Leonard and Officer Leal thought it appropriate to present the two families with Citizen Recognition Coins, which he did at this time. He then thanked the families for coming to the meeting for their presentation because he thought it was important for the Council to see and understand how much help the Lavertus and Brooks’ were to the situation.
a. Cable Franchise Transfer Resolution
Manager Reed noted that in the Town Council packets, there were copies of the transfer resolution, but the copies did not include the DVD that came with the original. The DVD is in the Office for public viewing during normal business hours. The Manager then introduced Adelphia/TimeWarner Cable representative Shelley Winchenbach.
Ms. Winchenbach handed out folders from Time Warner that included a “fact sheet” and the November 22 to December 5 issue of CableWorld Magazine, in which there is an article about Portland’s cable system. She then explained that the reason she was at that meeting was to request consent for the franchise transfer and answer any questions any Councilors may have. She then pointed out that the Town has only 120 days to decide on the transfer resolution or it goes into effect. It was noted that Time Warner prefers to have signatures.
Councilor Champaco asked Ms. Winchenbach if Time Warner is the only choice for cable television service in Veazie. Ms. Winchenbach noted that there are still a few smaller cable providers in Maine such as BeeLine Cable in Madison and Casco Cable TV in Portland. Manager Reed noted that if there is already a cable provider in a community, the likelihood of another provider coming to Town is slim because effective competition is difficult to achieve and maintain without great infrastructure investments.
Councilor Hathaway asked Ms. Winchenbach about Time Warner’s commitment to customer service. She replied that Time Warner is very aggressive when it comes to customer service and there is a call center in Portland to reflect that commitment.
Code Enforcement Officer Allan Thomas asked about putting lines in the new subdivisions; he wanted to know if Time Warner would be more efficient than Adelphia has been. Ms. Winchenbach replied that as long as she and Manager Reed could work together, cable lines can be put in at the same time as electric and telephone lines are put in. There was then discussion on how Adelphia’s bankruptcy had affected service and plant buildout.
Councilor Champaco made a motion to authorize the resolution providing approval for an assignment of the franchise and the cable system to Time Warner NY Cable LLC. Seconded: Councilor Cheney. There was no further discussion. Voted 5-0.
b. Annual Appointments
Manager Reed read the suggested appointments in the agenda notes, which included appointing Allan Thomas, John Ellis, and John Manter. Councilor Cheney pointed out that she thought John Ellis is supposed to be on call. Manager Reed agreed, but noted that he still has to be appointed in order to carry out his duties as Alternate CEO, et cetera, if Allan was unable to fulfill those duties. Councilor Hathaway then asked for what reasons Mr. Ellis would have to be called in. Manager Reed explained that Mr. Ellis heads the Stormwater program with Mr. Thomas and he has to check outfalls every year and other things that have to do with Stormwater. Also, having a backup CEO, Building Inspector, and Plumbing Inspector, et cetera, is helpful if Mr. Thomas is ever unable to be at work.
Councilor Cheney made a motion to appoint Allan Thomas to the following positions for the ensuing Fiscal Year 2005-2006: Tax Assessor, Code Enforcement Officer, Building Inspector, Plumbing Inspector, Electrical Inspector, E-911 Addressing Officer, and as the Town Council designee for “minor” pole location permits. Seconded: Councilor Perkins. No further discussion. Voted 5-0.
Councilor Perkins made a motion to appoint John Ellis as Alternate Plumbing Inspector, Alternate Code Enforcement Officer for Shoreland Zoning, Zoning, Building Inspector, and Electrical Inspector. Seconded: Councilor Cheney. No further discussion. Voted 3-1-1.
Councilor Cheney made a motion to appoint John Manter as Alternate Code Enforcement Officer for Shoreland Zoning. Seconded: Councilor Perkins. No further discussion. Voted 5-0.
ITEM 5. Old Business
a. Town Meeting Review
Manager Reed discussed the typos in the Town Report, agreeing that there were several, which is too many. The Manager did detail that Town staff had a very tight time constraint and many changes had to be made to each department’s budget due to last minute budget revisions. He expressed that he thought the Town staff did well despite all of the changes, timing issues, and temporary staff members.
Councilor Cheney wanted to recognize Jim Parker for doing such a wonderful job as Moderator at Town Meeting. She then discussed the errors in the Town Report. Member of the public Joan Perkins suggested that Town staff start the budget process earlier this year than in the past. She outlined that the Town should provide more information to the public about the schedule through venues such as the TV channel, web page, and newsletters.
Councilor Champaco suggested that perhaps the budget could be discussed one department at a time instead of all departments on the same night. Manager Reed noted that suggestion and said he looked forward to implementing a new budget timeline and format.
Councilor Hathaway outlined that the Town Council should establish the goals/benchmarks for all Town departments, including the School Department. He noted that until those goals and benchmarks are established, the School Committee should not have to be at the Workshops.
Chairman Friedman suggested that the Budget and School Committees and Department Heads be invited to the Council meeting on July 11. At that meeting, it has been suggested that a new budget timeline be scheduled in order to implement it this year. Then, once the schedule is complete, Town staff will notify citizens of the new schedule. The Manager outlined that he would have a letter sent out to all parties of interest as soon as possible.
b. Interment Fees Discussion
Manager Reed noted that Public Works Superintendent George Free provided himself and the Council with a spreadsheet that detailed the differences in Interment Fees of towns surrounding Veazie. Superintendent Free wanted to raise the fees in Veazie to be more comparable with these Towns but Manager Reed said this discussion could basically be put to rest because, at that time, only ten plots remained in the cemetery.
Manager Reed then discussed the memo that Mr. Free provided about the American Concrete truck driving through the cemetery in the unmarked area. Mr. Free noted in his letter that there were plywood boards down to mark areas okay to drive over. Manager Reed noted that Brookings-Smith was going to take care of the situation because the Town has very little jurisdiction over American Concrete, which was contracted with Brookings-Smith for the service they provided.
Councilor Hathaway asked Manager Reed if there has ever been discussion about making an agreement with Mt. Hope Cemetery. Councilor Hathaway then inquired if that it might be possible for Veazie residents to buy plots there for a discounted rate.
Chairman Friedman suggested that someone from Mt. Hope come to a Council meeting to discuss the possibility.
ITEM 6. Comments from the Public
There were no comments from the public.
ITEM 7. Manager’s Report
a. Manager Reed noted that the memo from Public Works Superintendent G. Free was discussed in Item 5b.
b. After much careful review, Manager Reed informed the Council that the most appropriate avenue to take with Budget Committee Member Joan Perkins’ letter was to forward the letter to the School Committee Chairperson and the Superintendent because of the possibility of the letter becoming a personnel issue. The Manager also noted that the Council can address the issue of keeping public meetings under control.
c. Manager Reed gave the floor to Code Enforcement Officer Allan Thomas to discuss the enclosed letter to the manager of Greystone Park about the illegal burning that occurred there. Mr. Thomas noted that he saw thick smoke and after asking the Firefighter on duty if there was a permit issued, he went to Greystone to check things out. The resident did in fact have a permit but not to burn the things he was burning.
Mr. Thomas noted that the letter was written to inform the Park manager of what was happening and that it was illegal.
d. Manager Reed noted the next letter, also from CEO A. Thomas, to residents on Main Street about mowing their lawn. Town staff noted that the house is being foreclosed on.
e. Manager Reed noted the letter of resignation from Rec Director Rosemary Freese and how Town staff will all be sad to see her go, but we wish her the best of luck.
f. The Manager also discussed the letter he received from former Councilor Bill Hogan and that he, too, will be missed.
g. Manager Reed noted the May monthly report of the Veazie Fire Department that was enclosed.
h. The enclosed article about Milford’s Town Office closing for two days caught Manager Reed’s attention. He wanted to point out how strange he thought it was that a Town Office would close for two days to close out the fiscal year.
i. Manager Reed pointed out on the Worker’s Compensation Report that the Town has done a great job in improving the safety of the work environment. The Town’s MOD rating is below 1.0.
j. The Manager noted on the enclosed minutes from the March 18 Bangor Regional Development meeting.
k. The Manager noted the memo from Michael Bush of EMDC.
l. Manager Reed noted the Bangor Area Comprehensive Transportation System (BACTS) meeting minutes from April 26.
m. The Penobscot Valley Council of Government’s fuel bid proposal and meeting minutes from May 17 were noted by the Manager.
n. Manager Reed noted the enclosed weekly legislative reports from the previous four weeks.
o. Manager Reed noted the enclosures that were provided by Code Enforcement Officer Allan Thomas about the accomplishments of the Bangor Area Stormwater Group and the minutes of the most recent meeting.
p. Manager Reed discussed the financial statements provided by Deputy Treasurer Julie Reed. It was noted that the Police Department took a hit this year because so many of the new officers have more experience than the Chief budgeted for. The Manager also noted that the Fire Department ended very well, and that Public Works had just applied for a grant for up to $6,000 to recover some of the money used during the winter storms. This would help put them on top for the end of the 2004/2005 Fiscal Year.
The Manager also wanted to point out that at the June 14 meeting, the Municipal Credit Reserve estimate was $75,000, but at year-end, it is likely to be closer to $100,000.
ITEM 8. Requests for Information and Town Council Comments
Councilor Cheney asked Manager Reed if he knew when repairs are going to commence on State Street. Manager Reed noted that the work is supposed to begin this summer: all of the preliminary work has been done and Lane/Sunrise Construction Company was awarded the contract.
There were no further comments or requests for information.
ITEM 9. Town Warrant 26 and 26A, Town Payroll Warrant 26, School Warrant 26, School Lunch Warrant 26, and School Payroll Warrant 26 were circulated and signed.
Chairman Friedman requested that Town Staff notify the School Committee that they need to sign their warrants to ensure proper review.
ITEM 10. Adjournment: Motion: Councilor Helen—to adjourn the June 27, 2005 Town Council Meeting. Seconded: Councilor Perkins–there was no further discussion. Voted 5-0. Meeting adjourned at 9:03 p.m.