PRESENT: Councilor Hathaway, Councilor Champaco, Councilor Perkins; Manager W. Reed; Assistant Clerk J. Raye; Tax Assessor A. Thomas; Police Chief M. Leonard; Fire Chief G. Martin; Members of the Public: VZ Food & Gas Owner M. Singh; Matt North from Trundy Real Estate. Chairman Friedman and Councilor Cheney were absent and excused.
Councilor Champaco made a motion for Councilor Perkins to serve as the Chairperson Protem in the absence of Chairman Friedman. Seconded: Councilor Hathaway. There was no further discussion. Vote 2-0-1 in favor. Councilor Perkins abstained.
ITEM 1. The August 8, 2005 Veazie Town Council was called to order at 7:01PM.
ITEM 2. Consideration of the Minutes
Motion By: Councilor Champaco—to accept the July 11, 2005 minutes as written. Seconded: Councilor Hathaway. There was no more discussion. Voted 3-0 in favor.
ITEM 3. Consideration of the Agenda
Code Enforcement Officer Allan Thomas noted that under new business, he would like to add a discussion about Veazie’s newest convenience store, VZ Food & Gas. The discussion was added as Item 5b.
ITEM 4a. Budget Process Update
Manager Reed updated the Council about the meeting he had with the Department Heads. He noted that, as of yet, he had not been able to meet with the Superintendent because of conflicting schedules. The Manager did note, however, that though they are not always as visible as the Town Council, the School Board does have regular, public meetings during which they discuss their budget at great lengths. It was discussed that there are a number of opportunities for public input.
Councilor Hathaway requested that the Manager discuss Fixed Costs earlier in the budget process in order to accommodate for negotiation. Fixed Costs are things like Bangor Hydro, PERC, and Waste Management. Councilor Hathaway outlined that maybe the Town does not need as many street lights or weekly trash pick-up.
Councilor Hathaway asked if the county officials could come to a future meeting to give the Town officials an update.
ITEM 5a. Property Tax Roundup and Overview
Manager Reed noted that the mill rate for 2005-2006 is exactly what was estimated: 18.30. Tax Assessor Allan Thomas noted that the tax overlay dropped to $14,000, which was less than his original estimate. He then explained that this year, because of the $13,000 Homestead Exemption, people whose houses are valued at less than $80,000 saw a decrease in their tax bills and people whose houses are valued at more than $80,000 saw an increase in their tax bills. Mr. Thomas pointed out that, overall, most values stayed the same as the 2004-2005 values. A number of corrections were made to property tax card via review and citizen input.
Manager Reed noted that Veazie’s community value is still about 20% under market value but Assessor Thomas pointed out that because of the big jump he made in property values last year, he decided to keep it cool this year, thinking that the market is at a peak.
Councilor Champaco asked how State aid to education would be effected since our community value is 20% under market. Manager Reed reassured her by noting that the State will always be committed to the 8.25 mils EPS cap and the school debt cap.
There was then some discussion about tax refunds available from the State, including rent, property taxes, and business equipment taxes. It was noted that this information should be put in the upcoming newsletter.
ITEM 5b. VZ Food and Gas
Tax Assessor/CEO Allan Thomas introduced Manjit Singh, the owner of Veazie’s newest convenience store, VZ Food and Gas, to the Town Council.
Mr. Singh gave a little history about himself and talked about business at the new store. Mr. Thomas noted that Mr. Singh would be going in front of the Planning Board to request a small expansion behind his current building.
ITEM 6. Comments from the Public
No comments from the public.
ITEM 7. Manager’s Report
a. Manager Reed briefed the server changeover for the Council. He noted that overall, the change went very well with limited problems.
b. Manager Reed briefed Rosemary’s goodbye dinner with the seniors.
c. The Manager noted School Committee Member Lisa Janicki’s resignation from the Committee because she has taken on the Recreation Director position. A new Board Member will be appointed by the Council and will remain on the Board until next election at Town Meeting 2006.
d. Manager Reed noted the National Stormwater Act during his brief conversation about the cleanup of the backyard of the Municipal Building.
e. Manager Reed informed the audience that the increase in heavy rainfall, the old metal goods are all starting to show through the former landfill. The Town’s engineering firm has been contacted about this issue.
f. The Manager noted the Motor Vehicle inventory problems but reassured everyone that the Office Manager Julie Reed had it under control before it became a larger problem.
g. Manager Reed briefed the Conference that he was asked to speak at for the University’s Council of Water Resources. He noted that he was surprised at how many people from all over the country came to the conference.
h. Manager Reed noted the Bangor Daily News article about the rising costs of Solid Waste.
i. Manager Reed noted the minutes from the last School Committee meeting, as well as the agenda for the upcoming meeting.
j. Manager Reed noted the Fire Department Monthly Report for June.
k. Manager Reed noted the Police Department Quarterly Report for the 2nd quarter of 2005. Police Chief Mark Leonard answered a few questions about the break-ins at the beginning of the summer.
l. The Manager noted the most recent Weekly Legislative Report.
m. The Manager also noted the minutes from the Hazard Mitigation Planning Meeting.
n. Manager Reed noted a letter he received in response to asking Mt. Hope Cemetery trustees to take over Fairview Cemetery. It was noted that in their Charter the Cemetery Trustees aren’t allowed to have projects outside of the City of Bangor.
o. The Manager reviewed the Town’s investment report.
p. The Manager also noted the certificate the Town received for its participation in the Bangor-Brewer 4th of July parade.
Manager Reed informed the Town Council that Lisa Janicki would or had resigned from the School Committee due to the fact that she had taken a Parks and Recreation position. There was a brief discussion of past practices of the Town Council.
ITEM 8. Requests for Information and Town Council Comments
CEO Allan Thomas mentioned that the Bangor Area Stormwater Group is going to be having an exhibit at the American Folk Festival the last weekend in August.
Manager Reed informed the Council of an employee resignation, though he noted that Office Manager Julie Reed was going to discuss with the employee some different options.
Manager Reed outlined that the Town would now send all workers injured on the job to Occupational Health & Rehabilitation located near Stillwater Avenue. This directed managed care implementation is designed to keep the Town’s workers compensation ratio low.
Councilor Champaco made some suggestions about getting townspeople together with the Town service employees. Manager Reed noted all of the current ideas the Town staff is planning: Public Safety Day, Fire Prevention Week, the Halloween Carnival, and the Spring Extravaganza, et cetera. All of these ideas were addressed at the last department head meeting.
ITEM 9. Town Warrant 2, 2A, 2B, 3 and 3A, Town Payroll Warrants 2 and 3, School Warrants 2 and 3, and School Payroll Warrants 2 and 3 were circulated and signed.
ITEM 10. Adjournment: Motion: Councilor Hathaway—to adjourn the August 8, 2005 Town Council Meeting. Seconded: Councilor Champaco–there was no further discussion. Voted 3-0. Meeting adjourned at 8:29p.m.