PRESENT: Chairman Friedman, Councilor Perkins, Councilor Cheney; Manager W. Reed; Assistant Clerk K. Humphrey; Office Administrator J. Reed, Tax Assessor A. Thomas; Police Chief M. Leonard; Fire Chief G. Martin; Planning Board Members John Manter, Chris Cronan, County Commissioner Peter Baldacci, County Administrator Bill Collins, Superintendent Kelly Clenchy. Councilors Hathaway and Champaco were absent and excused.
ITEM 1. The August 22, 2005 Veazie Town Council was called to order at 7:01PM.
ITEM 2. Consideration of the Minutes
Motion By: Councilor Perkins—to accept the August 8, 2005 minutes as written. Seconded: Councilor Cheney. There was no more discussion. Voted 2-0-1 in favor.
ITEM 3. Consideration of the Agenda
Chairman Friedman added a Planning Board update to the agenda. This was added as item 4d.
ITEM 4a. Penobscot County Update
Manager Reed outlined that Councilor Hathaway at the last meeting had asked if officials from the county could be present at the next meeting to discuss county jail costs. County Commissioner Peter Baldacci and County Administrator Bill Collins were present to answer any questions the Council may have.
County Commissioner Peter Baldacci stated that the jails are the driving cost of the County budget. On Tuesday, August 23rd there will be a meeting in Augusta of the Appropriation Committee to look at ways to reduce costs between the State and Counties on jails. He outlined that courts are the one who determine how long people serve and the counties are ones left with how to pay for the cost. Health care is a major cost for the county in jails. Health insurance makes up $1.3 million of the current Penobscot County budget. The Penobscot County jail has been overpopulated for a number of years. The jail is licensed to hold 136 inmates and currently there are 150-160. They have had as many as 185-190 sometimes. The county is responsible for boarding them and has to
transport them to alternate jails outside the county. The cost is $100 a day on average per inmate.
County Commissioner Peter Baldacci stated that the courts are moving out of the historic building and moving to another building. The county is hoping to move dispatch to the 1st floor of the building.
Chairman Friedman inquired whether the county foresees the State picking up any of the costs, he does not like the idea of the county footing the bill for jails.
County Commissioner Peter Baldacci stated that the county is responsible for inmates who meet certain specifications such as inmates in for misdemeanors who serve a certain amount of time. The State is responsible for others.
County Administrator Bill Collins outlined that the State has a pool of money based on what they appropriate for the year. The County receives a percent regardless of what the State’s obligation is. More than 60% of the inmates receive physchotropic medication and some inmates need one on one coverage because of suicidal tendencies. Mental institutions are downsizing and the only facilities that have more than one or two available beds is Cumberland and York. That means that the inmates must be transferred to the south. The increased population also means increased food, clothing, etc.
Councilor Cheney inquired if the county had implemented any programs to help cut costs. County Administrator Bill Collins stated that they have started a 2nd offender program. Usually a second offender will go to jail for 7 days, however with this new program they go to a facility to perform community service. It is monitored like a house arrest.
Councilor Perkins inquired whether anyone has thought about regionalizing jails. County Commissioner Peter Badacci stated that they have, however just like towns they worry about who is going to run it.
ITEM 4b. Uncollectible Taxes
Manager Reed outlined that there is an abandoned trailer in Silvers Trailer Park. It was recommended that it would be in the Town’s best interest to write off the taxes due. Councilor Cheney inquired on how long it has been abandoned. Deputy Tax Collector Julie Reed stated that it has been abandoned for a year and a half. The owner is no where to be found.
Councilor Perkins inquired whether it was the responsibility of the trailer park owner to take care of this issue. Manager Reed stated that the park owner could charge the Town rent for the trailer if the Town takes over ownership of the unit. It would be cheaper for the Town to write off the taxes due. The park owner is going to have the trailer removed from the park. If the Town removed it the cost would be somewhere around $1,000.
Motion By: Councilor Cheney—to authorize the Town’s Treasurer to write off the following account #897, Anthony Clewley, Tax Year 2003-2004 in the principal amount of $135.29 plus interest and costs associated with the account to date. Seconded: Councilor Perkins, Voted 3-0 in favor.
ITEM 4c. School Committee Appointment Discussion
Manager Reed stated that at the last meeting he had informed the Council that Lisa Janicki would be resigning from the School Committee. Included in the Councilor’s packets was a copy of a letter from Superintendent Clenchy acknowledging her resignation. Manager Reed outlined that the School Committee would like to approach past members where the committee has two new members. The staff in the Town Office drafted a public announcement which states that prior school committee experience is preferred.
Manager Reed stated that during the budget process, the School Committee’s budget meetings will be listed on the budget schedule. The consensus of the Town Council was to approve the staffs’ recommended action plan.
ITEM 4d. Planning Board Update
Planning Board Chair Chris Cronan outlined that the Planning Board has been working on a master planning process for over a year. In carrying out decisions the Planning Board has had two documents to guide them; Veazie’s Landuse Ordinance and the Town’s Comprehensive Plan. The Planning Board is working on improving their process, for instance, improving subdivisions that leave the Town with long roads ending in cul-de-sacs. The underlying concern of the Planning Board is the concept of “sprawl”. The Planning Board has hired an outside consultant named Terry DeWan to assist in the development of a community master plan. The Planning Board does not want to see Veazie transformed by “sprawl” and would like to have a guide for future growth and the locations of
Planning Board Chair Chris Cronan outlined that the board has new revisions for the Landuse Ordinance that they will be bringing to public hearings, particularly regarding subdivisions and the process involved with them.
Planning Board Chair Chris Cronan stated that eleven years ago the Planning Board passed an ordinance that required a developer in a R4 (Residential 4) zone to set aside 40% of the land to be developed for openspace.
ITEM 4e. September 5, 2005 Meeting
It was the consensus of the Council to cancel the September 5, 2005 meeting due to it being Labor Day, a legal holiday.
ITEM 5a. Solid Waste Discussion
Manager Reed included in the Councilor’s packets a copy of the Town’s annual tonnage figures for solid waste. He outlined that solid waste is reflective of the economy. In conversation at a prior Council meeting someone had suggested having trash day every two weeks instead of every week. In speaking to Waste Management, the Town’s cost would not decrease because the same amount of trash would have to be picked up and they would need four trucks instead of two.
Manager Reed outlined that the Household Hazardous Waste Collection would be coming up in October. The Town is budgeting $72 per car load and it is estimating that there will be 21 car loads from Veazie.
ITEM 6. Comments from the Public
Fire Chief Gerry Martin outlined that the department just finished a confined space training. The department was only responsible for paying for a third of the cost. In taking the class, they realized that there are a lot more areas considered to be confined space. The department had a contribution from CBEC which reduced the cost to the Town a great deal.
ITEM 7. Manager’s Report
a. Manager Reed outlined that Tom Davis had met with the Planning Board to discuss his family’s future development plan of the Davis Family LLC holdings in Veazie. The firm that is working with Mr. Davis has outlined that they are trying to meet the needs of both the developer, the Davis family and the Town.
b. The Council reviewed a copy of a letter from Ray Bradford, a Mount Hope Trustee, regarding the Town’s proposal. It seems that their charter prohibits the Town’s proposal.
c. The Council reviewed a copy of the cash flow financial charts. Manager Reed outlined that the Town relies on one tax collection and the investment opportunities that it provides for the Town to pay expenses all year long.
d. The Council reviewed a copy of a Bangor Daily News article pertaining to stormwater education and training. Manager Reed outlined that Code Enforcement Officer Allan Thomas is the chair of the regional NPDES group.
e. The Council reviewed a copy of a letter from the Department of Economic and Community Development that outlined that the Milken Institute found Maine to be a good value State to do business in.
ITEM 8. Requests for Information and Town Council Comments
Councilor Perkins outlined that he had received a couple complaints about the mud on route 2 by Graystone Trailer Park. Code Enforcement Officer Allan Thomas stated that Lou Silver Inc. paved 150 feet in to try and get most of it off their tires before entering route 2. Councilor Cheney inquired when they would be done hauling in and out of there. Code Enforcement Officer Allan Thomas stated that he would find out.
ITEM 9. Town Warrant 4, Town Payroll 4, School Warrants 3a & 4 and School Payroll 4 were circulated and signed.
ITEM 10. Adjournment: Motion: Councilor Cheney—to adjourn the August 22, 2005 Town Council Meeting. Seconded: Councilor Perkins –there was no further discussion. Voted 3-0. Meeting adjourned at 8:32 p.m.