PRESENT: Chairman Friedman, Councilor Champaco, Councilor Hathaway, Councilor Perkins, Councilor Cheney; Manager W. Reed; Assistant Clerk K. Humphrey; Tax Assessor A. Thomas; Police Chief M. Leonard; Fire Chief G. Martin; Assistant Fire Chief Carl Tenney; Public Works Superintendent Butch Free; Superintendent Kelly Clenchy; School Committee Chair Duska Hayman; School Committee Applicants: Emily Hathaway and Amy VanKirk and one member of the public.
ITEM 1. The September 19, 2005 Veazie Town Council was called to order at 7:00PM.
ITEM 2. Consideration of the Minutes
Motion By: Councilor Cheney—to accept the August 22, 2005 minutes as written. Seconded: Councilor Perkins. There was no more discussion. Voted 3-0-2 in favor. Councilor Champaco and Councilor Hathaway abstained due to their absence.
ITEM 3. Consideration of the Agenda
There were no additions to the agenda.
ITEM 4. School Committee Appointment Discussion
Manager Reed outlined that in the Councilor’s packets were two letters of interest for the vacant school committee position. Emily Hathaway and Amy VanKirk both were present to meet with the Town Councilors. Councilor Cheney appreciated the two individuals attending the meeting and she looks forward to working with either one of them.
School Committee Chair Duska Hayman outlined that the School Committee would prefer someone with prior School Committee experience due to the committee already having two new members. She added that the committee will be doing negotiations this year and currently she is the only one who has experience with it.
Superintendent Clenchy stated that he and the committee are thrilled that they have two individuals interested in sitting on the School Committee. He added that with two new members they are looking for someone with a solid record of volunteerism with children.
Amy VanKirk gave a brief overview of herself. She moved here two years ago from Lexington, Virginia where she was involved with the Parent Teacher Organization (PTO), fundraising and book sales. She was also a trustee of a library and she volunteered in her three children’s classes and continues to do so here.
Julia Hathaway outlined that she has been a long time resident for fifteen years. She has gotten to know a lot about the people in town. She stated she became interested in serving on the School Committee because there has never been anyone to represent the lower income class children on the School Committee. She has taught, run a school library and she also has three years of PHD level education that involves child development. Julia Hathaway added that she has spoken with many residents and she knows the concerns of residents when it comes to education. It is her intention to bring input from the citizens to the School Committee and vice versa.
Councilor Champaco stated that she doesn’t feel the Council should be voting on a replacement for the School Committee vacancy. She also added that the only qualifications she sees necessary for a person to be on the School Committee is that they are a resident of Veazie and that they care about the children and their needs as well as the needs of the community.
Councilor Hathaway wanted to note that he and Mrs. Hathaway are not related they simply share the same last name.
Motion By: Councilor Champaco—to appoint Julia Hathaway to fill the term of the School Committee Board seat left vacant by the resignation of Lisa Janicki, a duly elected School Committee member until the June 2006 Annual Town Election at which time the remainder of the term will be open for election. Seconded: Councilor Hathaway. Roll call vote as follows:
Yeas: Councilor Champaco, Councilor Perkins, Councilor Cheney and Councilor Hathaway
Nays: Chairman Friedman
ITEM 5a. Haz-Mat Incident Update
Fire Chief Martin stated that cooperation between the Town’s Haz-Mat unit and Orono’s Haz-Mat unit went very well. He outlined that there were several negative comments about public safety standing around wasting taxpayers money. He explained that even though it appeared to some residents that this was what they were doing they were in fact following a set procedure.
Assistant Fire Chief Tenney told the Council the chain of events that unfolded from the incident. He explained that it may have appeared to someone standing on the outside that time was being wasted, however a written protocol was being followed. After examining the chemicals the decision was made to contact Haz-Mat and the State Fire Marshall. An assessment also had to be done to see what hazards could affect the surrounding residents. When the chemicals were removed a safe corridor needed to be set up and laws needed to be abided by. Assistant Fire Chief Tenney outlined that he felt everyone worked very well together. He added that the Fire Marshall was very impressed when he came on site two hours after the incident had began.
Police Chief Leonard stated that currently there is an ongoing criminal investigation regarding the chemicals being left in the residence. The department is working with the Fire Marshall and determining whether criminal charges will be pressed.
Chairman Friedman stated that he has heard nothing but positive comments regarding the professionalism of the departments. He commended the departments on a great job.
Councilor Hathaway inquired who will be responsible for the costs associated with this incident. Police Chief Leonard stated that he has been in contact with the County EMA Director. Currently the County does not have a county Haz-Mat team so Orono has taken the responsibility over. Police Chief Leonard was heard that the Town of Orono will bill the County for the time the Haz-Mat team was deployed and any associated costs. The County could do one of two things; pay for it under their Haz-mat budget or revert the bill back to the Town of Veazie.
Police Chief Leonard outlined that there is another option he is going to seek. He believes since the chemicals were put there by a person that they should be responsible for paying for the cost. He stated that he will seek restitution in the criminal case to cover all costs associated with the incident.
Councilor Perkins stated that the departments did a great job and he appreciated them being so patient with onlookers.
ITEM 5ai. Transfer Request
Manager Reed outlined that there was a copy of a transfer request from the Fire Department in their packets. He explained that this is a transfer that is done annually to resupply the EMS supplies. Whenever Capital Ambulance responds to an EMS call in Town, Veazie is reimbursed for the call.
Councilor Hathaway inquired why the reimbursements were not shown as a revenue line item. Manager Reed stated that it could be done that way in the coming fiscal year.
Motion By: Councilor Cheney—to authorize the transfer of $2,989 of rebated EMS revenues from the Town’s Undesignated Fund Balance to the Fire Department’s General Maintenance Fund. Seconded: Councilor Perkins, Voted 5-0 in favor.
ITEM 5b. Municipal Facilities Discussion
Manager Reed outlined that there has been some vandalism at the municipal building. Recently the windows on the backhoe were smashed. He also noted that it appeared as though someone put something in the air intake of the generator back when it had to be repaired. The police cruiser has also had a few flat tires that may have been caused by vandalism, however it is unknown. Manager Reed outlined that he spoke with department heads and discussed how the Town monitors onsite. Currently there is nothing that shows who was onsite and when. He spoke with a security company and they came and did an assessment of the Town’s options. Included in the Council packets were two estimates for facility coverage.
He noted that in the past the Town has done things to improve the security of the facility including installing a fake camera and installing a gate to Public Works. Manager Reed added that Public Works is also missing some power tools. People are also dropping off chemicals, waste, TVs, etc. at the gate and garage door. Public Works received an estimate for $800 for the disposal of items that had been left.
Manager Reed outlined that there are privacy issues and mixed feelings from departments regarding the possibility of cameras being installed.
Superintendent of Public Works Butch Free stated that one of his main concerns is the issue of containers of liquid being left at his garage door. The items have to be treated as a hazardous waste, which is a big cost to the Town.
Councilor Champaco asked if there were any signs posted on the garage door that say “no dumping”. Superintendent Butch Free stated that there is a sign at the gate. Councilor Champaco suggested putting another sign on the garage door. Manager Reed explained that it is illegal to dump chemicals anywhere and people should know better.
Superintendent Butch Free outlined that in the winter the gate is not up because the plow trucks can not fit through, however this winter he plans on installing a new gate that will be wide enough for the plows.
Councilor Hathaway stated that there were only two bids, one for $7,000 and another for $10,000. He outlined that he thought those were a bit excessive. He suggested providing documentation for all of the events and suggesting it as a budget item at a budget hearing.
Councilor Perkins inquired whether the municipal building had an alarm. Manager Reed stated that it only has a fire alarm.
A member of the public inquired whether the tools missing from Public Works were taken from a vehicle or a locked area. Police Chief Leonard stated that they were taken from inside the facility. The gentleman also suggested fingerprinting the containers left at the garage door, it may be costly but beneficial.
Manager Reed also wanted to discuss the idea of installing a gas pump behind the building in Public Works. Currently the Town is paying about a 30 cent premium by going to a gas station.
Superintendent Butch Free stated that he has priced a 500 gallon tank, pumps and nozzles. It would cost roughly $2,900. It would be used for all departments that need gas.
It was decided to apply for the permitting and see how much it will cost.
Councilor Champaco inquired who will be paying for the gas if all departments are using it. Superintendent Butch Free stated that each department will keep track of what they use and the cost will be appropriated to each department. Councilor Champaco also inquired whether the pump would be locked. Superintendent Butch Free stated that it would be locked and authorized users would have a key.
ITEM 6a. Maxell Property Update
Manager Reed outlined that some Councilors and members of the public had had some questions regarding the Maxell property being up for sale. He explained that the Town is not selling the property the Maxell family is. The Town has a lien interest in the property. Manager Reed stated that he had spoken with the attorneys involved in the matter regarding the liabilities associated with the lien. It has been established that the Town will be paid before the closing or will be a party at the closing to be paid.
ITEM 6b. Assessor’s Update
Assessor Allan Thomas outlined that he did the tax commitment a little later than he had hoped. He has had a number of abatement requests, some were mistakes he had made and abatements were issued immediately. He noted that he was out all of last week due to attending Assessor School.
Stormwater has been a major issue this summer. The stormwater group had a display at the Folk Festival in Bangor and one of Veazie’s local businesses helped the group in purchasing a sign for the display. Currently the group is holding monthly meetings and have hired a consultant that is being paid for by a grant the group received.
Assessor Allan Thomas stated that the Planning Board has worked with Collabric and approved their expansion. Veazie Food and Gas also applied to have a Uhaul substation at their facility.
Assessor Allan Thomas informed the Council that Deputy Code Enforcement Officer John Ellis has resigned and is now working for the Town of Levant.
Councilor Cheney inquired on who will be available to take his place when he is away. Assessor Allan Thomas stated that he does not plan on being away like he was last week. He also contacts contractors to let them know when he will be out so they can make alternate arrangements.
Councilor Cheney also inquired on how often he does abatements. Assessor Allan Thomas stated that abatements are required to be kept in a bound book and showed the Council the small book of all the abatements he has done since he has been employed here. Councilor Cheney asked if there was a chronic problem in mistakes being made. Assessor Allan Thomas stated that there wasn’t and when it is his fault he immediately fixes the problem.
Councilor Cheney asked whether the Town would be looking for a replacement for the Deputy Code Enforcement Officer position. Assessor Allan Thomas stated that some duties may swap over to Public Works, for instance drain cleaning. However, these are just ideas right now.
ITEM 7. Comments from the Public
Police Chief Leonard wanted to give a staff update to the Council. The department just hired a new full-time officer and is losing two other officers. Police Chief Leonard also informed the Council that he has been appointed Sergeant at Arms of the Maine Chiefs of Police Association.
ITEM 8. Manager’s Report
a. The Council reviewed a copy of a memo from Code Enforcement Officer Allan Thomas pertaining to the mobile home that was placed on Hobson Avenue.
b. The Council reviewed a copy of a memo from the Maine Municipal Association regarding voting credentials for the MMA Annual Business Meeting in October.
c. The Council reviewed a copy of a letter from Penquis C.A.P. regarding the Town’s non-exclusive lease agreement.
d. The Council reviewed a copy of a letter from Principal Scott Nichols thanking the Public Works Department for work they had done at the school and regarding some additional maintenance that needs to be done.
e. The Council reviewed a copy of the news stories that appeared on the Channel 5 and Channel 2 websites regarding the Haz-Mat incident on September 8th on the Chase Road.
f. The Council reviewed a copy of the Fire Department’s monthly report.
g. The Council reviewed a copy of the School Committee’s agenda and meeting minutes.
ITEM 9. Requests for Information and Town Council Comments
Councilor Perkins inquired on who published the last Town newsletter. It was noted that Karen Humphrey had done the newsletter. Councilor Perkins stated she did a great job.
ITEM 10. Town Warrant 6, Town Payroll 6, School Warrant 6 and School Payroll 6 were circulated and signed.
ITEM 11. Adjournment: Motion: Councilor Cheney—to adjourn the September 19, 2005 Town Council Meeting. Seconded: Councilor Hathaway–there was no further discussion. Voted 5-0. Meeting adjourned at 8:47 p.m.