PRESENT: Chairman Friedman, Councilor Champaco, Councilor Hathaway, Councilor Perkins, Councilor Cheney; Manager W. Reed; Deputy Clerk K. Humphrey; Tax Assessor A. Thomas; Office Administrator J. Reed, Police Chief Mark Leonard, Assistant Fire Chief Carl Tenney, Town Auditor Charemon Wiley.
ITEM 1. The November 14, 2005 Veazie Town Council was called to order at 7:00PM.
ITEM 2. Consideration of the Minutes
Motion By: Councilor Cheney—to accept the October 17, 2005 minutes as written. Seconded: Councilor Hathaway , Voted 4-0-1 in favor. Chairman Friedman abstained due to his absence.
ITEM 3. Consideration of the Agenda
Manager Reed outlined that he had a release deed that needed to be added to the agenda. This was added under Old Business as item 5b.
ITEM 4a. Budget Committee Appointment
Manager Reed outlined that Bill Hogan had expressed an interest after the last budget meeting and at the annual BRDA meeting in being on the Budget Committee. He added that Bill Hogan had served on the Budget Committee before he was a Town Councilor.
Motion By: Councilor Champaco—to appoint Bill Hogan to the Budget Committee for a three year term. Seconded: Chairman Friedman, Voted 5-0 in favor.
ITEM 5a. Audit Update
Town Auditor Charemon Wiley was present to give an overview of the draft audit. She outlined that this is the second year under the new reporting requirements. In looking at the Statement of Net Assets, she noted that net assets decreased due to depreciation, however, the unrestricted net assets (fund balance) increased.
Councilor Champaco inquired why it says there was a decrease in property taxes at the bottom of Table 1 when she thought valuations had gone up. Town Auditor Charemon Wiley outlined that valuations did go up, however net taxes went down. She also added that the TIF account decreased greatly over the past several years.
Councilor Cheney inquired why the TIF account decreased. CEO Allan Thomas outlined that natural gas is becoming less favorable so the value of the plant decreased.
Councilor Champaco inquired what unrestricted assets were. Town Auditor Charemon Wiley stated that those are assets with no restrictions, formally referred to as the undesignated fund balance.
Town Auditor Charemon Wiley stated that the school lunch program is doing better. She outlined that costs are going to be about the same every year, the school department needs to concentrate on getting participation up.
Councilor Hathaway inquired on whether the Town had an itemized schedule of assets. Town Auditor Charemon Wiley stated that the Town does, that was part of complying with GASB 34.
Councilor Champaco inquired why the school department does not budget more for the lunch program if it keeps having a loss. Town Auditor Charemon Wiley stated that that was what they tried doing this year. She would recommend not budgeting any less then they did this year. She outlined that the school lunch program is set up as a proprietary, however a proprietary should be self-supporting and this program will never be. The school should consider bringing it back as a line item in the operating budget of the school.
Town Auditor Charemon Wiley outlined that the schedules in the back of the draft audit are the same as the ones in the front only they are in more detail.
The Council thanked her for the presentation and looked forward to meeting with her again the future.
ITEM 5b. Release Deed
Deputy Tax Collector Julie Reed stated that in 1987 Earla Parks filed liens for properties in one month and in the following month filed the same liens on the same properties. She outlined that she only has lien files as far back as 1991 so she had to research through the Registry of Deeds. She explained that when the taxes were paid only one of those liens were discharged when both should have been.
Motion By: Councilor Hathaway—to authorize the Town Manager to sign off on the municipal release deed on the Town Council’s behalf for 1014 Olive Street property. Seconded: Councilor Cheney, Voted 5-0 in favor.
ITEM 6. Comments from the Public
There were no comments from the public.
ITEM 7. Manager’s Report
a. The Council reviewed a copy of the Budget Committee’s minutes and budget meeting schedule.
b. Manager Reed outlined that after discussions with the Superintendent pertaining to student enrollment projections conducted by Planning Decisions and the Cohort Survival Studies that the school department is going to continue to review the former studies for accuracies and see which methodology works the best for Veazie. If any new information is created the Superintendent will forward the information to the Town as soon as possible.
c. The Council reviewed a copy of the Penobscot Valley Council of Governments agenda and meeting minutes.
d. The Council reviewed a copy of the MRC’s Board of Directors Election Ballot.
e. The Council reviewed a copy of the School Committee’s meeting minutes and agenda.
f. The Council reviewed a copy of a memo from Office Administrator Julie Reed regarding an incident with a customer.
There was discussion on the safety of the Town Office staff. It was discussed that there should be a panic button installed for the Town Office staff to press in the event of a problem.
g. The Council reviewed a copy of a certificate of appreciation that was given to CEO Allan Thomas form the Kiwanis Club of Dexter for a presentation he did at the club.
h. The Council reviewed a copy of the Veazie Fire Department’s monthly report for the month of October.
i. The Council reviewed a copy of a card thanking the Fire Chief for the presentation that he and the Assistant Fire Chief gave at the Veazie Villas on fire safety.
j. The Council reviewed a copy of the outstanding tax accounts provided by Deputy Tax Collector Julie Reed.
k. The Council reviewed a copy of a holiday card from CES, Inc.
ITEM 8. Requests for Information and Town Council Comments
Councilor Champaco stated that it had come to her attention that some children have decided to boycott the school lunch program. She was concerned that if this continued the program would lose more money. Councilor Cheney inquired whether Councilor Champaco had mentioned this to the school board. Councilor Champaco stated that she has only known about the boycott for a week or so and has not mentioned it yet.
Manager Reed outlined that it was the 8th grade that was boycotting. Consensus was that the Councilor should speak with the School Committee.
Councilor Cheney asked how the Police Department was doing. Chief Mark Leonard stated that he had hired someone full-time and they were nearly close to completing their field training and then decided that they no longer wanted to be a police officer. He outlined that the department is down one full-time person plus the person they lost in the budget process last year.
ITEM 9. Town Warrant 10 & 10A, Town Payroll 10, School Warrant 10, School Lunch Warrant 10 and School Payroll 10 were circulated and signed.
ITEM 10. Adjournment: Motion: Councilor Cheney—to adjourn the November 14, 2005 Town Council Meeting. Seconded: Councilor Perkins–there was no further discussion. Voted 5-0. Meeting adjourned at 8:26p.m.