PRESENT: Chairman Friedman, Councilor Hathaway, Councilor Champaco, Councilor Cheney and Councilor Perkins; Manager W. Reed; Office Administrator J. Reed, Deputy Clerk K. Humphrey; Tax Assessor A. Thomas; Police Chief M. Leonard, Assistant Fire Chief C. Tenney, Will Eisworth & Sean MacDonald of American Concrete.
ITEM 1. The February 6, 2006 Veazie Town Council was called to order at 7:00PM.
ITEM 2. Consideration of the Minutes
Motion By: Councilor Champaco—to accept the January 23, 2006 minutes as written. Seconded: Councilor Perkins, Voted 4-0-1 in favor. Councilor Hathaway abstained due to his absence.
ITEM 3. Consideration of the Agenda
There were no additions to the agenda.
ITEM 4a. American Concrete Request
Will Eisworth & Sean MacDonald, were present from American Concrete to discuss a new structure they wish to build at the American Concrete site. The Town’s ordinance requires that the Town Council authorize or approve any height change over 35 feet. American Concrete wishes to build a structure 55 feet tall. Silos will be enclosed inside of the structure.
Councilor Cheney asked whether the structure will emit anything. Sean MacDonald of American Concrete explained that it will keep dust down.
Councilor Hathaway inquired on what happens to the approval if the Planning Board does not approve the project. He thought it should be contingent upon the Planning Board’s approval. CEO Thomas outlined that the authorization would not matter any longer due to the fact that the project could not be built.
Motion By: Councilor Cheney—to authorize the Code Enforcement Officer to waive the height limitation of 35 feet for the proposed American Concrete Batch Plant contingent upon the Planning Board’s approval and under the terms and conditions that he deems necessary and appropriate. Seconded: Councilor Hathaway, there was no further discussion, Voted 5-0 in favor.
ITEM 5a. Audit Report
Manager Reed outlined that Town Auditor Charemon Willey-Staples was unable to attend and would attend the next scheduled meeting. Manager Reed passed out two charts regarding the undesignated fund. Due to new reporting guidelines and the Town’s fund balance policy it looks as if the undesignated fund decreased greatly, however it really had not. The new reporting displays the allocation of working funds / capital that is needed by the Town in order to have positive cash flow.
Manager Reed outlined that the next scheduled meeting is February 20th which is Presidents Day. It was the consensus of the Council to cancel the meeting and to have the Town’s auditor attend the next scheduled meeting.
ITEM 6. Comments from the Public
There were no comments from the public.
Councilor Champaco wanted to discuss the letter that Manager Reed had placed in front of each of the Councilors from former Parks & Recreation Committee member Joan Perkins.
Chairman Friedman stated that he felt badly that Mrs. Perkins and other members of the Parks & Recreation Committee feel that the former director was diminished. He outlined that he thought the Town Council had made it very clear that the former director had done an excellent job and she had big shoes to fill. He added that the Town Council had tabled the conversation on resignations at the last meeting and they did not accept the resignations with the understanding that miscommunications had occurred.
Councilor Perkins commented that writing the members a two page letter detailing the committee’s short comings was not a good way to invite them back.
Councilor Friedman expressed that he had seen the letter since it was going to the committee and the manager had also ran it by several different staff members and advisors. He did not feel that the letter should have been taken negatively. He apologized if it had and Manager Reed also expressed an apology too.
Chairman Friedman stated that the number one goal is to make sure the children are taken care of. There was a change in directors, whether the former director followed policy or not is not the question. It’s if children go to the programs and that the children are enjoying the program. It is unfortunate to have Manager Reed outlining the Town’s perspective and Mrs. Perkins outlining the committee’s perspective. It was noted that directors come and directors go. The present director was left in good hands and with a good program. It seems that every time there is a memo sent out there is a chance for miscommunication. Chairman Friedman wondered whether the committee could come in and meet with Manager Reed and Director Janicki. Ms. Perkins stated that she would be happy
to discuss this with Manager Reed. It was noted that the issue got larger than it should have and it’s unfortunate.
Chairman Friedman outlined that the reason the minute recorder was eliminated was due to the budget and cutting expenses. He added that the Planning Board does not have a staff member to take minutes as well; the committee takes the minutes and remits them to the Town’s staff. Joan Perkins stated that she assumed it was related to expense cutting and the committee was fine with it.
Chairman Friedman recommended that Manager Reed arrange a meeting so that he, the committee members and Director Janicki could sit down and discuss these issues.
Councilor Cheney expressed concern that this matter might be a little more complicated due to relationships of the individuals involved. She asked what it was called when family members were involved in conflicts while working together.
Councilor Hathaway outlined that he was deeply troubled and saddened that the Town had four dedicated people that volunteered their time in a program that is very successful. He added that staff should have outlined to the committee what their role was in the beginning, not now after receiving a resignation from the entire committee. There was obviously a breakdown in communication.
Joan Perkins stated that she hopes that she won’t receive any further correspondence from the Town Office; she found the letter’s tone very hurtful.
ITEM 7. Manager’s Report
a. The Council reviewed a copy of a report issued by the State Department of Planning entitled: LD 1 Report First Year Progress 2005.
b. The Council reviewed a copy of the SBA newsletter with a copy of the Milken Institute report on the Cost of Doing Business which displays that Maine is in the middle of the pact pertaining to costs.
c. The Council reviewed a copy of a letter that staff sent to the Parks and Recreation Committee members who signed the letter of resignation.
d. The Council reviewed a copy of the Fire Department’s monthly report for January 2006.
e. The Council reviewed a copy of a Certificate of Participating for the Maine Emergency Transportation Seminar. Chief Martin attended the session.
f. The Council reviewed a copy of a letter sent to Bucky Owen following up on the Town’s continued support of the Orono Land Trust’s application for the Land of Maine’s Future Funds.
g. The Council reviewed a copy of the “Buck Hill Conservation Area Wetland Delineation Report” which will be used by the Conservation Commission and Planning Board.
h. The Council reviewed a copy of the PERC recycling credit Statement report.
ITEM 8. Requests for Information and Town Council Comments
Councilor Perkins suggested breaking the department heads’ presentations up instead of having them all in one night. Manager Reed stated that this year he has broken both the School Department and the municipal departments into two nights. This will allow two departments each night to make their presentation and hopefully the meetings will not run too long. It was also noted that since the workshops were no longer a part of the Council meetings that the sessions can be more focused on the budget proposals. The Council members were also encouraged to come to the workshop sessions to hear the proposed budgets.
Councilor Perkins also suggested putting something in the newsletter about the upcoming meetings to encourage residents to come forward now instead of waiting until the Town Meeting to bring up their issues.
Councilor Hathaway stated that he had attended a meeting a couple weeks ago in Bangor on EPS. He was wondering if the Town could get Senator Schneider to come on a separate night to talk about EPS. She could explain how it works, how the numbers fit and how it benefits or is a disadvantage.
Councilor Hathaway also inquired whether there was an update on the old Town dump/Salmon Club. Manager Reed stated that testing is still out at this point. The Town is keeping an eye on erosion. It looks like the Town will have to do some bank stabilizing. Councilor Hathaway asked if it looked like the Town would have to budget for this. Manager Reed said yes.
Councilor Hathaway wanted to comment on the January 9th meeting minutes since he wasn’t in attendance at the meeting where they were approved. When the Council was discussing the Buck Hill Drive water situation with Barney Silver there was a comment on why the Planning Board would allow a subdivision there. He wanted to clarify that he wasn’t questioning that. What he really meant was that the Town’s Planning Board, when it comes to the subdivision process, should include more evaluations and studies of water. The comment about wondering if the Town would be looking at a reconstruction in fifty years, he said he thought he said or meant more like ten or fifteen years.
ITEM 9. Town Warrant 16 & 16A, Town Payroll 16, School Warrant 16, School Lunch Warrant 16 and School Payroll 16 were circulated and signed.
ITEM 10. Adjournment: Motion: Councilor Hathaway—to adjourn the February 6, 2006 Town Council Meeting. Seconded: Councilor Perkins—there was no further discussion. Voted 5-0. Meeting adjourned at 8:00 p.m.
A true record, Attest:
Town of Veazie