PRESENT: Chairman Friedman, Councilor Hathaway, Councilor Cheney, Councilor Champaco and Councilor Perkins; Manager W. Reed; Deputy Clerk K. Humphrey; Assessor A. Thomas, Office Administrator J. Reed, Police Chief M. Leonard, Planning Board Chair Chris Cronan, Penquis C.A.P. Representatives Tom Lewis and Stephen Mooers, JMAC Representative James McLeod, Members of the Public: Sherrie Patterson, Joan Perkins, Susan Laferriere, Mike Trainor, Anna Suddy, Albert Suddy.
ITEM 1. The May 1, 2006 Veazie Town Council was called to order at 7:00PM.
ITEM 2. Consideration of the Minutes
Motion By: Councilor Champaco—to accept the April 24, 2006 minutes as written. Seconded: Councilor Hathaway, Voted 4-0-1 in favor. Chairman Friedman abstained due to his absence from the meeting.
ITEM 3. Consideration of the Agenda
No additions were made to the agenda.
ITEM 4. Presentation to Past Parks & Recreation Committee Members
Former members of the Parks & Recreation Committee were honored for their many years and many hours of community service. Councilor Perkins presented Sherrie Patterson, Susan Laferriere and Joan Perkins with plaques. Former member Michael Laferriere was unable to attend the presentation.
Chairman Friedman stated that the program was what it is today because of the committee members and the endless hours they spent on the recreation program.
ITEM 5a. Longmeadow Drive Discussion
Member of the Public Mike Trainor discussed some groundwater and storm water issues that residents are having on Longmeadow Drive as well as septic issues. He would like to see the Town Council be proactive and cooperate with the Sewer District and have a study done to see if all residents on Longmeadow Drive could be connected to town sewer.
Code Enforcement Officer Allan Thomas stated that the Sewer District has already looked into putting Longmeadow Drive on town sewer. Chairman Friedman inquired on what the time table was with the Sewer District concerning it. CEO Thomas stated that it may be well into the future. The issue has been discussed with landowner Tom Davis and engineer Jim Parker. Tom Davis is aware that a sewer line would have to run across his property and an easement would be needed. Jim Parker of CES also has a preliminary design as well.
It was pointed out that Wood Lane and Brookside Terrace has the same problem. Code Enforcement Officer Allan Thomas noted that three septic systems have failed on Brookside Terrace in the past.
Planning Board Chair Chris Cronan inquired whether it was likely that the Town could approve a cost study. Manager Reed stated that he believed that the Sewer District has already done one and they have looked at two methodologies.
Member of the public Mike Trainor outlined that the problem was bigger than just the sewer. The Town needs to look at managing the storm water and groundwater.
It was outlined that the Planning Board is in the process of trying to draft new language in the Land Use Ordinance to allow sewer easements to qualify as openspace.
Councilor Hathaway noted that stormwater and how it sets on subdivisions is an issue and should be dealt with. Code Enforcement Officer Allan Thomas stated that the new federal mandate NPDES, doesn’t allow for the redirection of water. Swales and ponds are valid ways to help with water issues.
Member of the Public Albert Suddy stated that everyone on Longmeadow Drive should have to sign off on having sewer put on the street just like he needed to get everyone to sign off on his issue.
Councilor Hathaway stated that this issue has come before the Council numerous times and he would like to see the Town tackle the problem.
Chairman Friedman stated that the Sewer District and the Planning Board should be invited to a meeting to discuss the sewer issue.
ITEM 5b. Penquis CAP – Senior Housing
Stephen Mooers from Penquis C.A.P. was present to discuss a proposal for a second senior housing building. Currently there are no vacancies at the current facility and there is a waiting list of 20-25 people and the housing facility is not advertised. Veazie is rated high for elderly housing. They are proposing a 24 unit facility that would sit on the hill next to the current facility.
Tom Lewis stated that since the last project the State has created an affordable housing TIF law. They would be asking for the donation of some land from the Town. CEO Thomas stated that three acres of land is needed to place a 24 unit facility and he does not know if it is possible at this point in time.
Manager Reed stated that Town staff would like to continue to work on the project with the developer and currently they are working on the following matters: planning and community development issues, density and land use concerns, Maine State Housing issues and an Affordable Senior Housing Tax Increment Financing “TIF” Agreement.
Councilor Hathaway wanted to clarify that Penquis C.A.P. was only looking for a donation of the land and that there would be some payment in lieu of taxes that would be agreed upon. Tom Lewis stated that there would be an affordable housing TIF agreement.
Councilor Hathaway also inquired whether there would be precedence for Veazie residents. Stephen Mooers stated that there would be. Councilor Hathaway stated that it only made sense to develop the parcel since it was originally bought for the intention of a multipurpose facility.
Councilor Perkins asked who was responsible for the upkeep of the outside and inside of the facility and if the Town was involved in it. Stephen Mooers stated that the Orono Housing Authority maintains it.
Member of the public Albert Suddy inquired on the ratio of Veazie residents in the facility. Stephen Mooers stated that out of twenty residents, seven are Veazie residents and three were Veazie residents that had moved away and then came back.
ITEM 5c. JMAC Presentation
James McLeod was present to give a presentation on a d-card for the Town. He outlined that it was a tool that could accomplish numerous things. The paper copy of the annual report could be eliminated and it would be a pdf file on the card. The Town could also have all of its forms on the card for people to fill out. James McLeod stated that once the basis of the card is created it can just be updated on a regular basis. He showed the Council a demo of d-card which has a person on it that talks to the viewer.
Councilor Perkins asked how much it cost to make changes to the card. James McLeod stated that the cost of the card was getting it built. It is an hourly rate to do minor changes like adding fire safety information at Christmas time and such. He added that the Town would be able to track how well it was doing by how many hits it got.
Councilor Hathaway asked whether Manager Reed saw any cost savings from doing away with the paper annual reports. Manager Reed stated that if the Town had to pay for the card lump sum out of the budget that it would not be feasible. He added that there are a lot of historical items that it would be nice to get out to the public.
Chairman Friedman asked whether Town staff had discussed this proposal with the school. Manager Reed stated that it hadn’t.
Councilor Champaco stated that she really appreciated the paper annual report books. She outlined that she did not use the internet very much and felt more comfortable with the old fashion way. She outlined that James McLeod had a very valuable product, however Veazie is a really small town and keeping things simple is what Veazie offers and what makes it unique to residents. She added that she did not consider virtual reality to be human interaction.
Councilor Perkins stated that he was concerned with the cost of constantly updating it.
Councilor Hathaway stated that he liked the idea however was not sure whether this small town was ready for it. He would like to continue talking about it through the next year and perhaps budget for it.
Manager Reed stated that he will look into a grant for the project. He will also meet with department heads to discuss it. Chairman Friedman outlined that dialogue should be kept going and it should be discussed with department heads and the Superintendent.
Councilor Hathaway was excused as he needed to leave early.
ITEM 6a. Animal Fees
Manager Reed stated that Chief Leonard could not be at the meeting to discuss the animal fees. He outlined that the Chief had to fill in the fees in order to submit the contract however, they can be changed. Manager Reed stated that officers would not be doing the friendly trips, of returning pets home, anymore since the Bangor Humane Society is in such close proximity.
Councilor Champaco asked what it cost the Town for the Bangor Humane Society to take a dog. Manager Reed stated that it costs the Town $224 a month. She also asked whether these fees were typical for other towns. Manager Reed stated they were. He added that if you set the fees too high then no one will pick up their dog, if you set the fee too low then you will have repeat offenders.
Councilor Cheney stated that she thought the fee rates were too high especially for first time offenders. Councilor Champaco stated that she disagreed.
Member of the public Anna Suddy asked why the ones that were licensed couldn’t just be returned home. Code Enforcement Officer Allan Thomas stated that most of the time the owners are not home. Chairman Friedman stated that officers should not be using their time to deal with these issues when they could be taking care of something more important.
Councilor Cheney stated that she thought the first offense should be a warning and then a fee should be applied if they are a repeat offender. Councilor Perkins agreed. Councilor Champaco stated that if the Town isn’t going to charge for the first offense then the rate for the second offense should be raised.
Motion By: Councilor Cheney—to set the animal control collection fees as follows: First offense –no fee/warning; Second offense and third offense will be as already stated on the contact with the Bangor Human Society. Seconded: Councilor Perkins, Voted 3-1 in favor.
ITEM 6b. Manager’s Review
Manager Reed distributed his evaluation and goals list to the Councilors. The Councilors will use this information to complete the Manager’s evaluation.
ITEM 7. Comments from the Public
Member of the public Albert Suddy inquired whether the Council could help him with his issue. Manager Reed and Code Enforcement Officer Allan Thomas outlined that Mr. Suddy needed an amended deed or subdivision plan because when his was written it mistakenly said single family lot instead of multi-family. Due to his subdivision having a single family lot covenant, currently he needs to get everyone in his subdivision to sign off on him dividing his lot and building on it. Mr. Suddy is looking to build a smaller home. Code Enforcement Officer Allan Thomas outlined that from the Town’s Land Use Ordinance he could subdivide a lot but the deeds and covenants conflict.
ITEM 8. Manager’s Report
a. The Council reviewed a copy of the proposed Town budget and look forward to the Budget Committee’s recommendation.
b. Manager Reed stated that he had a meeting with Brian Ahern, Plant Manager CBEC, and it was outlined that the purchase and sale closing had been delayed once again.
c. The Council reviewed a copy of an information memo on LD 2056 which will repeal a good portion of the personal property tax.
d. The Council reviewed a copy of a dog complaint letter from a resident which is currently being followed up on by the Police Department.
e. The Council reviewed a copy of the School Committee’s agenda and meeting minutes.
ITEM 9. Requests for Information and Town Council Comments
Councilor Champaco stated that it was great that the Storm Water Group was having a barbecue for the volunteers after the stream cleanup, however, she thought it would be nice to have a barbecue sometime for the residents of Veazie.
ITEM 10. Town Warrant 22, Town Payroll 22, School Warrant 22, School Lunch Warrant 22 and School Payroll 22 were circulated and signed.
ITEM 11. Adjournment: Motion: Councilor Cheney —to adjourn the May 1, 2006 Town Council Meeting. Seconded: Councilor Champaco—there was no further discussion. Voted 5-0. Meeting adjourned at 9:07 p.m.
A true record, Attest:
Town of Veazie