PRESENT: Chairman Champaco, Councilor Friedman, Councilor Hathaway, Councilor King and Councilor Perkins; Manager W. Reed; Deputy Clerk K. Humphrey; Office Administrator J. Reed, CEO A. Thomas, Police Chief M. Leonard, Water District Trustee Jim Parker, Members of the Public Valerie & Anthony Cartonio.
ITEM 1. The December 11, 2006 Veazie Town Council was called to order at 7:00PM.
ITEM 2. Consideration of the Minutes
Motion By: Councilor Friedman—to accept the November 13, 2006 meeting minutes as written. Seconded: Councilor Hathaway, Voted 5-0 in favor.
ITEM 3. Consideration of the Agenda
There were no additions to the agenda.
ITEM 4a. Draft Audit Report
Draft audits were provided to the Town Council. Manager Reed stated that the Town Auditor was unable to attend the meeting due to illness. He outlined that things seem to appear correct in the audit except for an encumbrance that the Fire Department had which doesn’t appear to be in the audit.
Councilor Friedman expressed his dismay that the Council is just now getting the draft audit and that is the second time the Town Auditor has failed to attend a scheduled meeting. He outlined that this is the time of year when the Town needs to know where it stands with its budget and such.
Manager Reed stated that at the next meeting staff will have the Budget Committee attend as well as the Town Auditor to go over the audit.
Councilor Hathaway inquired whether there was an accompanying management letter. Manager Reed outlined that the Town Auditor would bring it with her to the next meeting. Councilor Hathaway inquired whether the Town Auditor had pointed out any concerns. Manager Reed stated that she did not have anything substantial to discuss. He added that the Town appears to be on strong footing and it did very well in terms of closeouts.
Councilor Hathaway outlined that the Town has had the same auditor for years. Perhaps it is time to put some sort of clause in the agreement that they are penalized monetarily for delays. He added that the Town should have a more defined relationship so it gets the product when expected.
Councilor Friedman outlined that perhaps it was time to put this service out to bid. He stated that the Town contracts with this firm and pays them for their service and that the Town should have the product when it wants it.
Councilor Perkins stated that he thought it was a healthy idea to put things out to bid once in a while, especially when it has been ten plus years.
ITEM 4b. Orono-Veazie Water District Appointment
James Parker gave an update on the Water District’s activities to the Council. This included a $50,000 study and installation of a new well. He outlined that Old Town will be doing one in February and the district could probably have theirs done at the same time to save money. He added that the district hasn’t raised rates since 1994, however, probably in a year to a year and a half they will have to raise rates.
Motion By: Councilor Hathaway—to reappoint James Parker to the Orono-Veazie Water District as the Town’s representative trustee for the term of five years. Seconded: Councilor Friedman, Voted 4-0-1 in favor. Councilor King abstained due to being employed by the Orono-Veazie Water District.
ITEM 4c. Recreation Director Update
Manager Reed provided the Council with a copy of a letter that went out to parents of children in the after-school program. Current employee, Rebecca Smart has been promoted to After-School Coordinator.
Manager Reed stated that the Town has received thirty plus resumes for the director’s position and the selection has been slimmed down to nine resumes. He outlined that there is a committee and staff is looking for a councilor to serve on it.
Manager Reed outlined that a citizen had offered to help out and fill in as an interim, however, there were some conflicts and it didn’t work out as well as staff hoped. Staff originally was hoping that it would only receive ten to fifteen resumes but the larger number made things more complicated. Manager Reed stated that Officer Administrator Julie Reed has been overseeing the after-school workers. The Town has hired six new student workers and the 30-40 children that use the program are still able to use it.
Councilor Hathaway stated that the make up of the committee should reflect towards the overall needs of the department. He outlined that it seems like it is more geared toward just after-school. He pointed out that the seniors are part of Parks & Recreation however they are not represented on the committee.
Councilor Hathaway expressed his concern with the department. He outlined that in the last eighteen months the department has lost a director, hired a new director, had the committee resign and then had another director resign.
Councilor Hathaway inquired whether the new director would have to go through a background check and fingerprinting. Manager Reed stated they would.
He also inquired whether the Town was going to make do without a committee. Manager Reed outlined that staff put an article in the Town’s newsletter looking for people however, only two people were interested and there needs to be more than two to establish a committee. Manager Reed outlined that there was also no establishing document that could found empowering or defining what the committee does. The Council would have to define what they want the committee to do and either establish a committee via ordinance, order or resolution.
Manager Reed outlined it was his belief that the committee was an adhoc advisory committee. When the members resigned the committee ceased.
There was discussion on abolishing the committee.
Motion By: Councilor Hathaway—to abolish the Parks & Recreation Committee. Seconded: Councilor Friedman, Voted 5-0 in favor.
Councilor Perkins stated that he would like to see a senior on the hiring committee. Councilor Friedman suggested having a teenager on the committee to get a child’s perspective.
ITEM 5a. Comeau Property Matter
Manager Reed stated that the Comeaus sent the Town a letter pertaining to limiting snow storage on their property. Since receiving the letter, staff has had discussions with Barney Silver and he outlined he would be willing to work with the Town on snow dumping at his approved site.
Councilor Hathaway asked why the Town couldn’t just dump on its property. CEO Allan Thomas stated that there are strict rules on snow dumping. Councilor Hathaway asked why the Town couldn’t put the snow down back. CEO Allan Thomas stated that there isn’t a lot of room back there and it is also a flood zone so it wouldn’t be a good idea since there is only one catch basin back there.
Councilor Hathaway wanted to go on record again in defending his opinion that the Town going out and buying property isn’t something that should be taken lightly. It isn’t something the Town should do without seeking the citizen’s input.
ITEM 6. Comments from the Public
Members of the Public Anthony and Valarie Cartonio were welcomed to Town by the Council. They outlined that they just moved here about a month ago from Portland.
ITEM 7. Manager’s Report
a. The Council reviewed a copy of a thank you letter from Stephen Moores for all of the hard work that the Town did on the Senior Housing TIF/application.
b. The Council reviewed a copy of the certificate of approval for the Veazie Village Senior Affordable Housing Tax Increment Financing District and Development Program. Staff wanted to outline that the Maine State Housing Authority required a great deal of follow-up on the application submitted.
c. The Council reviewed a copy of the Town’s workers compensation annual experience rating. This year the rating has dropped to a .79 which is very good.
d. The Council reviewed a copy of a speed report on the Chase Road that the Police Department conducted. Councilor Perkins inquired whether they did the study because of a complaint. Chief Leonard stated that there are always complaints on the Chase Road, however the equipment had come to the area and Manager Reed had gotten a complaint from a walker.
e. The Council reviewed a copy of the School Committee’s minutes and agenda.
f. The Council reviewed a copy of a thank you letter sent to the Fire and Police Departments.
Councilor Perkins inquired whether the Police Department was still purchasing gas from the Veazie Mini-Mart. Chief Leonard outlined that they were and that the only time they wouldn’t is if it is after hours.
ITEM 8. Requests for Information and Town Council Comments
Councilor Hathaway mentioned a recently publicized article on outdoor boilers. He wondered whether the Town should be concerned about regulating it. He was concerned that without regulation it could be a sticky issue to deal with. It was pointed out that they are grandfathered once they are installed.
CEO Allan Thomas stated that he would look into having some sort of temporary regulation in place until a more precise ordinance could be created.
Chairman Champaco inquired on the deadline for having a Parks and Recreation Director in place. Manager Reed stated that after all the interviews and background checks it will probably be around a month and a half before one is in place.
ITEM 9. Town Warrant 12, Town Payroll 12, School Warrant 12, School Payroll 12 and School Lunch Warrant 12 were circulated and signed.
ITEM 10. Adjournment: Motion: Councilor King—to adjourn the December 11, 2006 Town Council Meeting. Seconded: Councilor Friedman—there was no further discussion. Voted 4-0. Meeting adjourned at 8:02 p.m.
A true record, Attest:
Town of Veazie