PRESENT: Council Chair Friedman, Councilor Parker, Councilor Hathaway, Councilors Perkins and Councilor King were present. Also present were Town Manager Reed, Police Chief Leonard, CEO Thomas, Superintendent Clenchy, Amy Van Kirk, Duska Hayman, Sue McKay, Richard Leonard and Kathy Taff.
ITEM 1. The December 22, 2008 Veazie Town Council was called to order at 7:00PM.
ITEM 2. Consideration of minutes: Motion by Councilor Perkins, to accept the December 8, 2008 meeting minutes as written. Seconded: Councilor King, There was no discussion, Voted 5-0 in favor.
ITEM 3. Consideration of the Agenda: There were no additions to the agenda.
ITEM 4a. Public Hearing – RSU Ballot Question
Councilor Hathaway motioned to move into public hearing session of the RSU Ballot Question.
The manager gave a brief outline of the documents submitted by the regional planning committee.
Superintendent Clenchy followed up and gave an overview of the process and what the committee had done within the RPC process.
Duska Hayman, School Committee Chair, outlined that prior to the next School Committee meeting the committee would be very open to receive comments or discuss the RPC documents or process.
Richard Leonard had questions pertaining to cost sharing, the general bonding, teachers’ summer pay liabilities, how EPS would affect the communities revenues, the small size of the proposed RSU, declining student population, is smaller really better than larger and concerns with cost shifting.
The Superintendent outlined that cost shifting would be minimal, that all communities are required to address their liabilities prior to the combining of the school departments and that EPS formula would act the same as it does now if we create a district. If the Town does not, penalties would come into effect. The Superintendent outlined that to give any revenue projections would be very difficult due to what is going on in Augusta with the Aid to Education Funding. As for student population, it was noted that the populations had declined over the years but regional economic development will affect what will happen in the long term for this area.
Councilor Hathaway outlined that many people noted that they were opposed to the larger RSU 16 and the wishes seemed to be for the smaller proposal. He also expressed concerns with the vote date in January which is not a typical election day and that outreach to the community needed to be made.
School Committee Chair Duska Hayman outlined that the Commissioner of Education had approved the plan and that the RPC had worked hard to address all of the department’s concerns.
It was noted that taxes vs. children needs is always a complicated question.
There was discussion pertaining to how to get the word out. It was noted that the website, newsletter and TV Channel should be used. There was discussion about a banner and the CEO outlined that he would look into it on permitting.
Councilor King moved to end the public hearing. Councilor Perkins seconded. There was no discussion. Voted 5-0.
Consensus of the Town Council was for the manager and superintendant to prepare all documents to ensure the ballot occurred in January as the RPC has planned. It was noted that the ballot was the RPC’s resposiblitly but the Town would work to get information out to the public as discussed in the public hearing.
ITEM 5a Update on Code Enforcement
The Town Council reviewed a copy of the information provided to the Town Council pertaining to the Crowe enforcement matter. The Council thanked the CEO for the update and his time on the matter.
ITEM 6. Comments from the public
There were no comments from the public.
ITEM 7. Manager’s Report:
The Town council reviewed the following items in the manager’s report:
a) a PVCOG newsletter
b) a thank you note to Chief Leonard
c) a thank you letter to the Police Department
d) Certificate of Registration – Maine Apprenticeship Committee. This was included in your packet just to inform you that we have qualified for the program. It will apply to the fire department at the present time.
e) 2009-2010 Budget Schedule –Just an FYI
f) CES Letter – Contract for service proposal. This is enclosed just as an FYI that the projected costs for the first stage of engineering services will cost roughly $6,000.00. Travis will be at the next meeting to give an update on this project.
g) Maine View – “Maine Spends Too Much…. But Where?” – This is from the Heritage Center. In general the report outlines that local government costs are not all that high and that other areas should be looked at closer, such as Public welfare and health where we are first in the nation in costs. Local government administration ranked 35th in the nation.
h) Draft - Structural Deficit, Projected Revenues Report. This is just an FYI document provided to us by MMA and the State House. In general the structural deficit isn’t as bad as the one from the early 1990’s.
i) ASCE – Report Card for Maine’s Infrastructure
j) Market Merit and Salary Structure Budget Report – This was enclosed for informational purposes and was a study conducted for MMA to share as a resource for budgeting in the coming Fiscal year.
k) The New England Townsman 1939
ITEM 8. Request for information and comments by Council:
Chairman Friedman asked for an update on the proposed sale of the Mack fire truck. The manager outlined that the parties of interest had made several excuses on their flight up to review the truck and that a dead line was set.
CEO Thomas updated the Town Council briefly on storm water matters and a finding of oil in one of the roadway borings that would be looked into.
The manager noted that the Community Garden group had scheduled a meeting and the community project seemed to be moving forward.
ITEM 9. Warrants: Town Warrant 13, Town Payroll Warrant 13, School Warrant 13, School Lunch Program Warrant 13 and School Payroll Warrant 13, were circulated and signed.
ITEM 10. Adjournment: Motion: Councilor Hathaway to adjourn. Seconded: Councilor Parker, there was no further discussion. Voted 5-0. Meeting adjourned.