PRESENT: Chairman Perkins, Councilor Hathaway, Councilor Friedman, Councilor King, Councilor Parker, Manager W. Reed, Deputy Clerk K. Humphrey, Office Administrator J. Reed, Parks & Recreation Director R. Young, Police Chief M. Leonard, Assessor/CEO A. Thomas, Fire Chief G. Martin, Budget Committee Members Joan Perkins, Gene Staffiere; Joe Distefano of Sephone, Members of the Public.
ITEM 1. The April 12, 2010 Veazie Town Council meeting was called to order at 7:00PM.
ITEM 2. Consideration of the Minutes
Motion By: Councilor King —to accept the March 29, 2010 meeting minutes as written. Seconded: Councilor Hathaway, Voted 5-0 in favor.
ITEM 3. Consideration of the Agenda
Councilor Friedman stated that he would like to discuss legal RFPs as well. This was added as item 4d.
Councilor Parker stated he would like to discuss additional requests for proposals. This was added as item 4e.
Chairman Perkins stated that he would like to discuss the communication tower ordinance and the process the Town is going to go through. This was added as item 5b.
ITEM 4a. Community Center Redevelopment Advisory Committee Request
Donald MacKay was present to give the Council an update on the community center project. He outlined that they received a $3,000 grant which will be used in the planning and study of the project. Jason Bird of EMDC has helped the committee put together an RFP and so far they have received three or four different bids to do preliminary drawings of the building.
Budget Committee member Gene Staffiere inquired on what services the community center could offer that the school doesn’t. Don MacKay outlined that there is not enough space at the school. Currently the Zumba class has to use the cafeteria. The school also has its own policy around usage that the Town doesn’t control.
Chairman Perkins inquired whether they have thought about doing small fundraisers to get the word out. Don MacKay stated that they would like to do a small press release about receiving the grant.
Motion By: Councilor Hathaway—to authorize the creation of a community development donation fund that will be allowed to collect donations and grants for the community outreach, planning and future development of the Community Center facility and Veazie Dam Property associated with the Penobscot River Restoration Project. Seconded: Councilor King. Voted 5-0 in favor.
ITEM 4b. Internet Solution Discussion
Joe Distefano was present to discuss the proposal of the Town to use Sephone for its website and email provider. So far the only impediment is the email and transferring it over from First Class to Gmail.
Manager Reed outlined that the coming fiscal year would not see savings due to the cost of website development however in the following years the cost would be $.25 per resident per year.
The Council asked Mr. Distefano to come back to the next Council meeting with more clarity on costs regarding the email conversion.
ITEM 4c. Audit RFP
There was discussion on the length of time the contract would be for. Manager Reed outlined that the standard length is three years and if you changed auditors every year it would be costly.
Chairman Perkins stated that in the RFP it stated that the Budget Committee would take part in interviewing potential auditors and didn’t agree with that considering they were an advisory committee. Budget Committee member Joan Perkins stated that there was no interest from the Budget Committee in doing so and the two members that did comment stated that the committee was not qualified.
Chairman Perkins stated that he would like to relinquish the duty of the Budget Committee in the RFP and have the Council do the oral interviews.
The Council requested to see the yearly cost of the audit over the years.
Notice of the RFP will be published in the Bangor Daily News and sent out via a list serve.
Motion By: Councilor Hathaway—to authorize management to solicit for Request for Proposals for Annual Independent Audit Services for the Town of Veazie, Maine for a three year period beginning wit Fiscal Year 2009-2010 (July 1, 2009 – June 30, 2010). Seconded: Councilor King, Voted 5-0 in favor.
ITEM 4d. Legal Counsel
Manager Reed outlined that the Town’s current attorney’s rates are the lowest in the area, $125 an hour. The next lowest municipal attorney in the area is $225 per billable hour.
Councilor Friedman stated that he would like to make a recommendation that it’s time for a change and would like staff to develop an RFP for new legal counsel.
Chairman Perkins stated that he would like to replace the Town’s current attorney with Attorney Tom Russell. CEO/Assessor Allan Thomas stated that it would be a conflict of interest since Mr. Russell lives on Buck Hill and has stated his view on the tower.
Councilor Hathaway outlined that if the Town goes to a legal firm it will pay around $10,000 for a retainer and then the cost of billable hours in addition to that. It would be doubling the Town’s cost to the taxpayers.
Motion By: Chairman Perkins—to no longer use the Town’s current attorney and to have the Town Manager contact Attorney Tom Russell to see if he is willing to act as the Town’s interim legal counsel. Seconded: Councilor King, Voted 4-0 in favor.
ITEM 4e Additional Requests for Proposals
Councilor Parker felt that the Town could save a lot of money by privatizing a lot of services in the Public Works Department. He suggested keeping one person on as a director and privatizing things like snowplowing and grounds maintenance.
Member of the Public Gary Brooks asked who would take care of a tree that fell down across a road. Councilor Parker stated that the Fire Department usually responds to those calls and the Town would also have a tree service in place.
Councilor Hathaway suggested talking to other Towns and getting information.
Manager Reed outlined that there are pros and cons to being privatized and to having your own department that does the services.
Councilor Hathaway briefly mentioned the meeting that he attended with town officials from Bangor and Orono. Orono and Bangor feel like the time is right and that the three municipalities could work together on cost sharing. They would like to have a board with the three managers and two members from each Council.
Manager Reed outlined that he could develop an RFP for snow plowing/removal. There was brief discussion on who would handle leaf pickup, do mailbox replacements and repair plow damage in the spring. Some of these items other towns do not do.
It was the consensus of the Council to have staff develop an RFP for snowplowing and grounds maintenance for the municipal properties for the Council to review at the next Council meeting.
ITEM 5a. Regionalism Outreach
Councilor Hathaway had touched on this in the previous item. The Council reviewed a copy of a letter from the Town of Orono.
Councilor King inquired on what kind of things they would be looking at to save money. Manager Reed stated things like code enforcement, assessing, snowplowing, etc.
Councilor King and Councilor Hathaway stated that they could serve on the board.
ITEM 5b. Communication Tower Ordinance
Chairman Perkins inquired on the ordinance process and whether the State was still moving ahead with their proposal. CEO Allan Thomas stated that he believed that the State was still moving ahead.
Chairman Perkins stated that he received a lot of upset responses to the newsletter. He had talked to the Planning Board Chair and believed that he, Manager Reed, CEO Allan Thomas and Rob Freeman had met and decided what would go into the newsletter and was surprised that there was information from the State in the newsletter. He outlined that this ordinance is about towers in general and not about the Buck Hill proposal.
Manager Reed stated that earlier the Code Enforcement Officer was directed to get information about the State proposal out in a newsletter. CEO Thomas outlined that he was not going to do a newsletter just for the State and felt by putting both sides in it was balanced.
ITEM 6. Comments from the Public
Member of the public Gary Brooks stated that down at the new senior housing building there is a section of the parking area that does not have curbing to stop a vehicle from going down over the embankment. There was discussion on possible solutions.
There was discussion on a section of Buck Hill where the road has failed and has “crumbled”.
Member of the public Robert Rice mentioned dead spots in Town and that there are 13 towers around Veazie. He thought it might be a good idea to look at different configurations to eliminate dead spots.
Councilor King asked the Police Chief if he has radio trouble. Chief Leonard stated that he has trouble on School Street, Main Street, Hobson Avenue and Stillwater Avenue. He added that it is sporadic throughout town.
ITEM 7. Manager’s Report
The Town Council reviewed a copy of an email from the Superintendent regarding the RSU’s budget
ITEM 8. Requests for Information and Town Council Comments
The Council asked how the budget was coming. Manager Reed outlined that the Budget Committee will be meeting with department heads Tuesday, April 13th to go over their budgets.
ITEM 9. Warrants: Town Warrant 21, 21A and Town Payroll 21 were circulated for signature.
ITEM 10. Adjournment: Motion: Councilor King—to adjourn the April 12, 2010 Town Council Meeting. Seconded: Councilor Hathaway —there was no further discussion. Voted 5-0. Meeting adjourned 9:25 pm.
A true record, Attest:
Town of Veazie