Town Council 11/14/2017
Town Council Meeting
November 14, 2017
Chairman Russell H. Abell called the meeting to order at 6:30pm. Councilors present included John C. Kareckas, John James, Thomas Chase, and Mallory Cook. Town Manager Perry A. Ellsworth was also in attendance.
1. The Clerk administered the oath of office to the Councilors elect, John James and Mallory Cook.
2. On a nomination by Mr. James, seconded by Mrs. Cook, John Kareckas was unanimously elected Chairman for the ensuing year. On a nomination by Mr. Chase, seconded by Mr. Abell, John James was unanimously elected Vice-Chairman for the ensuing year.
3. The Council discussed the Administrative Code relative to Council meetings and the appropriate time to allow public comment on agenda items. On a motion by Mr. Abell, seconded by Mr. Chase, it was unanimously voted to adopt Administrative Code §31-17 as the rules for conducting meetings and Robert’s Rules of Order for events which the Administrative Code does not address.
4. On a motion by Mr. Abell, seconded by Mr. James, it was unanimously voted to sign the Policy on Treasurer’s Disbursement Warrants for Employee Wages & Benefits.
Approval of Minutes
1. Public Hearing – Zoning 10-24-17: On a motion by Mr. James, seconded by Mr. Chase, it was unanimously voted to adopt the minutes as written.
2. Town Council 10-24-17: On a motion by Mr. James, seconded by Mr. Chase, it was unanimously voted to adopt the minutes as written.
1. On a motion by Mr. Abell, seconded by Mr. Chase, it was unanimously voted to sign the warrant dated November 8, 2017 in the amount of $840,494.65. Mr. Chase made note of the high amount paid to the school district each month of $648,494.60.
1. Charles Downing, Emery’s Bridge Rd, questioned why the flag on the Town Hall lawn was not lit. Mr. Ellsworth stated that it was fixed, but he will have it looked at again.
Mr. Downing also questioned why trash bags are not sold at the dump. It would be much more convenient for residents. Mr. Kareckas and Mr. Ellsworth both stated that several local stores sell them. This has eliminated the problems with securing the cash at the transfer station. Mr. Downing made note that the attendants do take cash for other things.
2. Mary Breen, Old County Rd, addressed the Council in regard to the Town’s actions regarding the new marijuana laws. Mr. Ellsworth stated that he is planning on holding public information meetings in the near future. The Town has already adopted a policy regarding recreational marijuana retail sales, which states that the Town will not accept applications until the State finalizes legislation. The Town has also adopted a moratorium regarding the establishment of new or expansion of existing medical marijuana growth facilities. The moratorium (expires in Jan 2018) can be renewed for an additional 180 days. Ms. Breen commented that “now is the time to create the community we want.”
3. Steve Bayse, Ogunquit Rd, commented that Mrs. Cook was elected in part because of her wish to address the marijuana issue as a whole. He urged the Council to push the Planning Board to move on the issue.
Town Manager’s Report
-Road projects for this year are complete. The crew has done a great job; we are 71% complete, but have only spent 57% of the budget.
-The Keep South Berwick Warm fundraiser went very well.
-The Flag Brigade will be honored at the Alfred County Office tomorrow with the Spirit of America Award.
-Will be out of the office for the rest of the week.
Mr. James asked the Manager about an issue with firefighter callback pay. Mr. Ellsworth stated that he would look into it.
1. On a motion by Mr. Chase, seconded by Mr. Abell, it was unanimously voted to accept Mallory Cook’s resignation from the Planning Board.
2. Police Station:
-Charles Downing, Emery’s Bridge Rd, asked if the Council had decided where the new police station would be located.
Mr. Ellsworth gave a brief history of the Norton Street site and why the Council has moved its focus to the Farmgate site.
The Council discussed the need to move away from anymore discussion or work on the Norton Street site as a potential location. Mr. Chase made a motion to suspend all spending and interest in the Norton Street site. Mr. Abell seconded the motion. After a brief discussion regarding some new issues with the Farmgate site, the motion failed by a 2 to 3 vote (Mr. Chase & Mr. Abell in favor, Mr. Kareckas, Mr. James, and Mrs. Cook opposed)
The Council discussed the non-conforming status of the Farmgate structures and the issues involving density, road frontage, and the open space.
On a motion by Mr. Kareckas, seconded by Mr. Chase, it was unanimously voted that not-withstanding prior Council actions, the Manager is directed to proceed with looking into the Farmgate site for the new police station.
On a motion by Mr. Abell, seconded by Mr. Chase, it was unanimously voted to authorize the Manager to negotiate a Purchase and Sale Agreement with the Farmgate Condo Association to be brought to the Council for approval.
Mike Lassel gave a brief presentation of the proposed design and use for the new police station if it is located at the Farmgate site.
On a motion by Mr. James, seconded by Mr. Chase, it was unanimously voted to authorize the Manager to expend up to an (additional) $25,000 to continue with Lassel Architects and others for work on the Farmgate site, the funds to be withdrawn from the Police Station Capital Account.
1. Mrs. Cook:
-Appreciates the opportunity to be here.
2. Mr. Chase:
-Thanked Laura Leber for her work on the Council. He also congratulated Mr. James on his re-election and welcomed Mrs. Cook.
-Made note that it was another wonderful ceremony at the school commemorating Veterans’ Day.
-The varsity football team played a great game and are moving on.
3. Mr. Abell:
-Thanked Mrs. Leber for her service to the Town and congratulated Mr. James and Mrs. Cook.
-Attended the Saturday Veterans’ Day ceremony with the Boy Scouts.
-Recommended everyone try to see the Little Mermaid play at the high school before it finishes.
4. Mr. James:
-Thanked Laura Leber for her time on the Council. Welcomed Mrs. Cook and offered his assistance, making note of the large learning curve.
-Thanked the Town Manager and the Town Clerk for ‘sticking it out’; both are feeling ill.
5. Mr. Kareckas:
-Welcomed Mrs. Cook to the Council, congratulated Mr. James on his re-election, and thanked Mr. Leber for her time serving.
-Thanked Mr. Abell for serving as Chair for the past year.
-Thanked the Manager for looking into and having the dirt piles around the new utility poles on main street cleaned up.
-Congratulated the Flag Brigade for their dedication and service to the town.
On a motion by Mr. James, seconded by Mr. Chase, it was unanimously voted to adjourn the meeting at 8:45pm.
Barbara Bennett, CCM