Town Council Minutes 01/14/2014
South Berwick Town Council
January 14, 2014
Chairman Gerald W. MacPherson, Sr. called the meeting to order at 6:41pm. Councilors present included Jean Demetracopoulos, John C. Kareckas, and Russell H. Abell. Town Manager Perry Ellsworth was also in attendance. David H. Webster was not present.
Approval of Minutes
1. Public Hearing 12-10-13: On a motion by Mrs. Demetracopoulos, seconded by Mr. Abell, it was unanimously voted to adopt the minutes as written.
2. Council 12-10-13: On a motion by Mr. Abell, seconded by Mr. Kareckas, it was unanimously voted to adopt the minutes as written.
Treasurer’s Warrants –
1. On a motion by Mr. Kareckas, seconded by Mrs. Demetracopoulos, it was unanimously voted to ratify the signing of the December 24, 2013 warrant in the amount of $99,920.72.
2. On a motion by Mr. Kareckas, seconded by Mrs. Demetracopoulos, it was unanimously voted to sign the warrant for January 14, 2014 in the amount of $886,583.49. Mr. Kareckas noted that 66% ($587,064.17) was for the monthly school payment.
1. Mike Hasty, Fifes Ln, expressed his concerns with potential federal regulations through the Trans Pacific Partnership Trade Agreement. He stated that the Agreement would negatively affect municipal land use regulations. He asked that the Council consider signing a resolution opposing the Agreement. The Manager stated that he will review the materials provided by Mr. Hasty and if the Council wishes to discuss it, it would be placed on a future agenda.
2. Al Johnson, Brattle St, addressed the Council with a proposal to trade 1 year of his property taxes for the transfer of ownership and installation of granite stocks he built. He passed out photos of the stockade and suggested that it could be used for fundraisers and special events.
Town Manager’s Report
-Reminded everyone that there will be a meeting Wednesday morning with the MDOT concerning the Route 236/Vine Street intersection.
-Budget season has begun. Department heads have been given their worksheets. The budget schedule has been posted to the website.
-Will be attending the Legislative Policy Committee meeting on Thursday.
-Will be traveling to Augusta on Wednesday the 22nd to testify on proposed legislation regarding revenues and other budget concerns.
-Reminded everyone of the meeting on the 21st with the Conservation Commission regarding the disposition of Town owned lands.
-Sharing plowing and sanding/salting with the State on Routes 4 & 236 is going well.
-Recent weather conditions have begun creating significant pothole problems. The highway crew is doing well at keeping on top of the issue.
-We recently had our first OSHA review in 12 years. There will be a few issues to deal with. We should soon receive a list of deficiencies and will have 15 days to respond. There will be some fines involved; but it is hoped that they will be minimal.
-Met with the Library Advisory Board and Friends of the Library a couple of weeks ago. The Friends have raised $930,545.13, including in kind donations. Memberships and lending have increased over 200% in the last year or so.
-Commented that the monthly meeting with representatives from Eliot and the School District went well. Mr. Abell added that he felt the meeting was very informative. Mr. MacPherson stated that these meetings have created a friendlier atmosphere.
-Noted that Eliot has hired its first Town Manager. Dana Lee will start soon. Mr. Ellsworth added that he knows Mr. Lee and looks forward to a good working relationship.
-2Way Communications has notified us that our current computer operating system of Windows XP Professional will no longer be supported by Microsoft and will have to be updated. 2Way is researching the costs for the upgrades.
-Deadlines for submission to the newsletter and town report are coming up soon; late January and early February.
-Made note that he will be out of the office both Thursday (LPC meeting) and Friday (vaca).
1. On a motion by Mrs. Demetracopoulos, seconded by Mr. Abell, it was unanimously voted to authorize the Manager to sign Addendum #2 of the Purchase & Sale Agreement with Great Works Regional Land Trust for properties off of Lindsay Lane (which is off York Woods Rd). [This addendum extends the closing date to as late as March 1, 2014.]
1. Mr. Ellsworth explained that due to changes in the health care laws, amendments are required to the Personnel Policy regarding the Retirement Health Savings Plan [§31.78.1]. Union employees must be allowed to participate and the provision allowing use of the funds at age 55 (even if still employed with the Town) must be deleted. Employees may only utilize their funds when they leave the Town’s employ.
On a motion by Mrs. Demetracopoulos, seconded by Mr. Abell, it was unanimously voted to accept amendments and update the Personnel Policy for the Retirement Health Savings Plan.
2. On a motion by Mr. Abell, seconded by Mr. Kareckas, it was unanimously voted to approve the renewal of Relish‘s liquor license.
3. On a motion by Mrs. Demetracopoulos, seconded by Mr. Kareckas, it was unanimously voted to renew Jayco Disposal’s Solid Waste Hauler License until January 31, 2015.
4. On a motion by Mr. Kareckas, seconded by Mr. Abell, it was unanimously voted to renew Oceanside Rubbish’s Solid Waste Hauler License until January 31, 2015.
5. On a motion by Mrs. Demetracopoulos, seconded by Mr. Kareckas, it was unanimously voted to renew Waste Management’s Solid Waste Hauler License until January 31, 2015.
Mr. Ellsworth thanked the Town Clerk for her due diligence at getting the haulers licensed.
Mrs. Demetracopoulos commented that there are still some haulers in non-compliance and asked that the Council consider a vote for non-compliance and proceed with enforcement.
6. On a motion by Mr. Abell, seconded by Mrs. Demetracopoulos, it was unanimously voted to approve the renewal of Spring Hill’s liquor license and special amusement permit.
7. The Council discussed LD 1483 “An Act to Promote & Enhance State Policy to Preserve and Support Existing Methods of Disposal of Municipal Waste”.
[The legislation would, among other things, assess fees on licensed landfills for solid waste; these fees would be deposited into a State account. The State would then disburse the funds to qualifying municipalities (those that use a certified waste processing facility).]
Mrs. Demetracopoulos stated that towns that have access to refuse-to-energy plants would receive reimbursement payments from the state while towns that use landfills (either by choice or out of necessity) would have to pay higher fees to fund the state account for the reimbursements. She added that South Berwick would be penalized because of MERC closing; which we had no control over.
On a motion by Mr. Kareckas, seconded by Mrs. Demetracopoulos, it was unanimously voted to read the Resolve into the record and sign it. A copy of the Resolve is attached to these minutes.
On a motion by Mrs. Demetracopoulos, seconded by Mr. Kareckas, it was unanimously voted to sign a letter to Representative Mark Eves asking that he withdraw his support for LD 1483.
Council Member Comments
1. Mrs. Demetracopoulos:
-Stated that it was nice that there were no frozen pipe issues on the 3rd floor (as in the past) during the recent cold spell.
2. Mr. Kareckas:
-Informed the Manager that he would be available to go to Augusta on the 22nd to testify.
-Commented that the streets are being stressed with the freeze thaw cycle.
-Thanked the Manager for his work on the deal with Casella for a solid waste contract.
3. Mr. Abell:
-Commented that many places are experiencing the same road issues we are.
4. Mr. MacPherson:
-Commented that Powderhouse Hill had gotten off to a good start until the recent warm & rainy weather.
On a motion by Mrs. Demetracopoulos, seconded by Mr. Kareckas, it was unanimously voted to adjourn the meeting at 7:55pm.
Barbara Bennett, CCM