Town Council Minutes 01/24/2017
Town Council Meeting
January 24, 2017
Vice Chairman John C. Kareckas called the meeting to order at 6:30pm. Councilors present included John James, Laura Leber, and Thomas Chase. Town Manager Perry A. Ellsworth was also in attendance. Russell H. Abell arrived at 6:45pm.
Approval of Minutes
1. Public Hearing 01-10-17: On a motion by Mr. James, seconded by Mr. Chase, it was unanimously voted to adopted the minutes as written.
2. Council 01-10-17: On a motion by Mr. James, seconded by Mrs. Leber, it was unanimously voted to adopt the minutes as written.
1. On a motion by Mr. James, seconded by Mrs. Leber, it was unanimously voted to sign the warrant dated January 18, 2017 in the amount of $269,207.08.
1. Adam Poirier, non-resident, addressed the Council in regard to properties owned by him and his brother Jason on Route 91 (York Woods Rd). He stated that because of the Town’s ordinances they are unable to build on their lots. The road would have to be brought up to Town ordinance standards (paved and curbed) and the current maximum number of houses is 5; and there are already 8. He asked if the Council was working on changing the ordinance. Mr. Kareckas stated “no”. Mr. Kareckas stated that the Town’s Codes, a request with the Planning Board, or a citizen petition are all ways to address the issue.
Reference was made to a court case. The case had been denied.
Mr. Ellsworth suggested that the proper place to begin would be with the Planning Board.
Town Manager’s Report
-Attended the recent York County public hearing regard the proposed rehab/recovery facility next to the York County Jail. If established it would mean an increase in the County assessment for taxes. It would also be a stepping stone for the development of a statewide program. Mrs. Leber expressed her concerns with the funding, which is proposed to be based on valuation.
-Mr. Ellsworth made note that he (and some of the Councilors) had received a letter (and some emails) regarding a complaint about activities on Hooper Sands Rd. [See Attachment A].
Mr. Ellsworth stated that the Code Officer has checked into the issue. The activities taking place are not new and have been ongoing since before the ordinances went into effect and are grandfathered.
-Will be attending the LPC (Legislative Policy Committee) meeting on Thursday. There are currently 1800 bills before the legislature. Approximately 25% of them have municipal impact.
-Reminded everyone that Mr. Kareckas will be attending the conference on marijuana laws.
1. Police Station: Mr. Ellsworth made note of the letter he wrote to the Berwick Selectmen asking for input (from their Board and residents) regarding the possibility of South Berwick purchasing land on Route 4 to build a police station.
Mr. Ellsworth made note that the Berwick Town Manager has been tasked with working on possible ways to increase their collaborative efforts. A possible police station on Route 4 could work to the benefit of both communities.
Mr. Ellsworth read excerpts from the response email from the Town’s Attorney regarding the voting taken in August for the location of the new police station. There are procedures for the Council to make ‘amendments’ to that vote. [See Attachment B]
The Council discussed holding a public hearing to review the pros and cons of building in Berwick. It was agreed that more information was needed and further discussion would take place at the next meeting.
1. Pat Robinson, Conservation Commission, addressed the Council with two (2) requests. She asked that the Policy regarding Town owned land be revised to allow the Council to donate or gift land. She also asked that the Council officially agree to allow the due diligence be done to prepare for the Town to donate/sell four parcels of land to the Great Works Regional Land Trust. The JB Cox grant received by Mt. A will help with the cost the title searches and cannot be expended without the Council’s blessing. Mr. Ellsworth stated that the Town does not have clear title to the properties (taken for taxes) and has had no plan to pursue the matter because of the associated costs. If property lines can be established, then a fair price could be determined for the sale of the properties. Mr. Kareckas stated that it is important that the proper language be used in forming a motion to satisfy the requirements of the Cox Grant.
It was agreed to discuss the issue further at the next meeting.
2. On a motion by Mr. James, seconded by Mrs. Leber, it was unanimously voted to accept Vanessa Levin’s resignation from the Conservation Commission.
3. On a motion by Mr. James, seconded by Mrs. Leber, it was unanimously voted to accept John Stirling’s resignation from the Planning Board.
On a motion by Mr. Kareckas, seconded by Mr. James, it was unanimously voted to send a commemorative plague to Mr. Stirling acknowledging his contribution to the Board.
The Council briefly discussed board and committee membership recruitment.
4. On a motion by Mr. James, seconded by Mr. Kareckas, it was unanimously voted to authorize the Town Manager to dispose of the 2005 tri-axle roll-off truck and lift attachment for the highest bid, with 1/3 of the funds to be paid to North Berwick, and the remaining 2/3 to be deposited into the Transfer Station CIP account.
5. On a motion by Mr. James, seconded by Mr. Kareckas, it was unanimously voted to approve the renewal of a liquor license and special amusement permit for Spring Hill. Mrs. Leber abstained (Spring Hill is one of her clients).
6. On a motion by Mr. James, seconded by Mr. Chase, it was unanimously voted to approve the renewal of a liquor license for BASK.
7. Mr. Kareckas made a motion to authorize the Town Manager to negotiate and sign a five (5) year trash and recycling agreement with Oceanside Rubbish, Inc. Mrs. Leber seconded the motion.
Mrs. Leber stated that she is skeptical about Oceanside’s ability to accept a large amount of business like the town. Mr. Ellsworth stated that they are taking on three (3) towns. They do have the capacity with a fairly new facility and trucks.
Mr. Kareckas asked what affect this agreement would have on our contract with Casella. Mr. Ellsworth stated that he has a letter from Casella allowing South Berwick to haul to Wells. It all winds up at Casella in the end anyway.
The motion passed unanimously.
8. The Council discussed the contract with York Ambulance. The Service has maintained its price for the past five (5) years and would like to renew (at the same price) for another three (3) years.
Mr. Ellsworth made note that there are still some issues to work on. The Service is looking at working with our Fire Department for added driver coverage. This would entail making sure that our people are current on their CPR Certifications. It also creates liability issues. We are also working on a plan to minimize the number of responders for any occurrences to reduce costs.
On a motion by Mr. Kareckas, seconded by Mrs. Leber it was unanimously voted to authorize the Town Manager to negotiate the language in a MOU (Memorandum of Understanding) with the York Ambulance Service.
9. Council objectives:
Mr. Abell commented that the Council discussed its objectives at its recent workshop held on the 17th. Mr. Kareckas drafted a list and it was agreed to discussed it again after the other Councilors have time to review it. [See Attachment C]
Mr. Ellsworth provided the Council with a copy of the proposed budget schedule.
1. Mrs. Leber:
-Stated that it was worth noting that we have a new President.
2. Mr. James:
-Thanked the road crew for doing a good job with the mixed bag weather we got.
3. Mr. Abell:
-Made note of some road cracking beginning to occur even on roads that were redone last summer. Mr. Ellsworth stated that he would be getting a report from Jon as to what was done, where we are at, and what needs to be done.
On a motion by Mr. James, seconded by Mrs. Leber, it was unanimously voted to adjourn the meeting at 8:00pm.