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Town Council Minutes 01/28/2014


South Berwick Town Council
January 28, 2014

Chairman Gerald W. MacPherson, Sr. called the meeting to order at 6:30pm.  Councilors present included Jean Demetracopoulos, David H. Webster, John C. Kareckas, and Russell H. Abell.  Town Manager Perry Ellsworth was also in attendance.

Approval of Minutes

1. Board of Assessors 1-14-14:  On a motion by Mrs. Demetracopoulos, seconded by Mr. Abell, it was unanimously voted to adopt the minutes as written.

2. Council 1-14-14:  On a motion by Mr. Abell, seconded by Mrs. Demetracopoulos, it was unanimously voted to adopt the minutes after correcting the spelling of Mr. Abell’s name under Council Comments #3.

Treasurer’s Warrant – Jan 28, 2014

On a motion by Mr. Abell, seconded by Mrs. Demetracopoulos, it was unanimously voted to sign the warrant in the amount of $194,408.82.

Public Comment

None

Reports & Presentations

1. Dana Totman, Avesta Housing President, gave the Council an update on funding sources for the proposed senior housing project.  The initial application for funding was denied by the Maine State Housing Authority.  Approvals are based on various criteria including the characteristics of the community and location of the project. It often takes 2-3 tries to get approved.

Mr. Totman went on to explain that Avesta has been seeking other funding sources.  Currently there are three commitments for funding:  a $500,000 grant and an $800,000 low interest loan from the Federal Home Loan Bank and an $880,000 grant.  He added that there are still several chances in 2014 to obtain more funding through the Maine State Housing Authority.

Mr. Ellsworth suggested that the Purchase & Sale Agreement be amended to extend the secured funding date to February 1, 2015 and the closing date to August 31, 2015.

Council consensus was to place the action of amending the Agreement on the next agenda.

Town Manager’s Report

-Made note that we are using plenty of salt.  We have had to purchase a special mix to work in the extreme cold.
-Made note that we had our 1st Department of Labor OSHA inspection in the last 12 years.  The inspection took place over a 5 day period and encompassed all Town buildings.  We have received a citation for 5 items totaling $4250 and have 15 days to respond.  The problem areas are mostly in record keeping and training.  Some of the deficiencies have already been rectified and policies and procedures will be reviewed and properly updated.  Mr. Ellsworth stated that he intends to file an appeal and hopes that the fine will be reduced.
-Commented that he and Mr. Kareckas testified at the hearing in Augusta on LR 2721 “An Act Related to the Report of the Tax Expenditure Review Task Force Pursuant to PL 2013, c. 368, Part S.”
-Stated that the Planning Board would like to meet with the Council to go over a roads ordinance and to exchange ideas and get direction for future work.  It was agreed to try to schedule the workshop for February 4th at 6:30pm.





TC 01-28-14

Unfinished Business

1. Mike Hasty, Waterside Lane, presented the Council with his updated draft of a proposed Resolution opposing the “Fast Track” executive authority of the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) Agreement.  He also provided additional information from news articles, web blogs, and statements from state and federal representatives.

Mr. Ellsworth stated that the item was placed on the agenda to gage Council interest in pursuing the matter.

-Mrs. Demetracopoulos stated that she would like to see public education and input on the issue before the Council decides whether to take action.
-Mr. Kareckas concurred with Mrs. Demetracopoulos; more public outreach is necessary.  He went on to say that he did not want to put the burden on staff and suggested Mr. Hasty consider passing a petition.  He added that he would like to focus on the home rule aspect.

Mr. Ellsworth stated that the Town could offer space in the auditorium for an informational meeting and publication of the meeting notice on the website.

New Business

1. On a motion by Mr. Kareckas, seconded by Mrs. Demetracopoulos, it was unanimously voted to accept Mike McGinness‘ resignation from the Recreation Committee.

2. On a motion by Mr. Abell, seconded by Mr. Kareckas, it was unanimously voted to approve and sign the Town Manager’s performance evaluation dated December 3, 2013 as presented.

-Mr. Webster stated that he has delivered everything he promised.
-Mr. MacPherson stated that he has met his goals.
-Mrs. Demetracopoulos stated that he has exceeded expectations.

Council Member Comments

1. Mr. Webster:
-Commented that handicap accessibility at the Transfer Station needs to be looked at.  Someone in a wheel chair is not able to access the bins for glass and cans.
-Commented that it is nice to know that the ice rink is being used.

2. Mrs. Demetracopoulos:
-Thanked Mr. Ellsworth and Mr. Kareckas for attending the hearing in Augusta.

3. Mr. Abell:
-Thanked Mr. Ellsworth and Mr. Kareckas for attending the hearing in Augusta. Commented that he would have liked to attend.
-Made note of the fundraiser geography bee at Great Works School this Friday night.

4. Mr. Kareckas:
-Commented that on January 22nd he and Manager Ellsworth testified in front of the Appropriations Committee in favor of LR 2721. The proposed legislation would address the issue of automatic reductions in municipal revenue sharing created by Part S of last year’s revenue sharing agreement.  “The administration is out to attack revenue sharing and fails to recognize that all taxpayers pay the bills.  “Once revenue sharing is gone the problem will still be there”.

He asked that his testimony, the Manager’s testimony, and the email to Senator Hill be included in the record.

Mr. Kareckas went on to say that we have no means of making up the $400,000 except to raise property taxes; and that is simply unacceptable.

Mr. Ellsworth added that we are looking at a loss of $426,000 in revenues.  We have cut everything we can.



TC 01-28-14

Executive Session

On a motion by Mr. Webster, seconded by Mr. Kareckas, it was unanimously voted to enter executive session at 7:47pm pursuant to 1MRSA 405.6A to discuss the Manager’s contract.

The following was reported to the Clerk:

On a motion by Mr. Webster, seconded by Mrs. Demetracopoulos, it was unanimously voted to end the executive session at 8:15pm.

Adjournment

On a motion by Mr. Kareckas, seconded by Mrs. Demetracopoulos, it was unanimously voted to adjourn the meeting at 8:16pm.


Attested:


Barbara Bennett, CCM