Town Council Minutes 03/28/2017
Town Council Meeting
March 28, 2017
Vice Chairman John Kareckas called the meeting to order at 6:30pm. Councilors present included John James and Thomas Chase. Town Manager Perry A. Ellsworth was also in attendance. Councilors Russell Abell and Laura Leber arrived at 6:35pm.
Approval of Minutes
1. Council 02-28-17: 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. James, seconded by Mr. Chase, it was unanimously voted to ratify signing the warrant dated March 8, 2017 in the amount of $842,405.40.
2. On a motion by Mr. James, seconded by Mr. Chase, it was unanimously voted to sign the warrant dated March 22, 2017 in the amount of $789,208.60.
Town Manager’s Report
-Informed the Council that the work on Thurrell Road will be postponed until next year. Some tree work has been completed causing a complaint by an abutter that is now pursuing legal action. A survey will be required for a potential law suit and the survey would take about half of the budget for the road. Mr. Kareckas suggested working only on the paved surface. Mr. Ellsworth responded that there is no sense in only doing half the job.
-Informed the Council that he has reviewed the property next to the high school as a potential site for the police station. He added that it will be a tough spot for building (topography) and the school does not want us to use their access road.
-As a result of the Marijuana Legalization Seminar, Mr. Ellsworth suggested instituting a moratorium with a sunset clause.
-Commented that due to some software issues, he made sure that the budget info has been doubled checked by staff.
-Made note of the County Budget Committee Caucuses taking place on April 12th in Alfred.
-Commented that the Town’s attorney will be working on the revised agreement with rescue (York Ambulance). Mr. Kareckas added that the intent is to come up with an interim memorandum of understanding. Mr. Ellsworth added that we are continuing to operate as we have been. The Fire Department does not go out on ambulance calls unless specifically called.
-Made note of the morning seminar he attended regarding personnel policies and the necessity to include issues such as transgender, piercings and tattoos.
1. On a motion by Mr. James, seconded by Mrs. Leber, it was unanimously voted to renew the Solid Waste Hauler license for Casella Waste through January 31, 2018.
2. On a motion by Mr. Kareckas, seconded by Mr. James, it was unanimously voted to renew the Solid Waste Hauler license for Waste Management through January 31, 2018.
3. On a motion by Mr. James, seconded by Mrs. Leber, it was unanimously voted to accept the donation of surplus election equipment from the state and to allow the Clerk to dispose of items no longer usable. The Clerk made note that most of the equipment is at least ten years old. Some of it is still being utilized for elections or in the Business Office; some of the equipment is no longer working or is now incompatible with current hardware/software.
4. On a motion by Mr. Kareckas, seconded by Mrs. Leber, it was unanimously voted to close all waters within South Berwick to Alewives harvesting for the 2017 season for conservation purposes. Mr. James commented that the most recent survey of the fish population was done in 2013.
5. On a motion by Mr. Kareckas, seconded by Mr. James, it was unanimously voted to nominate The South Berwick ‘Flag Brigade’ for the Spirit of America Award. Mr. Kareckas made note that the group headed by Norm and Audrey Fortier stepped up and volunteered to put the flags out for holidays; saving overtime money in the public work’s budget.
6. Mr. Abell summarized a letter he received from the Eliot Selectmen dated March 7, 2017. They have requested a joint meeting with the Council to discuss the increasing costs of the school district’s operating budget.
-Mr. Ellsworth suggested that the Council not get involved. The school board meetings are open to the public and anyone can attend and ask questions.
-Mrs. Leber agreed that the Council should not get involved. It sounds like it’s about more than getting information. She added that she doesn’t want to be a bully.
-Mr. Kareckas commented that ‘we don’t have jurisdiction as a Council’.
-Mr. Abell stated that he agreed with the others. Anyone can attend their meetings.
7. On a motion by Mrs. Leber, seconded by Mr. Kareckas, it was unanimously voted to hold a public hearing on Tuesday, April 11, 2017 at 6:30pm to receive comment on the proposed budget for FY 2017/2018.
1. Mr. Chase:
-Commented that it is nice to see rain this time of year instead of snow.
2. Mrs. Leber:
-Commented that she is busy with tax season.
3. Mr. James:
-Asked if the police station could be put on the next agenda.
4. Mr. Kareckas:
-Congratulated Brad Beaulieu for taking 2nd place nationwide in wrestling. He also thanked Foster’s for their coverage.
5. Mr. Abel:
-Informed the Manager that he may be approached by a group regarding South Berwick becoming a part of the Sister City Program.
The Council held a brief discussion regarding the Vine Street Bridge project.
On a motion by Mr. James, seconded by Mr. Kareckas, it was unanimously voted to adjourn the meeting at 7:35pm.
Barbara Bennett, CCM