Town Council Minutes 04/11/2017
Town Council Meeting
April 11, 2017
Chairman Russell H. Abell called the meeting to order at 6:30pm. Councilors present included John C. Kareckas, Laura Leber, and Thomas Chase. Town Manager Perry A. Ellsworth was also in attendance. Councilor John James was not present.
Approval of Minutes
1. Council 03-28-17: On a motion by Mr. Kareckas, seconded by Mrs. Leber, it was unanimously voted to adopt the minutes as written.
1. On a motion by Mr. Kareckas, seconded by Mrs. Leber, it was unanimously voted to sign the warrant dated April 5, 2017 in the amount of $200,968.28.
1. Phil Kendrick, Pine St, commented on the traffic on Route 236. Making note of the increase in Navy Yard traffic, Mr. Kendrick asked that the Council (and perhaps include other towns) to ask the Yard to reinstitute its bus service to decrease the amounts of individual vehicles. Note was made that there is currently a Coast bus servicing the area. Mr. Chase suggested that he and Mr. James look into at the Yard (they both work there).
2. Jean Demetracopoulos, Oldfields Rd, as a member of the York River Study Committee asked the Council to consider signing a letter of support for the Committee’s grant application. It was agreed to place the item on the next agenda for action.
Town Manager’s Report
-He has decided to move forward with the work on Thurrell Road this year. Most of the residents are very supportive of the work. Mr. Kareckas asked if it were possible to look at the sharp curves.
-The MMA Legislative Policy Committee will meet on Thursday. There are several bills in the legislature involving unions that deal with allowing for strikes and binding arbitration on everything. There is also a bill that would hold revenue sharing at 2%. South Berwick should be getting $600,000 to $700,000 more a year.
-Monday is a holiday so offices will be closed.
-Will be off on Friday.
-Work continues on the contract with York Ambulance.
1. Mr. Abell read the proposed amendment to Chapter A158 Tax Acquired Property. The amendment would add new section A158-2A(5), “The Town may choose to donate or sell tax acquired property for up to or less than its current assessed value to a qualified conservation organization, as described in IRC Section 170(h), whose core mission includes the conservation and stewardship of land in perpetuity”.
Jean Demetracopoulos, Oldfields Rd, received clarification that the Town would not sell property if the boundaries were questionable. Note was made that the policy already prohibits doing so in section A158-2B.
The Council agreed to place the item on the next agenda for action.
2. Mr. Ellsworth stated that he spoke with school officials regarding the property adjacent to the high school being looked at for a possible site for the police station. The school does not want to share entrances; it will be discussed again at the joint meeting tomorrow. At this point, the site doesn’t make sense.
Have also spoken with folks across from the Great Works School, looking at the ‘gully’ area along Route 236 near Cumberland Farms, still exploring. Also continue discussing the Norton Street property; there are issues with their agreement with HUD.
1. On a motion by Mr. Kareckas, seconded by Mr. Chase, it was unanimously voted to approve the renewal of a liquor license for Thistle Pig Restaurant. Mrs. Leber abstained from voting.
2. The Council briefly discussed the three properties taken through the foreclosure process in January.
On a motion by Mr. Kareckas, seconded by Mrs. Leber, it was unanimously voted to accept the properties located as tax map 9 lot 4, map 4 lot 27B and map 10 lot 30 as town property.
3. The Council discussed writing off an old non-sufficient funds check from 2008. Numerous attempts have been made to collect the check before it was submitted to the State for collection. The State still shows his registration as under suspension as of March 27, 2017. It will continue as an audit issue as long as it remains on the books.
On a motion by Mr. Kareckas, seconded by Mr. Chase, it was unanimously voted write off the NSF check in the amount of $351.98.
4. Mr. Ellsworth explained that the Byrne Grant is applied for by the Wells Police Chief on behalf of York County towns and the $2145 is South Berwick’s portion.
On a motion by Mr. Kareckas, seconded by Mrs. Leber, it was unanimously voted to accept the 2016 Byrne Grant in the amount of $2,145 to be utilized under cost center 4230-4050 (Police Equipment).
5. On a motion by Mr. Kareckas, seconded by Mrs. Leber, it was unanimously voted to hold the annual budget meeting on May 23, 2017 at 6:00pm at Town Hall.
1. Mr. Kareckas:
-Made note on the large downtown fire in Portsmouth and the fact that even our crew responded.
-Thanked the Manager and staff for their efforts on the budget.
2. Mr. Chase:
-Thanked the Manager and staff for a great job on the budget.
3. Mrs. Leber:
-Thanked the staff and Manager for their efforts preparing the budget.
4. Mr. Abell:
-Thanked the Manager and staff for their efforts through the budget process.
-Congratulated the Great Works School PTO for raising over $5000 at its recent penny sale. He also thanked families and friends for showing up and showing their support.
On a motion by Mr. Kareckas, seconded by Mrs. Leber, it was unanimously voted to adjourn the meeting at 8:12pm.
Barbara Bennett, CCM