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Town Council Minutes 05/09/2017

South Berwick
Town Council Meeting
May 9, 2017

The Manager reported the following to the Clerk:

Vice-Chairman John C. Kareckas called the meeting to order at 6:03pm.  Councilors present included John C. Kareckas, John James, Laura Leber, and Thomas Chase.  Town Manager Perry A. Ellsworth was also in attendance.  Councilor Russell Abell arrived at approximately 6:33pm at the start of the regular session.

Executive Session

On a motion by Mrs. Leber, seconded by Mr. Chase, it was unanimously voted to enter executive session at 6:04pm pursuant to 1MRSA §405.6A to conduct interviews with prospective board members.

On a motion by Mr. Chase, seconded by Mrs. Leber, it was unanimously voted to end the executive session at 6:25pm.

The regular meeting convened at 6:33pm with the Clerk present.

Approval of Minutes

1. Council 04-25-17:  On a motion by Mrs. Leber, seconded by Mr. Chase, it was unanimously voted to adopt the minutes as written.

Treasurer’s Warrant

1. On a motion by Mr. James, seconded by Mrs. Leber, it was unanimously voted to sign the warrant dated May 9, 2017 in the amount of $742,830.96.

Reports & Presentations

1. Town Manager Ellsworth presented Certificates of Appreciation to Summer Brown and Amanda McCarron.  The two elementary school girls have been picking-up trash from the sides of the roads in town.  Their volunteer efforts make a difference.  The town is cleaner, looks better, and may inspire others to pitch-in and serve their community.  Thank you, Amanda and Summer.

Public Comment


Town Manager’s Report

-Reminded Councilor Leber of the school collaboration meeting at the Superintendent’s Office tomorrow morning.
-Informed Councilors that he would not be able to attend the Eastern Trail meeting on May 11th.  He will ask former Councilor David Webster if he will go with Mr. Kareckas and Mr. Chase.
-Made note of an article in the Mainebiz magazine citing South Berwick’s Avesta Housing for seniors as one of the top ten real estate projects in 2016.
-Informed the Council that he will be out of the office on Friday and Monday.
-Berwick has requested a workshop to discuss collaboration opportunities.  
-The Town Reports are expected to be delivered around the 16th.  Packets have been made for the town meeting.  They are available at the town hall and have been posted on the website.
-The Hike-thru-History is Friday, May 26th.
-There won’t be a Council meeting on May 23rd because of the town meeting.  Council will still have a Treasurer’s Warrant to sign.
-The school budget vote is Wednesday, May 17th at the high school at 7:00pm.
-Made note that it is Municipal Clerk week.  He thanked Barbara for her continued efforts.  She has been with the Town for almost 21 years.
-Informed the Council that we will be converting software to the Trio System at the end of June.  
-Wished Councilor John James happy birthday.  (5/10)

TC 05-09-17

Unfinished Business

1. The Council discussed the Historic District Commission’s request for funding to match a grant to include the Quamphegan Landing in the National Register of Historic Places.  The HDC has been working in conjunction with the Old Berwick Historical Society on the project.   Additional funding is needed to complete the work necessary for the Register application and the HDC has asked the Town to share in funding the match for a grant.  

Mark Adams, Mountain Rd, informed the Council that he just finished rehabbing a property in the proposed district.  He spoke in favor of the request stating that it would help commercial property owners like him by making him eligible for federal & state tax credits.

Mr. Abell recapped that there are benefits to the whole town even though the area effected is located in town and consists of only a few properties.  Increases in commercial development (mostly apartments) will increase town tax revenues.  The upgraded buildings will help make us more of a destination spot.  Mr. Ellsworth added that there is a lot of deterioration in the ‘landing’ area and the improved aesthetics make a difference at one of the gateways to town.

On a motion by Mr. Chase, seconded by Mr. Kareckas, it was unanimously voted to fund a grant application through the HDC in the amount of $2,342.50; the funds will be expended from the Planning Professional Services budget #4170-2060.

2. The Manager gave the Council an update on the progress of researching possible sites for the new police station.  The property adjacent to the Farmgate condominiums may be a good fit for a number of reasons.  The Town owns the road up to the cul-de-sac with an adjoining right-of-way to Drury Lane, there is sufficient space for a 2-story building with a drive-up sally-port, high exposure to Route 236, already has water, sewer, and 3-phase power, and high speed internet availability.  

-Marc Alterio, Liberty St, commented that it would be a good location to help with traffic calming in and out of town.

On a motion by Mr. Kareckas, seconded by Mrs. Leber, it was unanimously voted to appropriate $3500 from the Police Station Capital account for continued studies on police station siting.

New Business

1. On a motion by Mr. James, seconded by Mr. Chase, it was unanimously voted to accept the ATV Enforcement grant in the amount of $2,000.

2. On a motion by Mr. Kareckas, seconded by Mr. James, it was unanimously voted to appoint Mallory Cook to the Planning Board (regular member) with a term to expire June 30, 2019.

3. The Council briefly discussed the contract with York Ambulance.  Mr. Ellsworth made note that it is a 3-yr contract with an increase of $5,000/year (totaling $15,000).  There is language regarding the use of the Police and Fire Departments.  Standard Operating Procedures will be included.  Mr. Kareckas received confirmation that our employees will be covered by our insurance.  Our Departments will only respond when specifically requested for assistance calls through our dispatch.

On a motion by Mr. Kareckas, seconded by Mr. James, it was unanimously voted to authorize the Town Manager to finalize and sign the contract with York Ambulance Service.

4. On a motion by Mrs. Leber, seconded by Mr. Chase, it was unanimously voted to sign the warrant calling the MSAD #35 Referendum Election for June 13, 2017.

5. By consensus, the Council agreed to hold a special meeting in executive to conduct the Town Manager’s performance evaluation on Tuesday, May 30th at 6:30pm.

TC 05-09-17

Councilor Comments

1. Mr. James:
-Thanked the Clerk for her efforts and longevity.

2. Mr. Chase:
-Thanked the Clerk for her service.

3. Mrs. Leber:
-Thanked the Clerk for the assistance she provides in keeping up with the rules and regulations.

4. Mr. Kareckas:
-Thanked the Clerk.

5. Mr. Abell:
-Thanked the Clerk for her efforts.

Executive Session

Mr. Ellsworth explained that after posting the agenda it was determined that pursuant to 1MRSA the discussion he wanted to have did not qualify for executive session privilege.  He explained that the business at the corner of Route 236 and Old South Rd has been sold and the new owner is operating the ‘BBQ shack’.  The prior owner had been notified by the Code Officer that his authorization to run the business had been in error, and if the current owner (Mr. Willey) did not operate for a year or sold/leased the property, the new owner would not be able to run the same business.

After discussing the issue with the Town’s Attorney, The Town has two options, send a letter to the new owner informing them of the non-conforming use of an illegal operation in that zone, or allow them to continue to operate until November (1-yr time frame of non-operation by Mr. Willey) and then file a cease and desist order with the court.

Mr. Kareckas recommended going with the advice already received from the Attorney.

Mr. Ellsworth stated that at this time it is unclear as to the proper procedure, because it is a code enforcement issue.  He wanted the Council to be aware of the situation because of the legal aspect.


On a motion by Mr. James, seconded by Mr. Chase, it was unanimously voted to adjourn the meeting at 7:34pm.


Barbara Bennett, CCM