Town Council Minutes 06/24/2014
South Berwick Town Council
June 24, 2014
Chairman Gerald W. MacPherson, Sr. called the meeting to order at 6:30pm. Councilors present included Jean Demetracopoulos and John C. Kareckas. Russ Abell did not arrive until approximately 6:38pm. Town Manager Perry Ellsworth was also in attendance. Councilor David Webster was not present.
Approval of Minutes
1. Council 05-27-14: On a motion by Mrs. Demetracopoulos, seconded by Mr. Kareckas, it was unanimously voted to adopt the minutes after correcting Mr. Webster’s Council Comment to read ‘medical’ issue not ‘medial’ issue.
2. Special Council 05-30-14: On a motion by Mrs. Demetracopoulos, seconded by Mr. Kareckas, it was unanimously voted to adopt the minutes as written.
Treasurer’s Warrant –
1. On a motion by Mr. Kareckas, seconded by Mrs. Demetracopoulos, it was unanimously voted to ratify signing the warrant of June 10, 2014 in the amount of $694,255.25.
On a motion by Mr. Kareckas, seconded by Mrs. Demetracopoulos, it was unanimously voted to sign the warrant of June 24, 2014 in the amount of $187,569.47.
Reports & Presentations
Cathy Goodwin, representing Senator Susan Collins, was present to express the Senator’s sentiment for the Town’s 200th anniversary. Ms. Goodwin read the following:
Congressional Record Proceedings and Debates of the 113th Congress, Second Session, Washington, Tuesday March 4, 2014. (Volume 160, #36)
Ms. COLLINS. Mr. President. I rise today to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the Town of South Berwick, Maine. South Berwick holds a very special place in our State’s history, and one that exemplifies the determination and resiliency of Maine people.
While this landmark anniversary marks South Berwick’s incorporation, the year 1814 was but one milestone in a long journey of progress. It is a journey that began thousands of years earlier with Native American villages on the banks of the Piscataqua and Salmon Falls rivers. In 1631, barely a decade after the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock, Ambrose Gibbens established a settlement at the falls and built the first sawmill in North America. A manufacturing heritage of textile mills and iron works that developed in the 18thcentury continues today. The skills and work ethic of the people of South Berwick contribute greatly to the cutting-edge industries in the region, from biotechnology to aerospace and defense.
Industry is only part of South Berwick’s story. In 1791, the citizens of the region recognized the importance of education and established Berwick Academy with a charter signed by Massachusetts Governor John Hancock. Located in South Berwick, the Academy is the oldest educational institution in Maine and now, as a private school, remains true to its founding purpose of promoting “virtue and useful knowledge among the rising generation.” In addition, the people of South Berwick remain true to the vision of their forebears by supporting an outstanding public school system.
During the Revolutionary War, the growing community provided two full companies to fight for America’s independence, more than many towns of greater size. The courage and character demonstrated by the townspeople in standing for liberty echo throughout South Berwick’s history. In the years before the Civil War, the many churches in the community were powerful voices for the abolition of slavery. During that terrible conflict, more than 294 of South Berwick’s young men, including 46 Berwick Academy students fought, and many died, so that all might live in freedom. The town’s honor roll of current military personnel demonstrates an ongoing commitment to our nation’s founding principles.
This anniversary is not just about something that is measured in calendar years. It is about human accomplishment. We celebrate the people who, through the centuries, have pulled together, cared for one another, and built a great community that is a wonderful place to live, work, and raise families. Thanks to those who came before, South Berwick has a wonderful history. Thanks to those who are there today, it has a bright future.
“Congratulations to an outstanding community! Senator Susan Collins
Town Manager’s Report
-Strawberry Festival is Saturday. Strawberry hulling at the Community Center is Friday morning.
-The MDOT is holding a public hearing on Thursday, June 26th to receive comment on the concept design for the project at the Route 236 and Vine Street intersection. Area residents were strongly encouraged to attend.
-Recently met with Matt from Avesta and reviewed the easements needed for the project. We are currently looking at a closing date in late October with construction beginning immediately thereafter. There will be a period of time that the path connecting Central School to the Library will be closed.
-Announced that he has designated Fern Houliares as the Employee of the Year. She has done a stellar job this year, especially regarding the budget.
-The MDOT Route 101 project is being moved up to mid July. Eliot has obtained funding for their portion of the Shorey’s Bridge replacement, which will now be done after the Route 101 project.
1. Mr. Ellsworth explained that South Berwick Rescue is no longer able to continue in this economy. York Ambulance Service, Inc. will be taking over with the current facility and employees. If accepted the contract will run for three years effective July 1, 2014 at the same rate as is budgeted for FY 2015. Mr. Ellsworth thanked Bill Reichert (SB Rescue Chief) for his “stellar job of holding the ship together the last several years”.
On a motion by Mr. Kareckas, seconded by Mr. Abell, it was unanimously voted to authorize the Town Manager to execute the agreement dated June 20, 2014 with York Ambulance, pages one through four, effective immediately upon signing the agreement.
2. On a motion by Mrs. Demetracopoulos, seconded by Mr. Abell, it was unanimously voted to authorize the Town Manager to administer all aspects associated with the SEI (Seacoast Energy Initiative) grants to those towns involved in the process. All projects must be complete by September 15th.
3. The Council discussed the necessity for a workshop with the Planning Board to review proposed ordinance changes. The workshop was tentatively scheduled for July 8th following the regular council meeting.
4. The Council discussed the Manager’s request to establish a Parking Committee. There are a number of issues regarding various lots (Post Office, Young Street, Paul Street, and Tall Hall). The Manager suggested establishing a committee of 8 members with himself acting as facilitator: 2 downtown business owners, 2 larger employers that utilize public lots, the Public Works Director, the Police Chief, the Fire Chief, and 1 Town Councilor. Mr. Kareckas offered to help. Mrs. Demetracopoulos questioned the timeframe and a conclusion date. The Manager stated that the committee should conclude its task before winter.
On a motion by Mr. Kareckas, seconded by Mrs. Demetracopoulos, it was unanimously voted to authorize the Town Manager to form a Parking Committee to look at and publish parking opportunities and recommendations.
5. On a motion by Mrs. Demetracopoulos, seconded by Mr. Abell, it was unanimously voted to transfer $1,000 from the undesignated general fund to Account 4250 Street Lights, to cover the FY 2014 budget overrun. [Increased electricity cost & additional street lights]
On a motion by Mrs. Demetracopoulos, seconded by Mr. Abell, it was unanimously voted to transfer $6,500 from the undesignated general fund to Account 4325 Town Garage, to cover the FY 2014 budget overrun. [Increased electricity cost in winter & LP Gas]
On a motion by Mrs. Demetracopoulos, seconded by Mr. Abell, it was unanimously voted to transfer $7,000 from the undesignated general fund to Account 4335 Solid Waste to cover the FY 2014 budget overrun. [Additional driver coverage & vehicle repairs]
6. Mr. Kareckas stated “Perry continues to do a great job for us”. He commented that it would be appropriate to give additional compensation. Mrs. Demetracopoulos added that this is not a change to his contract, but it is a bonus.
On a motion by Mr. Kareckas, seconded by Mr. Abell, it was unanimously voted to pay the Town Manager a $5,000 bonus with funds from the 2013/2014 budget in Account 4115-1000 Salary.
7. On a motion by Mr. Abell, seconded by Mrs. Demetracopoulos, it was unanimously voted to re-appoint the following board and committee members with terms to expire June 30, 2017:
Board of Assessment Review: Smilie G. Rogers
Building Committee: Mark Gagnon
Historic District Commission: George Muller
Library Advisory Board: Elaine Pridham & Albert Whitaker, Jr.
Planning Board: Bill Straub
Recreation Committee: Nicole Drake
Zoning Board of Appeals: Peter Grace & John Klossner
The Council also discussed the standing of the Community Development and Energy Efficiency Advisory Committees. On a motion by Mrs. Demetracopoulos, seconded by Mr. Kareckas, it was unanimously voted to dissolve & dismiss both the Economic Development Committee and the Energy Efficiency Advisory Committee.
Council Member Comments
1. Mr. Abell:
-Stated that he was looking forward to Strawberry Festival.
-Stated the event at the Outlook Farm was very enjoyable.
2. Mr. Kareckas:
-Commented that the June 14th event at Outlook Farm was well attended and the fireworks were a nice show.
-Made note that he attended a recent meeting of the Powderhouse volunteers. The hill was open for 47 days this past season; and almost 2600 tickets were sold. Work will be needed on the lodge, shed and rope this year. He added that the group is thankful to the Town and Vaughan Fund for their support.
-Stated that he believes a workshop is necessary to discuss the ordinance changes proposed by the Historic District Commission. Mr. Ellsworth stated that the proposed language has conflicting sections and needs reviewing.
-Would like to schedule a Vaughan Fund meeting to discuss the possibility of changing the cash reserve policy.
-Questioned the Library Advisory Board minutes (of April) regarding the “building committee”. Mr. Ellsworth stated that the committee referenced in the minutes is an internal library committee, not the Council appointed Town Building Committee.
-Questioned the building use policy referenced in the LAB minutes. Mr. Ellsworth stated that the library is using the same policy as is used for other Town owned facilities.
3. Mrs. Demetracopoulos:
-Thanked the Flynn’s for the fireworks show on June 14th. Mr. Ellsworth will send a letter of thanks on behalf of the Town.
-Encouraged attendance at the strawberry hulling party on Friday morning. She added that she will use the opportunity to solicit new board and committee members.
-Stated that she would like to have a workshop to discuss what economic development looks like for South Berwick to develop a vision and work on the TIF’s.
Made note that Shoetown Playground needs mowing. Mr. Ellsworth stated that it may have been done since she was there.
4. Mr. MacPherson:
-Commented that volunteers working at Powderhouse should be equipped properly for safety.
-Made note that on October 18th the Masonic Lodge will be holding an open house. The South Berwick lodge was chartered in 1823, a few years after the Town’s incorporation. There will be several presentations about the Masonic involvement in the development of South Berwick.
Mr. Ellsworth added to his Manager’s report:
-For the 3rd year Pratt & Whitney helped at the Teen Barn as part of the United Day of Caring.
-There are upcoming collaboration meetings with Eliot (Dave & Jerry) and Berwick (Jack & Russ).
-Made note that during discussions with Rollinsford about the ambulance service, other areas of collaboration may be possible in the future.
On a motion by Mr. Kareckas, seconded by Mrs. Demetracopoulos, it was unanimously voted to adjourn the meeting at 7:50pm.
Barbara Bennett, CCM