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Town Council Minutes 07/08/2014

South Berwick Town Council
July 8, 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. Council 6-24-14:  On a motion by Mr. Kareckas, seconded by Mrs. Demetracopoulos, it was unanimously voted to adopt the minutes as written.  Mr. Kareckas did question whether discussion regarding the closeout of the library construction project should be included, possibly under the Manager’s Report.  Mr. Ellsworth responded that there was discussion at the last meeting; he did however have more to report under the Manager’s comments later.

Treasurer’s Warrant –

1. On a motion by Mrs. Demetracopoulos, seconded by Mr. Abell, it was unanimously voted to ratify the signing of the warrant for June 30, 2014 in the amount of $220,462.41.

2. On a motion by Mr. Kareckas, seconded by Mr. Abell, it was unanimously voted to sign the warrant of July 8, 2014 in the amount of $712,630.66.

Public Comment

1. Scott Landis, Academy St, asked the Council if the Town would consider implementing an ordinance for the use of fireworks.  He stated that displays and usage have become lengthy and more frequent.  He added that this past week he felt as though he were living in a war zone.

Mr. MacPherson stated that the Council has discussed the issue in the past and opted to wait to see how the state law change affected things.  Mr. MacPherson also stated that he has noticed the increase in usage and commented that a neighbor’s horses are bothered by the fireworks.

Mr. Ellsworth stated fireworks could be another area that the Planning Board could look at it.

Linda Becker, Main St, commented, “It can get invasive”.  She added that it has a negative impact on the quality of life in the backyard.

Reports & Presentations

1. Vaughan Woods State Park:  Dylan Cookson, Veteran Community Leader for the Maine Conservation Corps was present to inform the Council of the conservation projects planned for Vaughan Woods State Park.  He stated that he was seeking volunteers and asked the Council for help.  Mr. Ellsworth stated that we could post something on our website.  Other suggestions were to seek out the Conservation Commission, Land Trust (GWRLT), and high school students needing community service credit, and scout troops.  (Mr. Abell provided his information to Mr. Cookson to look into whether the scouts can help)

2. Route 236 Signage:  Linda Becker, Main St, presented the Council with a proposal for a “Welcome to South Berwick” sign for the northbound side of Route 236.  Mrs. Becker described the proposed sign (power point was not functioning) and the ability to add rotating events.  She added that Hannah Bulger prepared the graphics & design and Len Bogh provided construction & installation costs.  As proposed, the total cost could total $6,000 to $7,000 or more.  Mrs. Becker pointed out that the costs are very rough numbers and Len was willing to do his part at his cost.  She added that she would be happy to help with any necessary fundraising.

Mr. Ellsworth stated that there are a number of things to work out including costs, maintenance, and permitting from the state to use its right of way.

Mr. Kareckas asked Mrs. Becker if she could provide a comparative with the other “Welcome” signs.

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Town Manager’s Report

-Stated that Mr. Kareckas is correct, the library construction project does need to be closed-out.  There are four main items needing attention, steeple work, mechanical analysis of the geo-thermal, solar panels through the Seacoast Energy Initiative Grant, and the balcony (which the Friends of the Library are handling).  Everything should be complete by late October, early November.  The accounts will then be balanced out and the Friend’s will move on to other projects.  
-The Seacoast Energy Initiative (SEI) grant funds total approximately $370,000.  $120,000 will go to South Berwick, $98,000 to York, $45,000 to Ogunquit, $45,000 to Eliot, and $38,000 to Kittery.  Southern Maine Planning & Development Commission is helping with the administration work.  To help accommodate the amount of work needed to complete the jobs, Mr. Ellsworth stated that he has asked for a one-month extension from the original September 30th grant completion date.  Mr. Ellsworth added that since there are no matching funds required this is a good deal for the town.
-Reminded everyone of the meeting with the school on July 16th.
-Berwick is ready to start meeting regularly to discuss collaboration efforts.  Mr. Kareckas & Mr. Abell tentatively scheduled July 23rd and August 20th for early morning meetings.
-A collaboration meeting with Eliot is due.
-The Avesta project is moving forward; currently working on the necessary easements and rights-of-way.
-The new ambulance service seems to be working well so far.
-The Fire Chief has picked out a new truck, around $400,000.  More information will be provided after tax revenues pick up in September.
-On Thursday will be in Augusta at the Dept. of Labor to explain what the town has done in response to the OSHA inspection.  He added that he is hoping to get the $4,200 fine reduced or eliminated.
-The Ransom environmental analysis of the “Day” property is complete and will be provided in the Council’s weekly packet.  The abatement will cost about $11,000.

Unfinished Business

1. On a motion by Mrs. Demetracopoulos, seconded by Mr. Abell, it was unanimously voted to authorize the Town Manager to sign any documents involved in the joint sale of land (w/August Realty) to the Great Works Regional Land Trust for parcels totaling 10.71 acres [as designated by Tax Map 2, Lots 39 and 39A].  Mr. Kareckas stated, for full disclosure, that he is a member of the board for the Land Trust, but does not have a conflict of interest.

New Business

1. On a motion by Mr. Kareckas, seconded by Mrs. Demetracopoulos, it was unanimously voted to suspend the rules and take up an item not on the agenda.  

On a motion by Mr. Kareckas, seconded by Mrs. Demetracopoulos, it was unanimously voted to hold a public hearing on Tuesday, July 22nd at 6:30pm to consider a new liquor license application from MWG Pizza.

2. On a motion by Mrs. Demetracopoulos, seconded by Mr. Webster, it was unanimously voted to mark the MMA Legislative Policy Committee ballot by voting for Torbert Macdonald, Jr. (Selectman, Town of York) and Perry Ellsworth (Town Manager, Town of South Berwick).

3. On a motion by Mrs. Demetracopoulos, seconded by Mr. Kareckas, it was unanimously voted to confirm the slate of Municipal Officials for the fiscal year 2015 as presented.  [A copy of the list is attached in the minutes book]

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Council Member Comments

1. Mrs. Demetracopoulos:
-Expressed her concern about proper signage for the two different truck traffic detours involving Route 101 (Dover/Eliot) and Route 9 (Berwick/Somersworth).  She added that signage should be placed well in advance of the Old Fields Bridge (near Lord’s or Flynn’s Lanes) because large trucks will not be able to turnaround if they get to the bridge.

2. Mr. Webster:
-Commented that it was nice to see grass growing on lawns and not on the sidewalks.  He added that it shows that we care about our community.  Mr. Ellsworth stated that we have already sprayed twice.

3. Mr. Abell:
-Commented that he had received a number of resident concerns about fireworks.

4. Mr. MacPherson:
-Stated that he also had received comments from people in his neighborhood about fireworks, especially exceeding the state curfew of 10:00pm.
-Added that Strawberry Festival went very well, the weather cooperated nicely.


On a motion by Mr. Webster, seconded by Mrs. Demetracopoulos, it was unanimously voted to adjourn the meeting at 7:40pm.


Barbara Bennett, CCM