Town Council Minutes 07/23/2013
South Berwick Town Council
July 23, 2013
Chairman Gerald W. MacPherson, Sr. called the meeting to order at 6:30pm. Councilors present included Jean Demetracopoulos, David H. Webster, and John C. Kareckas. Town Manager Perry Ellsworth was also in attendance. Russell H. Abell was not present.
Approval of Minutes
1. Council 6-25-13: On a motion by Mr. Kareckas, seconded by Mr. Webster, it was unanimously voted to adopt the minutes as written.
Treasurer’s Warrant – June 28th, July 11th & July 23rd
On a motion by Mr. Kareckas, seconded by Mrs. Demetracopoulos, it was unanimously voted to ratify the warrants of June 28, 2013 in the amount of $70,024.41 and July 11, 2013 in the amount of $657,844.32 and sign the warrant of July 23, 2013 in the amount of $300,435.63.
1. Mark Pechenik of the Maine Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association addressed the Council to inform them of the new, free program being offered at the Library. The Association is offering a Legacy Writers Group to help those with early stage Alzheimer’s and dementia. The program encourages participants to write their life stories to help with memories and create a legacy.
Reports & Correspondence
1. Karen Young, Coordinator for the Mt. Agamenticus to the Sea Conservation Initiative gave the Council an update on the group’s activities. The Initiative is a coalition of partners working toward the protection of a network of connected conservation lands and natural resources within a 48,000 acre area of Southern Maine.
2. Zack Fabish an attorney for the Sierra Club addressed the Council in regard to the Good Neighbor Petition being filed by the Town of Eliot against the Schiller Station in Portsmouth NH. Eliot voted to file the petition under the Clean Air Act with the EPA because of the high levels of sulfur dioxide being given off from the Station’s coal fired plant.
3. Rob Miller of Isidore on the Rocks addressed the Council in regard to his proposal to adopt the small area behind the restaurant. The area is not being maintained and Mr. Miller would like to landscape and maintain the area for aesthetics. He commented that beautifying the area would provide a benefit to anyone visiting his restaurant and the surrounding businesses. General consensus of the Council was to have the Manager look into the issue.
Town Manager’s Report
-Commented that the Building Committee has gotten a little behind and plans on meeting on a weekly basis instead of biweekly. It is hoped that a preliminary report will be ready for early September. [The Committee is discussing town facilities and the needs of the Police Department.]
-Commented that the Army Corp of Engineers is happy with the road/culvert work on Ogunquit Road that was completed to aid in the crossing of endangered species such as turtles and frogs.
-Commented about the tragic train derailment in Lac-Megantic, Canada. He noted that donations are being sought to help those that have suffered loss.
-Apologized for the recent issues with the mill and fill project taking place in the center of town. He added that over the next couple of weeks the manhole covers will be installed and then paving will take place.
On a motion by Mrs. Demetracopoulos, seconded by Mr. Webster, it was unanimously voted to suspend the rules to discuss and take action on the letter of support for Eliot’s Good Neighbor Petition to the EPA.
Mr. Webster questioned whether we should put it to a public vote like Eliot did. It was explained that Eliot’s form of government (Selectmen) required the vote because the voters are the legislative body; whereas in South Berwick the Town Council is the legislative body.
Mr. Kareckas read the letter of support he drafted.
Mrs. Demetracopoulos and Mr. Webster both commented that they would like to see the petition language prior to issuing a letter of support.
On a motion by Mr. Kareckas, seconded by Mrs. Demetracopoulos, it was unanimously voted to table the issue until a copy of Eliot’s petition is obtained.
1. Sale of land to Great Works Regional Land Trust:
Mrs. Demetracopoulos stated that she hates to see the Town give up the land, but realizes that municipalities need to change how they do business to keep up economically. She added that she would like to see the Conservation Commission and Recreation Committee investigate all of the Town’s properties to identify their resources, values, recreational opportunities and best uses. She also commented that the Town should be utilizing the survey data compiled over the years to update the Town’s tax maps.
On a motion by Mr. Kareckas, seconded by Mrs. Demetracopoulos, it was unanimously voted to authorize the Town Manager to move forward with the sale of land to Great Works Regional Land Trust. The land being sold is comprised of Map 2 Lot 37, Map 2 Lot 39, and Map 2, Lot 39A (all off of York Woods Road).
Mr. Kareckas did make note that he is a member of the GWRLT.
2. On a motion by Mrs. Demetracopoulos, seconded by Mr. Webster, it was unanimously voted to nominate Marston Lovell Councilor in Saco, for the Maine Municipal Association Vice President and James Chaousis Town Manager Boothbay, Linda Cohen Councilor in South Portland, and Mary Sabins Town Manager Vassalboro for Directors of the MMA Executive Committee.
3. On a motion by Mr. Kareckas, seconded by Mrs. Demetracopoulos, it was unanimously voted to appoint Joel Moulton to the Planning Board as an alternate member with a term to expire June 30, 2015.
4. On a motion by Mrs. Demetracopoulos, seconded by Mr. Kareckas, it was unanimously voted to appoint Councilors MacPherson and Webster as delegates to work on collaboration efforts with Eliot.
5. On a motion by Mr. Kareckas, seconded by Mrs. Demetracopoulos, it was unanimously voted to hold a public hearing on Tuesday, August 27, 2013 at 6:30pm for the General Assistance Ordinance Appendices.
6. On a motion by Mr. Kareckas, seconded by Mr. Webster, it was unanimously voted to sign the Audit Engagement Letter for Smith & Associates, CPAs.
Mrs. Demetracopoulos asked if there would be any benefit to working with neighboring towns to get a “group rate”. Mr. Ellsworth stated that it is not an option this year, but will be looked at in the future.
7. The Council briefly discussed the fact that the Town owned Accu-Vote voting tabulators are no longer authorized by the State for use in Federal and State elections. (The State is providing the Town with 2 DS200 tabulators through October 2017.)
On a motion by Mr. Kareckas, seconded by Mrs. Demetracopoulos, it was unanimously voted to declare the Accu-vote voting tabulators as surplus property and to authorize the Manager to dispose of them as he sees fit.
Council Member Comments
1. Mr. Kareckas:
-Commented that due to the road work and rain, many of the holes around the manhole covers are getting very deep and need filling.
2. Mr. Webster:
-Commented on the proposed ATP subdivision off of Stacy Lane. He questioned the fact that a cul-de-sac would be extended from the existing cul-de-sac. Mr. Ellsworth stated that the existing cul-de-sac would be gone and the road reworked to extend to the new cul-de-sac. Mr. Ellsworth made note that there could be an issue with access to Town property in the area; and that is being looked at. Mr. Ellsworth also commented that even if the new subdivision is approved, the Town is not obligated to accept the road. Mr. Kareckas expressed his concern with the Town encouraging development in an area known to have problems, such as flooding.
-Questioned why and how Time Warner Cable is present on Meadow Pond Road. Mrs. Demetracopoulos commented that an agreement was made with TWC to service the road because Comcast did not want to service the area when the subdivision was built.
-Commented that he wasn’t sure if it was coincidence or just opportunistic that Chief Lajoie is getting more publicity (on the news discussing bath salts) since he announced his intentions to run for County Sheriff. Mr. Webster added that he thought it was great that South Berwick was getting another “plug”.
3. Mrs. Demetracopoulos:
- Commented that the pot holes are getting deep.
-Asked if it were possible to discuss the Stacy Lane subdivision at the upcoming workshop with the Planning Board. She added that she agreed with Mr. Kareckas that she didn’t want to get into the Planning Board’s business, but there are concerns. Safety vehicle access in a flood prone area, and the ability to provide Town services if the road is not accepted were mentioned; exceptions to the ordinances should be few, not the rule.
-Suggested that Council consider sending letters to the Portsmouth Herald and Foster’s thanking the residents and businesses for their patience during the road construction. Mr. Webster suggested printing something in the Quamphegan.
4. Mr. MacPherson:
-Commented that it did not appear there was enough room to finish the sidewalk on Berwick Road. Mr. Webster stated that the guardrail had been removed and there should be plenty of room.
- Made note of the ribbon cutting ceremony at the new barbershop next to the Asia Cafe. The ceremony will take place on Saturday at 2:00pm.
On a motion by Mrs. Demetracopoulos, seconded by Mr. Webster, it was unanimously voted to enter executive session at 8:37pm pursuant to 1MRSA §405.6D to discuss union contracts.
The following was reported to the Clerk by the Manager:
On a motion by Mr. Webster, seconded by Mrs. Demetracopoulos, it was unanimously voted to end the executive session at 9:15pm.
On a motion by Mr. Webster, seconded by Mrs. Demetracopoulos, it was unanimously voted to adjourn the meeting at 9:16pm.
Barbara Bennett, CCM