Town Council Minutes 09/26/2017
Town Council Meeting
September 26, 2017
Vice-Chairman John Kareckas called the meeting to order at 6:15pm. Councilors present included John James and Laura Leber. Town Manager Perry A. Ellsworth was also in attendance. Russell Abell arrived just as Mr. Kareckas opened the meeting. Thomas Chase arrived at 6:22pm.
Approval of Minutes
1. Town Council 09-12-17: On a motion by Mr. James, seconded by Mrs. Leber, it was unanimously voted to adopt the minutes after amending them by changing the word ‘drip’ to ‘trip’ under Reports and by changing the time listed for the public hearing in New Business #2 from ‘6:30pm’ to ‘6:00pm’.
1. On a motion by Mr. Kareckas, seconded by Mr. James, it was unanimously voted to sign the warrant dated September 21, 2017 in the amount of $1,749,121.46.
Note was made that this warrant included the monthly school payment of over $670,000, the Road Bond payment (from capital account) of $440,000, and paving costs of over $300,000.
Town Manager’s Report
-The Manager and his assistant attended a human resources conference in Portland.
-Recently met with representatives of York Hospital and others to discuss issues regarding marijuana legislation.
-Will be meeting with the rep from TRIO next week to discuss conversion issues. We are still experiencing a number of issues, the most significant being the conversion of data from the Patriot system to TRIO. We may need temporary help to finish the required data entry.
-Won’t be here for the next meeting (first moose hunt in over 20 years). Jon St. Pierre may attend if needed.
-Wrapping up road projects. Jon and the crew have done a great job.
-Will be addressing a traffic issue at Dawson St. and Bittersweet Ln by placing a temporary stop sign at the intersection.
-Have received some complaints about shooting behind Aggie’s. The police are looking into it.
-Jeanette Lemay’s last day will be Friday. Mandy will be moving into the position.
1. The Council and Manager discussed the status of the new police station. The Farmgate Association is in agreement with the Town performing test boring and conducting land surveys. He added that he, the Police Chief, and Lieutenant toured the new station in York to get an idea of space and needs.
Dave Ewing, Drury Ln, stated that he was disappointed that it would be placed in a residential area. Mr. James commented that 90% of police stations are located in residential areas. Mr. Ewing also asked how much clearing will take place. Both Mr. Kareckas and Mr. Ellsworth responded. Tree clearing will take place on the other side of the site. It is not planned to clear any trees on the Drury Lane side of the project. Mr. Ewing also asked about lighting. The new station would have external lighting 24/7 but it would have to comply with our ordinances and will be downward facing.
Luke Edgar, Academy St, expressed his concerns with traffic and the access point closest to Academy Street. Mr. Ellsworth explained that the access lane would be used for emergency egress if the primary Farmgate Road is somehow inaccessible. Mr. Ellsworth added that the Town is looking to add turning lanes into Academy St, Quarry Dr, and Farmgate Rd and clear more vegetation to help site lines.
1. On a motion by Mr. Kareckas, seconded by Mrs. Leber, it was unanimously voted to sign the warrant calling the municipal election on Tuesday, November 7, 2017.
2. On a motion by Mr. James, seconded by Mr. Kareckas, it was unanimously voted to hold a public hearing on Tuesday, October 10, 2017 at 6:30pm to receive comment on the annual updates to the General Assistance Ordinance Appendices.
3. On a motion by Mrs. Leber, seconded by Mr. James, it was unanimously voted to designate Perry Ellsworth as South Berwick’s voting delegate at the annual meeting of the Maine Municipal Association.
On a motion by Mr. Kareckas, seconded by Mr. Chase, it was unanimously voted to designate Heather Stanley as South Berwick’s alternate voting delegate at the annual meeting of the Maine Municipal Associations.
4. The Council discussed the collaborative effort between the Town, Water and Sewer Districts on Grant, Webster, and High Streets.
Mr. Ellsworth explained that we only received four bid responses, and two of them did not want to bid. Mr. Kareckas asked if both the Water and Sewer District Trustees had already committed to the project. Mr. Ellsworth stated that they had.
On a motion by Mr. Kareckas, seconded by Mrs. Leber, it was unanimously voted to award the bid to Mick Construction in the amount of $379,855, contingent upon receiving verification from the Water and Sewer Districts that they are committed to the project.
5. The Council discussed the possibility of selling or donating four properties to the Great Works Land Trust. The Tax Acquired Property Policy has been amended to allow for the transfer of land to an entity that will preserve it.
Pat Robinson explained that the Land Trust does not need the properties surveyed, but they do still need to do the title searches. She also clarified that the lots involved are in shown on the Town tax maps as Lot 2 Map 4, Lot 2 Map 43, Lot 3 Map 37C, and Lot 3 Map 35.
Mr. Kareckas commented that the Town cannot convey something if we don’t know for sure that it exists.
Mr. James added that it is a catch 22 for both sides.
On a motion by Mr. James, seconded by Mr. Chase, it was unanimously voted to hold a workshop on October 17th at 6:30pm to discuss land transfers to the Great Works Regional Land Trust.
6. On a motion by Mr. James, seconded by Mr. Chase, it was unanimously voted to allow the Town Manager to sell the 2006 Ford Explorer to the highest bidder.
7. The Council discussed the State mandate that we use a PSAP for 911 calls. Now, the State is mandating that we use dispatchers who are certified as emergency medical and fire dispatchers or have the PSAP handle the call. Our dispatchers have their medical certifications but not their fire.
Mr. Kareckas expressed his chagrin at yet another state mandate.
Mr. Ellsworth stated that there is room for both South Berwick and Berwick to use the York dispatch service. He will continue his talks with York.
1. Mr. Kareckas:
-Thanked Jon St. Pierre and his son for stepping up and working at the transfer station when they were short staffed.
-Thurrell Road is looking better than he has ever seen it.
-Asked that the Manager look into having the dirt removed from around the new utility poles on Main St. They will have to be cleaned up before we start with winter maintenance.
2. Mr. Leber:
-Asked if there had been any arrangements made for Jon’s dad. Mr. Ellsworth stated ‘nothing’.
3. Mr. Abell:
-Made note of a recent disturbing incident on a school bus. Apparently one student made racial slurs toward people of color. He trusts the school will take appropriate action. He also added that other students showed support for people of color.
On a motion by Mr. James, seconded by Mrs. Leber, it was unanimously voted to adjourn the meeting at 7:40pm.
Barbara Bennett, CCM