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Town Council Minutes 10/08/2013

South Berwick Town Council
October 8, 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 9-24-13:  On a motion by Mrs. Webster, seconded by Mrs. Demetracopoulos, it was unanimously voted to adopt the minutes as written.

Treasurer’s Warrant – Oct 8, 2013

On a motion by Mrs. Demetracopoulos, seconded by Mr. Webster, it was unanimously voted to sign the warrant in the amount of $1,389,240.94.  This warrant includes the monthly school payment of $587,886.29 and the annual county taxes of $359,103.48.

Public Comment

1. George Muller, Portland St, expressed his concerns about speeding traffic and the use of engine brakes on Portland Street.  He stated that there are approximately 12,000 vehicles a day that travel Portland Street; and the Town isn’t doing enough to enforce the speed limit of the.  He also commented that the crosswalks are not very visible.  He asked that something be done.

2. Manley Gove, Dennett Rd, asked for the status of his application as an alternate member of the Planning Board.  The process for new board applicants was explained.

Reports & Correspondence

1. Dan Boyle, Chair of the Historic District Commission presented the Council with a proposed change to the Historic District Ordinance, §84-11(9).

Mr. Boyle explained that the HDC currently has a 60 day public notice period for demolition of any buildings in the Historic, B1, B2, or BR Districts.  The HDC would like to extend the requirement to all buildings within South Berwick.  He added that the HDC does not want to stop demolition; it merely wants to document any buildings that may have a historical significance.

The Council briefly discussed the proposal and consensus was to hold a workshop on November 4th.  The workshop would include Council, HDC members and the Code Enforcement Officer.  Note was made that improved communication between the Code Officer and the HDC was necessary.

Town Manager’s Report

-Mr. Ellsworth read a letter from the County Commissioners responding to the Town’s letter in regard to the dispute between the Commissioners and County Budget Committee.  A copy of the letter is available in the official minutes book, attachment 1.  Note was also made that the Town had requested information in regard to the cost of the litigation.  Mr. Ellsworth stated that after several emails back and forth with the County Administrator, the amount of $2931 has been spent thus far.
-Made note of several programming and fee changes for Comcast (Xfinity) and Time Warner.
-Have received a draft copy of the Title V Operating Permit for the PSNH Schiller Station in Portsmouth.
-Will be meeting with Dana Totman of Avesta on the 16th to get an update.
-Have received notification of a Decertification Vote for the Professional Employees Union.  The Labor Board will schedule a vote, probably within the next 4 to 6 weeks.
-Brattle Street Bridge:  new issues with the concrete base have been found requiring additional work and delays.

TC 10-08-13

-Pedestrian Crossings:  Mr. Ellsworth stated that the Town, not the State, stripes the crosswalks; spring and fall.  Main Street will be striped tonight; a couple of crosswalks will be done in the spring.
-The 2 solar flashing lights provided by the State will hopefully be installed soon.  They should help provide more visibility. The parking spaces in front of Town Hall will be hatched in to prevent parking.
-Portland Street will have the side guideline painted, but individual parking spaces will not be.
-Portland Street speeding:  671 tickets were issued last year.  The State study did not find the amount/rate of speeding to be as high as stated (by Mr. Muller).  Mr. Ellsworth added that the Town is doing something.  A recent agreement has been signed with Berwick allowing officers from both towns to stop traffic on Route 4.  
-The traffic study in the area of Vine Street, Old Mill Rd and Route 236 has just been completed.  There is potential for a light or turning lane.
-Putting up a no “jake brake” sign could put the Town in liability if a truck driver claims he needed the use of the brake to avoid a collision.
-There is a regional meeting in Berwick on October 30th at 7:00pm.
-The meeting with the Building Committee scheduled for October 23rd is not confirmed.
-General Assistance is suffering a bit since Roberta Orsini left.  We are getting by, but we may have to do something different.   Currently working on a plan; it is a specialized trade.

New Business

1. On a motion by Mrs. Demetracopoulos, seconded by Mr. Webster, it was unanimously voted to sign the warrant calling the Municipal election on Tuesday, November 5th.

2. On a motion by Mr. Kareckas, seconded by Mr. Webster, it was unanimously voted to approve the renewal of Isidore on the Rocks liquor license and special amusement permit.

3. On a motion by Mr. Kareckas, seconded by Mrs. Demetracopoulos, it was unanimously voted to hold a public hearing on Tuesday, October 22nd at 6:30pm to receive comments on the proposed amendments to section 130-13 of the Vehicles and Traffic Ordinance.

4. On a motion by Mr. Webster, seconded by Mrs. Demetracopoulos, it was unanimously voted to declare the 1991 Utility Trailer, 1987 Elgin Sweeper, 1996 Ford F150, and 2000 Ford Ranger as junk and authorize the Manager to dispose of same.

Council Member Comments

1. Mr. Kareckas:
-Made note of the October 12th Dedication for the Desrochers Memorial woods.  The land was donated by Patti Gallo to the Great Works Regional Land Trust in memory of her father.  The property abuts the Town Forest.  

2. Mr. Webster:
-Asked if the anything had been done about the Beavers plugging the culvert on Pond Road.  Mr. Ellsworth stated that the culvert has been cleaned out, but the Beavers may have to be trapped.

3. Mrs. Demetracopoulos:
-Commented that painting “25 MPH” on the pavement may help with the speeding issue.  Mr. Ellsworth stated that he would ask the DOT if that would be permissible.
-Asked if the school had received the information from Comcast regarding internet access for those eligible for subsidized school lunches.
-Made note of the upcoming meeting of the Chairs of the Council, SAD board and Eliot Selectmen.

4. Mr. MacPherson:
-Reminded everyone of Household Hazardous Waste Collection Day on Saturday, October 12th at the Regional Maintenance Facility, 9am to 1pm.

TC 10-08-13

-Spoke briefly about the South Berwick Volunteer Network.  The group provides rides to and from doctor and hospital appointments.  He stated that the volunteers are not compensated; but it is very rewarding.  The Network is always in need of more drivers.  Anyone wishing to help can contact him or Zelda Kenney.


On a motion by Mrs. Demetracopoulos, seconded by Mr. Kareckas, it was unanimously voted to adjourn the meeting at 7:48pm.

Barbara Bennett, CCM