Town Council Minutes 11/25/2014
South Berwick Town Council
November 25, 2014
Chairman John C. Kareckas called the meeting to order at 6:38pm. Councilors present included Jean Demetracopoulos, Russell H. Abell, Laura Leber, and John James. Town Manager Perry Ellsworth was also in attendance.
Approval of Minutes
1. Council 11-10-14: On a motion by Mr. Abell, seconded by Mrs. Demetracopoulos, it was unanimously voted to adopt the minutes as written.
1. On a motion by Mrs. Demetracopoulos, seconded by Mrs. Leber, it was unanimously voted to sign the warrant dated November 20, 2014 in the amount of $269,205.02.
Reports & Presentations
1. Dr. Mary Nash, MSAD #35 Superintendent, addressed the Council in regard to the fireworks being shot off at high school football games. Dr. Nash gave a brief synopsis of how Mr. Tsakiris of Patriot Fireworks had offered to shoot off fireworks at the 2013 homecoming game and proposed that either the District or a booster organization pay for future displays. Dr. Nash clearly explained, “MSAD #35 does not support or endorse fireworks displays on or about school, period, and no one, including the Board of Directors or myself believes that taxpayer money should be used for these purposes.” [Dr. Nash’s complete statement is attached to these minutes in the official record]
Mr. Kareckas commented that state law allows for home rule on consumer fireworks, but has no authority to regulate the use or sale of commercial/display grade fireworks.
Town Manager’s Report
-The annual audit is complete.
-The documents for the Avesta closing are not yet ready. A special meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, December 2nd to sign the necessary paperwork to complete the sale.
-He will soon be putting together the budget schedule.
-He will be back to full duties on Monday, December 1st.
1. The Council discussed the proposed fireworks moratorium. The Town’s Attorney has confirmed that a municipality may institute an ordinance regulating consumer grade fireworks but has no authority to place regulations on commercial/display grade fireworks.
Rob Harper, Tamarack Dr, questioned the need for a moratorium. Mr. Kareckas stated that it would give the Council time to research the issues and determine the best course of action.
Kevin Sarzynski, Tamarack Dr, stated that he and many others support the fireworks for the high school games.
Sam Tibbetts, Pine St, stated that consumer and display grade fireworks should not be lumped together. He added that he was not in favor of banning fireworks, but would be in favor of regulating them for fire safety.
Kim Dailey, Emery’s Bridge Rd, received clarification that the only ‘noise ordinance’ is in the Zoning Ordinance and is specific to the industrial zones only.
On a motion by Mrs. Demetracopoulos, seconded by Mr. James, it was unanimously voted to table the fireworks moratorium and request the Manager to pursue potential ordinance language and enforcement issues.
2. On a motion by Mr. Abell, seconded by Mrs. Demetracopoulos, it was unanimously voted to hold a public hearing on Tuesday, December 9, 2014 at 6:30pm to receive comment on the proposed changes to sections 140-9, Definitions, and 140-58, Restaurants, and new 140-58A, Outdoor Sales of Food & Merchandise.
3. The Council briefly discussed Code Chapter 119 Street Acceptance, Chapter 121 Subdivisions, and Chapter 140 Zoning. The proposed changes were discussed in a workshop with the Planning Board on November 18th. Southern Maine Regional Planning and Development are doing an additional review of the changes.
4. Mr. Kareckas updated that Council on the current activities of the Parking Committee. The Committee is actively seeking public input and has developed a questionnaire. The Council gave unanimous consent to post the questionnaire on the Town’s website.
1. On a motion by Mrs. Leber, seconded by Mr. Abell, it was unanimously voted to appoint Greg Tuano and Veronica Salyer to the Conservation Commission with terms to expire June 30, 2017.
3. On a motion by Mr. Abell, seconded by Mrs. Demetracopoulos, it was unanimously voted to adopt the amendments deleting section 31-72, B & C of the Personnel Policy. The change would allow only full time employees access to the Town’s health insurance plan. (There are currently no employees affected by the change).
Council Member Comments
Each Councilor in turn wished everyone a happy & safe Thanksgiving.
1. Mrs. Leber:
-She commented that she liked the Home for the Holidays flyer.
2. Mrs. Demetracopoulos:
-She congratulated the Marshwood Hawks football team.
3. Mr. Abell:
-He informed everyone of the upcoming Eagle Scout Court of Honor for Philip Hourihan.
-He informed the Council that he would not be able to attend the meeting on December 2nd.
4. Mr. James:
-He congratulated the Marshwood Hawks
5. Mr. Kareckas:
-Read a letter of sentiment congratulating Philip Hourihan on his obtaining his Eagle Scout Badge. Mr. Kareckas received consensus to sign and send Mr. Hourihan the letter.
On a motion by Mrs. Demetracopoulos, seconded by Mrs. Leber, it was unanimously voted to adjourn the meeting at 8:20pm.
Barbara Bennett, CCM