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Administrative Assistant's Report

For Meeting of February 7, 2013

Winter has finally wrapped its icy grip around us. The checkbook cringes each time the furnace kicks on, and I genuinely feel for those who either have to work outdoors or are struggling to keep heat in their homes at this time of year. That being said, our general assistance inquiries have not been nearly as frequent as they were at this time last year, and expenditures are down a bit.

The agenda for your first meeting in February is relatively short, but the discussion will be pretty serious as you prepare for the annual town meeting.

The nomination petition deadline is Saturday, and all the candidates who have circulated papers have returned them and will be on the ballot in March. A sample ballot is enclosed in your packets. From now until town meeting, the candidates will also get a copy of the Selectmen's packet. Best of luck to everyone running and thank you in advance for being willing to serve. Just a reminder that the town office does not get involved in any campaigning, endorsements, etc we must remain neutral in any election effort. Requests for information from any candidates will be handled like any other public information request.

Minutes January 17, 2013 Please look over the minutes and bring written corrections if possible.

Warrant 15 At this writing, it's a relatively light warrant. The school warrant will be on warrant 16. The fire extinguishers at the various town buildings were brought up to date by Morris Fire Protection, and the payroll for this week is on there. There will be a 2 nd payroll on the warrant, as we are 3-weeks between meetings.

Cash & Budget Report No red flags at this time in the budget report.

Checking Account Reconciliation This will be done after the bank sends the statement on February 1st . I will e-mail the reconciliation to the sitting board when it is done and the printed copy will be available for the candidates to inspect if you so desire. The one-page version is posted on the town's website each month.

Disposition of Foreclosed Property The deadline for the previous owner to respond and redeem the piece of foreclosed land on North Road is this meeting. To date, there has been no response. We sent a letter both certified and 1st class. The certified receipt has not come back, but the 1 st class letter has not been returned. If there is no response by meeting time, it will be time to put this out to auction. The redemption cost for the property owner was $2,319.75. With advertising costs, I would recommend that the minimum bid be $3,000.00 and that we advertise this in two legal ads in the Ellsworth American, on the town's website, and post it in the usual spots around town. I would recommend that the bid deadline be March 7, 2013 with $500 deposit and the rest due for closing on March 21, 2013 so that the town can execute the quitclaim deed prior to April 1, 2013.

Property Tax Reminders The past few years we have sent postcard reminders to property owners who have a balance due in February to remind that a 2 nd payment is due. Do we wish to do that again this year? It's not terribly costly, and while it takes a bit of work to prepare, I suspect we can do it without a lot of effort.

Budget Committee Meeting As instructed last meeting, the budget committee was e-mailed with the state budget proposal information. You will have the proposed budget as recommended by the budget committee, the proposed warrant, and this will be a chance to discuss the budget before it goes to print for town meeting. Since the last analysis, there has been some clarification on the commercial truck excise tax. Apparently it only applies to tractors that haul trailers, and we had only one of those registered in the past year, which would mean a loss of $453.08. That takes a bit of the sting away.

Comprehensive Plan Request After the discussion at the last meeting, I managed to find the gentleman in charge of Comprehensive Plans with the State of Maine. I ran the warrant question past him and the idea that a committee would be formed, charged to develop a budget. He said that seemed like a prudent idea. He's very willing to assist the town through the process.

Town Meeting Warrant Please review the specimen ballot for accuracy. After the Budget Committee and Selectmen meet, there might be some adjustments to the warrant articles. I should be able to get those typed during the meeting so the warrant can be signed. This will allow for publication in the town report and posting in a timely fashion. Absentee ballots will be available the day following your meeting.

Town Report I think the only things missing (other than the budget and town meeting warrant) are the Parks Commission report and the Superintendent's report and I hope to have both in hand prior to your meeting. I'm still waiting for Jo to write the Selectmen's report. The budget and warrant will be pasted into the report after this meeting. I'll print up a new draft on February 1 for your review.

RSU 24 Withdrawal Update I suspect Gary will have an update on where the process stands.

That's the meeting as things stand now. With the extra week between meetings, there are likely to be agenda addendum items.

stu