Steering Committee

Meeting Minutes – 9/10/02, 7:20 PM

Those Present:  Ken Smith, Reggie McDevitt, Dick King (arrived at 7:15) and Peter McDevitt (arrived at 7:45).  Dennis Ford and John Wuorinen also were present for the entire meeting.  Since no other subcommittee members arrived by 7:30, everyone continued to participate in the Steering Committee meeting and there were no separate subcommittee meetings.  As noted on the meeting agenda, a joint meeting had been tentatively planned anyway.


·        The minutes from the August 13 meeting were reviewed.  Reggie moved to accept them as written, Dick seconded the motion and all were in favor.

·        Reggie reported that the Facilities Subcommittee is still searching for an appropriate parcel of land to accommodate a possible public works complex.  Dick talked with the Budwines about their 13 acre parcel located off the Walker Road and they would be interested in selling.  Although Dick didn’t discuss price, he believes that it would be in the range of $50-70K.  Reggie had several fact sheets from local real estate agents for parcels that are on the market.  One is a 6.25 acre parcel on the Shore Road, which was determined to be directly across from Clif and Jan Smith, that is offered by the Whitakers at $69K.  Reggie thought that it was a Whitaker from Massachusetts and not Kay Whitaker who owns the parcel next to Clif and Jan.  Another is a 7.2 acre parcel located on Needles Eye Road near the Walker Road, which is offered at $30K.  Ken noted that, depending on its location, it could be on the aquifer.  However, based on a review of the tax maps, it appeared to be located about 300 feet from Walker Road, which appeared to place it on the hillside that slopes in a northeasterly direction to Needles Eye Road.  Most of those present recalled exposed ledge on the west side where the road goes down the hill.  Although both of these sites might be able to physically accommodate a public works complex, depending on the site configuration and characteristics, the group agreed that any site selected should have ample buffer from the adjacent parcels to facilitate its acceptance by the neighbors.  To meet this need, the site probably should be at least 10 to 15 acres and perhaps more, depending on its configuration.  If the site also must accommodate a school at some point in the future, then 20 to 30 acres probably would be desirable.  The group decided to eliminate the Shore Road and Needles Eye Road parcels from further consideration due to their limited size.  Reggie also had a fact sheet on a 43 acre parcel located on Woodcock Lane at Partridge Cove offered at $158K.  The particular parcel was determined to be in a residential area (rural/agricultural zone) and located too far off the Mud Creek Road to be acceptable.  Reggie also noted that the 50 acre parcel located across the street from the town hall, which is in a development zone, is still available from Lonnie Collier at $249K.  However, they are not willing to subdivide.  Reggie also wanted to be sure that that the parcels previously discussed are not overlooked.  They include the 34 acre Forest Pinkham parcel that is offered at $149K and a parcel at the town hall end of route 204 by MacQuinn’s pit that Erva Pinkham may be willing to sell.  Dick also indicated that it may be possible to reconsider the Ed Davidson parcel located behind Butler’s parcel on the Buttermilk Road.  The group had previously rejected this parcel since it is located in a residentially zoned area.  Dick suggested that it may be possible to purchase the adjoining land in Trenton for construction of the public works facility and simply have access across the Davidson parcel from the Buttermilk Road.  Note:  although not discussed at the meeting, Stu Marckoon had indicated at the June 10 meeting that Patricia Kohlenbush may be interested in selling. 

·        Ken noted that, as discussed at the last meeting, the Steering Committee and Facilities Subcommittee should be developing a conclusion regarding the general availability and price of suitable land to include as a capital cost in the comparison of the existing system to various alternatives.  He noted that individual parcels of land most likely will not be available in one to two years when the town meeting would be in a position to accept a firm recommendation to establish a public works department, if that is the ultimate conclusion of the committee.  Those present questioned this time frame.  Ken justified it as follows: first, the outcome of our study, which represents only an overall assessment, will not be presented to the town meeting until next March.  At that time, the town meeting would accept or reject a recommendation to pursue the establishment of such a department, including the recommended concept of how it would be organized.  If they accept such a recommendation, then the next step would be to work with the Budget Committee to establish firm numbers for the proposed organization.  This process would include a reassessment of land availability and pricing, including the identification of specific suitable parcels.  Once the numbers have been developed they would be presented along with firm recommendations to the selectmen for inclusion on a town meeting warrant.  Assuming that the Budget and Public Works Study Committees have interfaced with the selectmen on a regular basis during the process, the selectmen may agree to include the recommendations as is on the warrant (otherwise, there may be a need for one or more further revisions).  Thus, on this basis, the absolute earliest that a warrant article could be presented to a special town meeting would be in June 2003, but more likely in September 2003, and most likely it would be presented to the regular town meeting in March 2004.  Once explained, there was overall agreement that these are not unrealistic time frames.  However, Reggie expressed his strong belief that the Steering Committee needs to suggest to the selectmen that the land purchase issue be expedited.  He noted that Lamoine presently is undergoing unprecedented development as more and more people move off the Island because of high taxes.  All of the subdivision-sized parcels are disappearing rapidly and the Steering Committee just concluded that parcels of such a size would be the most desirable for a public works facility.  Reggie’s suggestion was discussed at length and everyone agreed that, even if the town doesn’t adopt a public works department immediately, they may elect to do so in the future and the land should be preserved for this or other town purposes.  It was agreed that Ken would attempt to get on the agenda for the next selectmen’s meeting to discuss this issue with them.  Action: Ken.

·        Dennis represented the Transportation Subcommittee prior to Peter’s arrival.  Ken asked if there were any further recommendations regarding the number and types of equipment required.  After some group discussion, Dennis and Dick agreed that the two large trucks with plows and sanders recommended last month should be a six wheel, 8 cy unit and a ten wheel, 12 cy unit.  The 1 ton with plow and sander and loader/backhoe combination recommended last month are still necessary.  A plow-mounted or tow behind sweeper with necessary hydraulics should be provided for the 1 ton.  The loader/backhoe combination should be equipped with quick change attachments and, according to Dick, at least a 1½ cy bucket and preferably a 2 cy bucket.  If the ultimate recommendation is to provide and operate our own school buses, then two large buses and one small bus would be required.  John raised the question of whether or not there should be an allowance for a third large bus to accommodate the rapid expansion of developments in the town.  Another question was raised regarding the need for a spare bus for breakdowns.  Reggie indicated that when the town previously operated its own buses, an arrangement was worked out with Ellsworth, which operated its own buses as well, to provide a backup.  Since Ellsworth still operates its own buses, it’s possible that a similar arrangement could be established.  Action: Transportation Subcommittee to talk with Stu.  It was felt that since the buses will be stored outside, the decision regarding the purchase of the third bus would not impact the sizing of the maintenance garage.

·        The building size required to store and maintain the above equipment was discussed at length.  The salt storage shed discussed last month would be a separate building.  Dennis and Dick agreed that the basic building should be at least 60x80-ft with three bays.  There also would need to be space for tools and parts storage, although this may be able to fit at the back of one of the bays.  Space also would be required for offices, communications equipment, mechanical systems and fuel storage.  Such space would be in addition to the 60x80-ft footprint.  Dick and Reggie agreed to work on a building layout that they will provide to the Transportation Subcommittee for review.  They will assume a basic highway department as the first alternative, then add buses (maintenance only since storage will be outside) and finally add trash/recycling truck(s).  Action: Dick and Reggie.  Dick estimated that the cost of the facilities and equipment would be $1.5 M +/-.

·        The labor requirements for the transportation portion of a public works department would include one full time maintenance person, three truck drivers for the winter months, and a highway department supervisor.  In the summer months, at least two and possibly all three of the drivers would be used for road maintenance (minor repairs, crack sealing, ditching) and grounds/facility maintenance.  It was agreed that the supervisor would need to be dedicated to the administrative aspects of the operation as well as the direct supervision of the employees.  Although there may be some clerical help from Stu and the town hall staff, the supervisor would be responsible for timecard and payroll administration, hiring, training and other human resource functions.  If school bus operation is assumed, then there would need to be one driver for each of the three buses.  Backup arrangements would need to be in place for sick time and vacation coverage.  However, those familiar with past operations indicated that there should be a sufficient part time (casual) labor pool in town to provide such backup coverage.  Ken requested that the Transportation Subcommittee start putting the labor numbers together.  A question was raised regarding fringe benefits.  Ken suggested that we not worry about them at this time.  When we are ready, we can work with Stu and, if necessary, the Maine Municipal Association to establish the proper benefits allowance.  Action: Transportation Subcommittee.

·        Ken discussed the three principal alternatives to the existing trash and recycling systems that are being considered in more detail by the Solid Waste Subcommittee.  These were detailed in the Subcommittee Meeting Minutes for August 13 that each of the study committee members should have received in the mail.  Ken briefly reviewed them as well as a fourth alternative of using town employees and equipment to provide curbside collection of trash and recyclables.  Ken expressed the subcommittee’s belief that this alternative probably would not be affordable.  Dennis noted that the subcommittee shouldn’t summarily dismiss this option as it would provide additional work for the winter truck drivers during the summer months when the population of Lamoine swells with the summer residents.  Action: Solid Waste Subcommittee.  He further suggested that the subcommittee investigate the possibility of purchasing a hook truck that could be used with interchangeable trash, recyclables and dump truck bodies as a means of reducing the costs.  Action: Ken Smith. 

·        The Facilities Subcommittee noted its assumption that the town offices would remain in the existing town hall.  However, if the school moves to a new site, then the town offices could move into a portion of the existing school building.  The subcommittee also has assumed that the fire department will remain in its existing building.  However, the public works site should be large enough to accommodate the fire station in case it is cost effective to expand the school onto the existing fire station site.  Dick reminded the group that Chris Luck expressed a willingness to sell the town a small parcel of land for a new fire station if the school expands onto its existing site.

·        Ken requested that each subcommittee start to pull together its cost information for the various alternatives so that the alternatives can be compared to the costs of the existing systems.  It may be helpful to re-analyze the existing costs to facilitate formatting the cost information for the alternatives.  Additionally, Ken requested that the committees start preparing the write-ups for the report, starting with the existing facilities and needs as presented in the 7/4/02 draft outline of the final report.  Action: All subcommittees.

Next Steering Committee Meeting:  Tuesday, October 8 at 7:00 PM

The meeting adjourned at 8:55 PM.

Respectfully submitted,

Ken Smith