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Lamoine Board of Selectmen

 

(l-r ) Gary McFarland, Richard Fennelly Jr., Jo Cooper, Cynthia Donaldson
Minutes of November 15, 2012

Chair Jo Cooper called the meeting to order at 7:02 PM

Present were: Selectmen Richard Fennelly Jr., S. Josephine Cooper, Gary McFarland, Cynthia Donaldson; administrative assistant Stu Marckoon, Code Enforcement Officer Michael Jordan and Fire Chief George “Skip” Smith

Agenda Review – Stu suggested the board might skip over the fire chief item until the arrival of Chief Smith.

Minutes of November 1, 2012 – Jo moved to approve the minutes as written. Gary 2 nd . Vote in favor was 4-0.

Expenditure Warrant 10 – Selectmen signed the warrant in the amount of $200,094.24. Richard asked about the camera for a fire truck. Stu explained that Gary's company installed a camera so that the driver could see immediately behind truck 405. He said the boat trailer is impossible to see behind the truck when it's in tow, and the camera is a safety device that will be required on all new fire apparatus.

Cash & Budget Report – Stu explained that there were two reports in tonight's material. The later report includes the just received audit adjustments.

Foreclosure List – Stu reported there were 18 property owners who will receive a notice of automatic foreclosure. He said he sent those out the previous day.

Vault Shelving – Selectmen looked over the latest design for movable shelves in the vault. Stu explained the design would have one set of mounted shelves and two sets on movable tracks, and that comes closer to the $8,000 budget. He said this design is about $8,700. Mike Jordan said the assessors liked the idea. Jo moved to proceed to get an estimate from the design company. Richard 2 nd . Vote in favor was 4-0.

Election Night – Stu reported that the election staff loves the new voting machine. He said the counting was done by 9:30 PM, which is much better than the last big election which saw ballots counted until 4AM. Richard said there appeared to be a very large turnout when he came to vote and people seemed to move through the process well. Cynthia said her only concern was about ballot design in that the ovals were difficult to see. Stu said the Secretary of State designed the ballot, and maybe her concerns could be sent to that office.

Budget Committee – Stu reported the committee had its first meeting on Monday and set three other dates for meetings, November 26, December 3 and December 17. He said the committee reviewed the Administration and Solid Waste budgets at its first meeting.

Emergency Operations Manual – Stu said he printed off the current emergency operations plan for the Board to review following a discussion last meeting. The board agreed to tackle a review and update at the first meeting in January.

Town Meeting Timing Discussion – Cynthia asked if there had been any kind of groundswell comment on the town meeting date. Richard said he'd only heard from Catherine DeTuede, but had not heard anything recently. Jo said there was a message on her answering machine that she couldn't hear, but did not think it was in relation to this item, but it was from someone who wanted something on the agenda. She said she would refer the caller to the town office number.

Cynthia said a survey taken a while back indicated that a schedule change might prompt more people to attend, but the statistics compiled of actual attendance show the best turnout is in March. Richard said it's unfortunate that town meeting dates are not standardized, as it makes it difficult for towns working collaboratively to accomplish things. Gary noted the RSU faces similar issues. Cynthia said suggested alternative times were all over the place in the survey.

Jo said she is sensitive to the concern about the meeting being held at night. She said it might be wise to organize people who can supply rides to town meeting. Richard said that later in the spring folks seem to be busier so it's more difficult to get to town meeting, but more out of town voters might be back in town. A brief discussion followed regarding the number of voters who leave town for the winter.

Mr. Jordan said the lack of attendance might be the perception that things in town are running correctly. He said if people have a problem with a town matter, they will show up for a meeting.

Jo said she wanted to give the issue a fair discussion. Cynthia said she thinks the board has. Jo suggested placing the issue on the agenda again closer to the town meeting date to see if a volunteer ride effort could be set up. Richard noted that a turnout of 80 to 90 people out of 1,500 voters is a pretty small percentage. Gary suggested promoting the meeting date and time more about a month ahead of the meeting. A short discussion followed regarding town meetings from many years back. Fire Chief Skip Smith said since the school budget is no longer decided on the town level, people have lost a feeling over control over the majority of the town's budget.

Proposed Fire Truck Purchase – Chief Smith said he started discussion of a new truck with the budget committee last year. He said the long range plan had put the purchase date at 2015, but because of some federal emission standard changes, the price is likely to jump sharply. He said the Budget Committee requested figures for this cycle so the committee could decide whether to recommend a truck be purchased now. He said he got prices from the chassis dealer and body manufacturer and asked for a “Cadillac” package, knowing the price would be much higher than what it would likely come in for. He said the total was about $230,000, and called the figure shocking. He said the current tanker truck was purchased in 1989 for less than $100,000. He said he will meet with the Budget Committee on November 26 to review the operations budget and the capital needs budget.

Cynthia asked if the truck would have to be rebuilt after the new regulations went into effect. Chief Smith said no, the truck would comply with the regulations in effect in 2009 and would be grandfathered. Gary explained the new emission standards are not specific to fire trucks, but are for all diesel trucks. He said the new exhaust standards are very complicated.

Jo asked Chief Smith to explain how the truck would be paid for. Chief Smith said the fire department has enjoyed two successful years for fund raising, and the department corporation is willing to donate $25,000 toward the new truck manufacture and pick up the final debt service payment on the 2005 truck.

Richard asked about the overall budget impact, and a brief discussion followed.

RSU Withdrawal Update – Gary reported the Withdrawal Committee met on Monday, and nothing earth shattering happened. He said they reviewed the sticking points between the Lamoine Withdrawal Committee and RSU 24. He said the committee would meet next Monday night. He said he expects some counteroffers then. He said the two sides should be coming close to an actual agreement. He said the RSU would only vote on a complete withdrawal agreement. He said it has been a frustratingly slow process.

Gary said the next step is to work up the cost for Lamoine to operate its own school department should voters opt to pull out of the RSU, and give a comparison to townspeople. He said the withdrawal committee has discussed the timing of a vote, which is up to the Department of Education. He said they hope to coordinate the vote with Hancock and Ellsworth, possibly next summer. He said maybe the first Tuesday in November might have a better voter turnout.

Gary said contract issues are complicating the negotiation. He said at best, the time line is at least 4-more months to work out details of the agreement. Stu asked if they will need another extension. Gary said they would, and those are routinely granted.

Gary also noted that two people are working to generate meeting minutes.

Cynthia noted the process is taking a tremendous amount of time in her household. She said she appreciated Gary's willingness to stick with the job.

Gary said the RSU Board is feeling a similar amount of frustration. He said the Hancock, Ellsworth and Lamoine withdrawal committees have worked well together, and they're not ganging up on the RSU. He said there has been some foot dragging.

Deed to RSU 24 – Stu said he had little new to report but had spoken with Tony Beardsley to confirm that he was working on the process. Cynthia asked why that is taking so long Stu said Tony is working on many of these for the RSU, including with school organizations which no longer exist.

House Numbering – Stu reported that Iris Simon was interested in helping promote better house number signage. He said she was concerned, as is the fire department, that it's difficult to find specific addresses if the driveways are not marked. Selectmen said that was a fine idea and thanked Mrs. Simon for her interest and gave the go ahead to come up with an effort.

PERC-GAT – Stu reported that the Municipal Review Committee sent a memo regarding guaranteed annual tonnage (GAT) and encouraging municipalities to make sure that commercial trash be counted toward the GAT. He said he had a lot of questions about that and would, unless there was an objection, contact Greg Lounder with those questions. There was no objection.

Budget – Richard asked what was included in the cemetery maintenance line. Stu said the two organized cemeteries bill the town for care of veterans' graves, though East Lamoine has not sent a bill in a while. He said the Memorial Day flags are also included in that figure. He said the town has been paying for the mowing at Marlboro Cemetery. Gary said he hopes to get the Marlboro Cemetery Association reactivated over the winter.

The Board reviewed the capital needs budget that will go to the Budget Committee on November 26.

Audit – Jo moved to sign the management representation letter to James Wadman, CPA. Cynthia 2 nd . Vote in favor was 4-0. Stu reported that he posted the audit on line shortly after getting it, and had received an e-mail comment congratulating the town on its fiscal stability. He said he replied back that he was amazed that someone actually read the audit.

Other – CEO Jordan said he was looking at the MUBEC issue and how to present that to the town. He said he'd like to see the town vote to either fall under MUBEC or not. He said it's very confusing, and he would like to see an advisory question on the March town meeting ballot to give some direction to the Planning Board on how to rewrite the Building and Land Use Ordinance regarding MUBEC issues. He said with some sort of vote, he would feel like there was some direction in regard to enforcement and put him in a less sticky spot. He said he's been told not to enforce MUBEC, but the ordinance says to do it, so he would like some direction.

Richard said an informative public hearing would be necessary for folks to know the pros and cons of MUBEC. He said it was crucial to make it clear to the town. He said the board routinely makes recommendations on articles, and wondered if a board recommendation on such a vote might be in order. Jo asked whether that would be appropriate. Stu said the statutes only require a recommendation on a referendum budget vote, and this would be a straw vote that is not binding.

Richard asked if Mr. Jordan had any estimate on the added cost to a project for MUBEC. Mr. Jordan said he thinks it might be $7 to $10 per square foot. A discussion about the building codes followed. Jo said the board should consider it, and putting together some written summary to explain it. A discussion followed on what ought to be included in the summary.

Next Meeting – The next regular meeting will be December 6, 2012. On the agenda will be an executive session to conduct a job performance review with the Code Enforcement Officer as per the probationary contract.

There being no further business, the meeting adjourned at 8:17 PM

Respectfully submitted,

Stu Marckoon, Adm. Asst.