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Lamoine Board of Selectmen

 

(l-r ) Gary McFarland, Richard Fennelly Jr., Jo Cooper, Cynthia Donaldson
Minutes of January 17, 2013

Chair Jo Cooper called the meeting to order at 7:01 PM

Present were: Selectmen S. Josephine Cooper, Gary McFarland, Cynthia Donaldson; Administrative Assistant Stu Marckoon, Frenchman Bay Partners liaison Diane Nicholls, Cathy Gaianguest and Richard McMullen.

Agenda Review Selectmen agreed to address issues that affected members of the public in attendance at the top of the agenda.

Minutes of 1/3/12 Jo moved to approve the minutes as written. Gary 2nd . Vote in favor was 2-0 (Donaldson abstained).

Expenditure Warrant 14 Selectmen signed the warrant in the amount of $190,582.26. Stu reported the vast majority of that was the RSU 24 payment.

Cash & Budget Report Stu reported the slow time of year for excise tax collection is upon us.

Frenchman Bay Partners Town liaison Diane Nicholls reported that she attended the organization's annual meeting on November 8, 2012. She said Sorrento, Sullivan, Gouldsboro and Trenton are current partners and the organization is talking with several other municipalities along the bay.

Ms. Nicholls said eel grass and mud flat conservation feasibility studies have been conducted. She said eel grass is good for fish, and the Skillings River has 108 acres of it, a little lower than it used to be. Jo asked what led to the loss. Ms. Nichols explained that the entire bay has 1,076 acres of eel grass, which is down from more than 3,000 acres in 1996, or about a 60% loss. She said 125 acres in Jordan River disappeared due to either runoff or bacteria in the bay. She said it was difficult to identify because it was non point source pollution. She said mussel dragging in the Skillings River has some impact. Jo said she has noticed a difference. Ms. Nichols said the group is working to seed affected areas and work on water quality and monitoring programs. She said a goal is to get the acres of eel grass back to 1996 levels by 2030.

Ms. Nichols said there are 610 acres of mud flats that are closed in Frenchman Bay. She said the concern again is water quality and it's hard to pinpoint where the pollution is coming from. She said another goal is to get 610-acres reopened, including 212 acres in Kilkenney Cove. She said Jim Norris and a mussel harvester are working to make sure the mussel harvest is not impacting the clam harvest. She said the group can monitor clam and mussel populations, and that some group is working on a grant for a clam incubator and may have been successful.

Ms. Nichols said often, culverts are a problem for spawning fish looking to make their way upstream. Stu asked if someone was going to study the culverts and which ones ought to be replaced. Ms. Nichols said that was correct and showed off the Frenchman Bay Atlas which had numerous maps. A brief discussion followed on fish and culverts.

Jo said the report was very helpful. Cynthia said this sounds like a dynamite group. Ms. Nicholls said she will attend the February 2nd meeting of the Frenchman Bay Partners, and left the atlas with the town office.

Comprehensive Plan Update Request Stu reported that the Conservation Commission voted to request that the town update the Comprehensive Plan that was passed in 1996. Jo asked what the process was. Stu said he had drafted an article for the town meeting to appoint a committee with the mandate to come up with a budget by December 31, 2013 for submission in the 2014 annual town meeting.

Cynthia said a memorandum from the State Planning Office was very interesting. Jo asked if there was any estimated cost. Stu said the initial goal of the committee would be to come up with a budget for the 2014 town meeting.

Cathy Gaianguest said she hasn't really explored the matter, but the former State Planning Office people who deal with Comprehensive Plans now work for the Department of Conservation and Agriculture. She said they're willing to meet with local committees.

Ms. Gaianguest said the Conservation Commission is developing an open space plan, and suspects that a Comprehensive Planning Committee could find plenty of work to do over a year.

Snow Plowing Contract Jo noted the current contract was in the packet and asked what action is needed. Stu said he was looking for guidance of when to put the next contract to bid, what changes to the contract would be needed, and the term of the contract. A brief discussion followed about the contract term. Contractor Richard McMullen suggested a possible extension clause in the contract of up to 5-years.

Jo said she's been thinking about how to deal with the plowing, and it would be nice to have a longer contract. Cynthia said she found the idea of an extension clause appealing. Mr. McMullen said he believed his contract with the Maine DOT to plow Route 184 can be extended on April 1 st . Gary asked how much lead time would be needed for an extension. Mr. McMullen said it should be a couple of months.

After a brief discussion of the bid time frame, it was suggested to try for the 1 st meeting in April with an opening date of the first meeting in May.

Stu asked if there were any concerns with the current contract. Mr. McMullen said he presumed that the fuel price escalator clause would be adjusted. Stu said he is proposing to the Selectmen that a measurable fuel price with inflation be included. Mr. McMullen asked if the definition of an event could be changed. Stu said he has suggested that an event be a 24-hour period, so that if there were activity for 24-hours and 15-minutes, it would be two events.

Budget 2013/14 Stu reported the Budget Committee has finished its recommendations for the town meeting warrant, and those came in before the Governor's budget proposals were made. He said the Budget Committee has worked with the goal of effectively and efficiently operating the town and identifying the revenues to reduce the property tax impact. He read from a memorandum that discussed the impact of elimination of municipal revenue sharing, commercial excise tax, and the homestead exemption. He asked if the Selectmen wished to make any different considerations for the budget. Jo said she would be interested in hearing from the Budget Committee to see if that's advisable. Stu said he would e-mail the committee to invite them to the next meeting.

Town Meeting Warrant The board surreptitiously (in order to preserve the element of surprise) discussed and decided on a citizen of the year.

After reviewing the latest draft of the warrant, Cynthia asked if a resolve in support of young children could be placed before the town. A discussion followed. Cynthia said she would seek to find the proper wording prior to the warrant signing.

Stu showed off a flyer promoting the annual town meeting which met with approval of the board. He said he'd not been successful with campaign style signs. Jo suggested Full Circle printing on Water Street in Ellsworth.

Town Report Jo said she still intended to draft a Selectmen's report. Stu said there are a couple of boards that he's waiting for reports from, and the tax collector's report will be drafted soon. Once the budget and town meeting warrant are set, that should finish it off.

Stu reported Xpress Copy has offered to print the report again for a slightly lower price than the previous year.

RSU Withdrawal Update Gary reported the withdrawal committee has not met since the previous Selectmen's meeting. He said he hoped that a final draft of the withdrawal agreement would be coming soon. Stu reported the Education Commission has granted an extension until April 6, 2013.

Planning Board Gravel Pit Expansion Stu reported the Planning Board held the public hearing on the proposed MacQuinn pit expansion on January 8, 2013. Gary said it was very well attended. Stu noted that the chair of the planning board and the applicant's attorney have had some discussion about why the applicant did not make a presentation at the hearing, and apparently that presentation will come at the February meeting.

Staffing Update Stu reported town clerk Jennifer Kovacs started maternity leave on Monday and Nancy Jones is now filling in. He said he wrote a memo outlining her remaining vacation and sick time for which she would be compensated, and she was agreeable to that. He suggested that the town pay 100% of her health insurance while on maternity leave to keep that in place and realizing that she would have no income for a few weeks, this would be the right thing to do. Jo asked if the budget could handle that. Stu said adjusting for an hourly wage and fewer hours by the interim should take care of that. There was no objection from the Board.

Cell Tower Lease buyout offer Stu reported a company has inquired if the town would like to sell the lease on the Verizon tower for $100,000. He said the town stands to gain more than $200,000 in the remaining term of the contract, and he would advise against it. Jo moved to continue the current arrangement on the lease. Gary 2nd . Vote in favor was 3-0.

Next Meetings Jo noted the next meeting would be on February 7, 2013. Cynthia said she would not be able to be present for the March 21, 2013 meeting which is generally the organizational meeting.

There being no further business, the meeting adjourned at 8:05 PM

Respectfully submitted,

Stu Marckoon, Adm. Asst. to the Selectmen