2012-03-27 Select Board Meeting Minutes


Town of Bowdoinham

Select Board Meeting

March 27, 2012 5:30 p.m.



1.         Call the Meeting to Order & Establish a Quorum


The meeting was called to order and quorum established by Chairman Hobart at 5:30 p.m.  Select Board members Brian Hobart, Kathy Gallant, Kathy Tome, and M. Theresa Turgeon were present.  Select Board member Douglas Tourtelotte was absent.  Staff present included Town Manager William Post and Planning & Development Director Nicole Briand.  Cable/Internet Committee members Sally Hildreth and Bert Singer and ten members of the public were also in attendance.


2.         Amendments to the Agenda


Chair Hobart stated that item 4.B. “Meet with Cindy Lamoreau re: Comprehensive Plan Discussion would be skipped as Ms. Lamoreau could not attend the meeting.


3.         Approve Consent Calendar

            A.  Regular Meeting Minutes of March 13, 2012

            B.   Warrants & Financial Reports:

                  1.   Treasurer’s Warrant #56 for $77,079.78


On motion of Turgeon/Gallant, the Board voted 4 – 0 to approve the consent calendar as presented.


4.         Discussion Items


            A.  Meet with Jason Douglas re: Retail Sales of Fireworks


            The Town Manager introduced Jason Douglas, a former Bowdoinham resident that is interested in opening a retail store for fireworks sales.


            Mr. Douglas stated that he is actively seeking a location to open a retail fireworks business and is approaching the Board to make the idea public for discussion. Before he invests more time into this venture, he would like to know if the residents do not want a store to be located in Bowdoinham.  He estimates that the store will be approximately 3,000 square feet and employ two or three employees. 


            Select Board member Kathy Tome asked if a specific location had been identified.  Mr. Douglas answered that a specific location has not been identified, but that he is looking near the highway.  He wanted to make his intentions public first as many communities have enacted or begun to enact bans on the use of fireworks and/or sale of fireworks after stores have been proposed.


            Chair Hobart asked if Mr. Douglas had met with the Planning Board yet. The Manager stated that he met with Mr. Douglas, Nicole Briand and Darren Carey to discuss what requirements were needed to be met under the Land Use Ordinance. This proposal falls under a Planning Board review for retail sales which includes a public hearing. In addition, there is a lengthy list of requirements that need to be met to acquire state and federal permits.


            Select Board member Tome stated that a retail store may bring people to town. She asked where other stores are located. Mr. Douglas stated that a store is open in Manchester and one is expected to be open in Edgecomb by the end of March. Select Board member Turgeon stated that if the store is located near the highway, then it wouldn’t necessarily draw people to other parts of town.


            Select Board member Turgeon asked what types of fireworks are allowed to be used.  Mr. Douglas stated that some types are not allowed to be sold or used, such as bottle rockets, missiles, and helicopters. In state law, fireworks are allowed to be used from 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.s. and longer on some holidays. 


            Select Board member Gallant stated that she is in favor of businesses in town.


            The Board thanked Mr. Douglas for meeting with the Board.


            B.      Update from Cable/Internet Committee


            Select Board member and Cable/Internet Committee Chair Theresa Turgeon stated that the Committee has been frustrated in their attempts to find a partner to apply for a ConnectME grant to provide broad band internet access in parts of town that are not served, or underserved.  Members of the committee have spoken with several companies and none are interested at this point. Also, the Committee previously tried to negotiate a new cable franchise agreement with Comcast.  This has proved to be difficult as Comcast’s representatives do not provide information and do not answer requests.


            Turgeon stated that the Committee recommends that the Board direct the Town Manager to stop negotiations with Comcast and approved this motion: “to cease any further discussions with Comcast until we feel they are ready to truly show some flexibility and concessions.”


            Chair Hobart asked about 4G service and DSL coverage for internet service. Committee member Sally Hildreth stated that 4G is cellular service and individuals pay extra depending on the amount of use.  DSL is too slow for many that work from home.


            Chair Hobart asked what the Town would gain by stopping negotiations with Comcast. Turgeon stated that the Town has nothing to lose by not negotiating. Committee member Bert Singer stated that if a new contract was negotiated and approved, the Town would lose flexibility as the Town would be locked into that franchise agreement for at least 10 years.

            Chair Hobart asked the Town Manager for his opinion. The Manager stated that he understands the frustration of the Committee as they were trying to negotiate with Comcast before he started working for the Town and Comcast’s representative does take a long time to respond to inquiries.  However, he sees it as one of his duties to secure a franchise agreement.  He stated that broadband internet service and the cable franchise are two separate, but connected issues, as Comcast offers internet service. The Manager stated that he will continue trying to find a partner for the wireless broadband internet service separately.


            Board member Kathy Gallant asked about the wireless internet possibility. Board member Turgeon explained that the Committee has been trying to partner with a company that would locate wireless internet service in town, but the companies contacted are not willing to commit to a project at this time for various reasons.


            Chair Hobart asked the Manager if giving one month to continue working on Comcast would be enough time.  The Manager stated that there are two issues: the Comcast franchise agreement and the possible wireless internet.  The franchise agreement would not be negotiated within one month. The letter of intent for the next round of ConnectME grants is April 2nd. At this point, there is a company that is interested, but in the very early stages and the Manager is not sure if a letter of intent would be appropriate for this round or not.  He hopes to discuss this topic this week with the company.


            On motion of Tome/Gallant, the Board voted 4 – 0 to authorize the Town Manager to move forward with a letter of intent as long as a partner is found for the ConnectME grant.


             The Board’s consensus was that the Town Manager not place a priority on negotiating a franchise agreement with Comcast.


            Select Board member Turgeon stated that Bert Singer submitted his resignation from the Cable/Internet Committee.


            On motion of Turgeon/Gallant, the Board voted 4 – 0 to accept Bert Singer’s resignation from the Cable/Internet Committee reluctantly.


5.         Action Items


  1. Act on Award of Skate Park Design


            The Manager stated that the Town received four proposals and has interviewed two firms.  At this point, there is no recommendation as references are still being contacted, but a recommendation will be ready for the Board’s next meeting.



            B.      Act on Contract for Fireworks for Celebrate Bowdoinham


            The Town Manager stated that the concept of having fireworks at Celebrate Bowdoinham has been discussed by individual Select Board members, residents and members of various committees because of the Town’s 250th anniversary.  In response, the Town received a proposal from Central Maine Pyrotechnics for the event. The cost for a show that lasts 20 – 25 minutes is approximately $4000.  Funding for the fireworks at Celebrate Bowdoinham could come from the Celebrate Reserve Account, which currently has approximately $17,539 available.   


            On motion of Gallant/Tome, the Board voted 4 – 0 to approve a contract with Central Maine Pyrotechnics for $4,000 for fireworks at Celebrate Bowdoinham and authorized the Manager to execute the contract with funding from the Celebrate Reserve Account.


  1. Review and Approve Land Use Ordinance Amendments


The Manager stated that the Planning Board has drafted and approved, after a public hearing last Thursday, a package of housekeeping amendments to the Land Use Ordinance.  Nicole Briand then reviewed the amendments with the Board (see attached list).


On motion of Gallant/Tome, the Board voted 5 – 0 to approve the Land Use Ordinance Amendments as presented and authorized the ordinance be placed on the annual town meeting warrant.


6.         Town Manager’s Report


            The Town Manager stated that he has been using preliminary figures from Steve Dyer at MSAD #75 to figure the tax rate for the next fiscal year. The numbers provided in February showed the school district keeping the local allocation the same as this year. However, because of valuation and enrollment changes, this means an increase of just under $92,000 for Bowdoinham.  This is approximately 4% of an increase in property tax dollars to Bowdoinham property owners.  At the meeting last Tuesday night with the MSAD #75 finance committee, school officials, and select board members, it was discussed that the school board is having a difficult time in making additional reductions to keep the local allocation the same as the current year.  The discussion is that the local share for Bowdoinham may increase to approximately $116,000. This would be about a 5% increase and result in a higher tax rate than anticipated.  Over the past six years, Bowdoinham has seen an increase each year in the amount in taxes paid for education. At the same time, Bowdoinham has tried to reduce the municipal budget so that a tax increase is not needed. Unfortunately, this year the Town cannot reduce the municipal budget without reducing services significantly, so a tax rate increase is highly likely, especially considering the county tax will be increasing by at least 5%. 


The Manager suggested that the Board send a letter to the MSAD 75 Board and officials laying out the Town’s budget issues, including the school and county tax, and ask that the school board work to keep the increase to a minimum.  The Manager provided a draft letter for the Board to consider.


On motion of Gallant/Tome, the Board voted 4 – 0 to approve the letter as drafted by the Manager.


7.         Selectperson’s Requests for Agenda Items for Next Meeting – None


8.         Announce Future Meetings, Workshops, Events


A.  Selectmen’s Meetings-

  1. April 10th – Regular Meeting
  2. April 24th – Regular Meeting

B.   Finance Advisory Committee Meeting – April 3rd 6:30 p.m.

C.  Informational Meeting to discuss options for Recycling Barn & Public Works Garage, March 29th 6:00 p.m. Town Hall


9.         Comments from the Public


            George Christopher stated that the Times Record is not posting the meetings correctly in the paper.


            Chair Hobart asked if Select Board members were okay with his recent response to a citizen complaint. Board members Turgeon and Gallant stated they were. Hobart stated that he feels it is the Chair’s responsibility to deal with issues if citizens are rude or attack Town personnel.  Board member Tome stated that Hobart’s response was appropriate and believes that each member should respond to any email complaints stating that they have received the complaint and forwarded it on to the Town Manager.  


10.       Adjourn


            The meeting adjourned at 6:45 p.m.


Select Board

Town of Bowdoinham, Maine  

Brian Hobart, Chair                                                                                                                                                           

M. Theresa Turgeon, Vice-Chair

Kathleen Gallant

Kathy Tome


 Douglas Tourtelotte

Respectfully Submitted,

William S. Post, Town Manag