2007-09-25 Select Board Meeting Minutes

Town of Bowdoinham
Minutes of Select Board Meeting
September 25, 2007

Residents Present: George Christopher, Tony Cox (Community and Economic Development Director), and Dorothy Baker (Assessing Clerk), and Kathy Durgin-Leighton (Town Manager)

Non Residents Present: Warren Hatch (Deputy Treasurer), Nicole Briand (Town Planner/CEO) and Kevin Prout (Public Works Director), Roger Therriault (Town Counsel)

Item 1: Call the meeting to order – The Chair called the meeting to order at 5:30 pm. All members were present: Chair Wayne Dorr, Selectperson Steve Ciembroniewicz, and Selectperson David Whittlesey

Item 2: Consideration of the minutes from September 11, 2007 meeting – The Board reviewed the minutes. Selectperson Ciembroniewicz moved to accept the minutes of September 11, 2007 as amended, seconded by Selectperson Whittlesey. The vote was 3-0 in favor.

Item 3: Comments from the Public – There were no comments from the public.

Item 4: New Business:

A. Meeting with Town Attorney, Roger Therriault, regarding the options available in regulating the spreading of sludge – The Board met with Roger Therriault regarding his September 25, 2007 memorandum on the spreading of sludge as it relates to Maine regulations and statutes. Mr. Therriault stated that the Town may not prevent the spreading of sludge but has the right to require additional testing to protect the environment from harm. The Town may also require setbacks from residential areas. Mr. Therriault maintained that the Town does not have a case for the Nuisance Law as it relates to the odor since it does not affect all of the residents in town. Chair Dorr stated that this remains a difficult issue between farmers and neighbors as well as a concern to the environment. Mr. Therriault stated that this is the primary reason that Land Use Ordinances are enacted. Chair Dorr asked about the use of fees and expressed being uncomfortable with it used as a mechanism to deter the spreading of sludge. Mr. Therriault agreed and stated that case law is very clear that the use of fees must be considered reasonable to administer the ordinances. This includes the hiring of outside experts to conduct the testing and monitoring. A fee may not be created to act as a deterrent to the action of sludge spreading. Mr. Therriault also stated that there must be a demonstrated scientific reason for creating a restriction in a proposed ordinance. Items that may be restricted include how the sludge is stored, where it is stored, how close to streams, etc. Selectperson Whittlesey suggested that there seems to be a premise that testing will guarantee certain conditions. However, he has learned from some experts that the current testing available is probably inadequate for the type of pathogens that are in sludge. He continued by saying that the Town’s Comprehensive Plan acknowledges the importance of farming and the need to preserve it. The following conflict arises: Do we want to live in a farming community or not? And, even scientists are conflicted with each other. Therefore, as Selectperson Whittlesey expressed, there is a need to find a balance that would allow the Town to sustain the viability of farming while protecting the environment. The Board did not recommend action at this time.

Old Fire Station – Mr. Therriault reported that he continues to search for the heirs to the land. The Board discussed the options available including taking the land by eminent domain, turning the land over to the heirs and charging property taxes. Chair Dorr stated that this has been a long standing issue before the Board and would like to find a solution. He suggested that Mr. Therriault find the heirs, renew the offer, and revisit this with Mr. Therriault at the December 2007 meeting.

B. Executive Session pursuant to 1 M.R.S.A. § 405 (6)(E) consultation with legal counsel and 1.M.R.S.A. § 405 (6)(H) consultation with Code Enforcement Officer. Selectperson Ciembroniewicz moved to enter into Executive Session, seconded by Selectperson Whittlesey. The vote was 3-0 in favor. Selectperson Whittlesey moved to exit from Executive Session, seconded by Selectperson Ciembroniewicz. The vote was 3-0 in favor. There were no decisions or actions made during the Executive Session.

C. Meeting with Town Planner, Nicole Briand – Since the position is a new position to the Town, the Board discussed the role of the Town Planner. Chair Dorr stated that he saw the role as one of consultation, advice and guidance to the Land Use Revision Group and Planning Board. Selectperson Ciembroniewicz stated that he saw the role as important to the Planning Board as it implements the new Subdivision Ordinance. Also, the Board discussed the importance of the Town Planner in working to establish a Highway District in preparation to the end of the Highway District moratorium.

D. Meeting with Kevin Prout, Public Works Director regarding Batchelder Bridge – Kevin explained that there is no state funding available for the bridge work. The bridge has a posted limit of 3 tons dating back to around 1993. Kevin consulted with the Maine Municipal Association in regard to the Town’s obligation to the bridge. He learned that the Town’s first obligation is to make the bridge safe and passable but we are under no legal obligation to increase the weight load of the bridge as long as emergency vehicles can safely cross the bridge. According to Kevin, the Fire Chief, Jack Tourtelotte, states that he does have a truck that can cross the bridge at the 3 ton limit and that if a fire was to occur at the one property, currently owned by the Zell family, he could fight the fire from the Carding Machine Road side of the bridge. It is up to the Select Board to decide if the bridge should be repaired to increase the weight load limit or keep it at the present 3 ton limit. According to Kim Suhr, of Wyman and Simpson, a bridge contractor out of Richmond, the estimated cost to repair the bridge with no weight restriction is between $90,000 and $100,000. This would bring the lifespan of the bridge to approximately 80 years.
Selectperson Whittlesey asked if there would be significant savings if the bridge was rebuilt to its present load limit or somewhere between 3 tons and an unlimited load limit. Kevin stated that he did not know and would need to consult with Wyman and Simpson. Kevin also stated that the bridge is not in imminent danger though it should be repaired next year. The Board will revisit this once Kevin receives further information on the costs.

E. Meeting with Tony Cox, Community and Economic Development – update on September 17th Maine Farmland Trust meeting regarding the Steen Property – Tony reported that Maine Farmland Trust has approached the Steen’s regarding the desire to preserve the property. Currently the Steen’s have the property for sale. Maine Farmland Trust has a goal to preserve approximately 100,000 acres statewide. They currently have preserved 20,000 acres and have shown great interest in the Steen property. The Trust links prospective farmers to prospective buyers. The Trust preserves the land by taking the less desirable acreage out of the parcel, selling that acreage off in order to preserve the more desirable acreage of the parcel. The money from the less desirable acreage allows the Trust to sell to a farmer for a cheaper price and thereby keeping the acreage in farmland. The Trust plans to meet with neighbors of the Steen property as well as the Steen’s to gauge interest in the area. The Board discussed the role of the Town in preserving some of the more unique and valuable land. Options that are open to further discussion are using Town funds to purchase land, borrowing municipal bonds to purchase land, etc. Selectperson Whittlesey suggested that this may be an opportune time to gather together persons who have a common interest in farming and purchasing locally grown produce. There are some new farmers in town and they may wish to become more organized. The Board agreed that bringing farmers together to discuss common issues and land preservation would be an appropriate role for Tony as the Community and Economic Development Director. Selectperson Whittlesey requested that Tony inform the Trust that the Board shares common concerns to preserving farmland and to keep the Board apprised of its work with the Steen land. Selectperson Ciembroniewicz advised that the Town involve the Steen family in the discussions.

Item 6: Town Manager’s Report

1. Kevin Prout, our Public Works Director, should be commended for his diligence in connecting Bowdoinham with the Greater Portland Council of Governments Cooperative Services bulk purchasing program. Though Bowdoinham is not an official member of GCOG, we have been approved, thanks to Kevin, to participate in all of their bulk purchasing programs as nonmembers. We are reaping the savings already! We will be purchasing our Road Salt at a cost savings of roughly $7,000! And, we can purchase other items such as culverts, office supplies, copy paper, road signs, etc. We may wish to join the organization and get a member discount. Memberships are roughly 1.00/per resident or approx. $2,800 per year. We are currently a member of Midcoast Council for Business Development and Planning for $3,900 per year and will need to decide what might be the better organization to join.

2. Shingleman’s Creek – Please see attached expense sheet for detailed accounting of this project. The project is approximately $9,500 under the budgeted amount and pending one outstanding bill, the final number should remain approximately $9,000 under budget.

3. Celebrate Bowdoinham – A successful and relatively inexpensive day.

Item 7: Selectperson’s Request for Agenda Items for next meeting (October 9, 2007) – Shingleman’s Creek, MaryBeth Latti, Review Calendar for Select Board meetings.

Item 8: Consent Items:

A. Property Tax Supplemental Assessment:

1. Jeff and Raylene Cote, 8 Cote Woods, Bowdoin, Me. Map R01, Lot 12 - $2,465.60 – Tree Growth Withdrawal Penalty (67 acres) – Selectperson Ciemboniewicz move to assess the property for the recommended amounted, seconded by Selectperson Whittlesey. The vote was 3-0 in favor.

B. Property Tax Abatements:

1. Todd and Sarah Roughgarden, 17 Church Street, Richmond, Me - Map R09, Lot 48-E - $58.00 – wrong acreage. Selectperson Ciembroniewicz moved to abate the property tax for the recommended amount of $58.00, seconded by Selectperson Whittlesey. The vote was 3-0 in favor.

2. Kathryn Johnson, 259 Post Road, Bowdoinham, Me. - Map R02, Lot 29-002 - $126.15 – wrong acreage. Selectperson Whittlesey moved to abate the property tax for the recommended amount of $126.15, seconded by Selectperson Ciembroniewicz. The vote was 3-0 in favor.

3. Randal and Audrey Hyde, 261 Post Road, Me. - Map R02, Lot 29-004 - $184.54 – Omitted Homestead Exemption. Selectperson Ciembroniewicz moved to abate the property tax for the recommended amount of $184.54, seconded by Selectperson Whittlesey. The vote was 3-0 in favor.

4. James Porter, P.O. Box 208, Bowdoinham, Me. – Map R02, Lot 12-A - $70.98 – Omitted Veteran Exemption. Selectperson Whittlesey moved to abate the property tax for the recommended amount of $70.98, seconded by Selectperson Ciembroniewicz. The vote was 3-0 in favor.

5. Clarence and Joan Fickett, P.O. Box 231, Bowdoinham, Me - Map R02, Lot 20 - $213.15 – Garage Burned before April 1, 2007. Selectperson Ciembroniewicz moved to abate the property tax for the recommended amount of $213.15, seconded by Selectperson Whittlesey. The vote was 3-0 in favor.

6. Willam and Marjorie Stanton, 361 Pork Point Road, Bowdoinham, Me – Map R10, Lot 46-B – $23.20 - Wrong Acreage. Selectperson Whittlesey moved to abate the property tax for the recommended amount of $23.20, seconded by Selectperson Ciembroniewicz. The vote was 3-0 in favor.

7. Bradley Meads, P.O. Box 302, Bowdoinham, Me – Map R08, Lot 008-002 - $70.98 – Omitted Veteran Exemption. Selectperson Ciembroniewicz moved to abate the property tax for the recommended amount of $70.98, seconded by Selectperson Whittlesey. The vote was 3-0 in favor.

C. Personal Property Tax Abatements:

1. Double V Inc., 229 White Road, Bowdoinham, Me - $71.05 – Out of Business – Selectperson Ciembroniewicz moved to abate the personal property tax for the recommended amount of $71.05, seconded by Selectperson Whittlesey. The vote was 3-0 in favor.

2. Smallage, Artie, P.O. Box 192, Bowdoinham, Me - $2.90 – Out of Business. Selectperson Whittlesey moved to abate the personal property tax for the recommended amount of $2.90, seconded by Selectperson Ciembroniewicz. The vote was 3-0 in favor.

Item 9: Consideration of Treasurer’s Warrants #12 & #13.
The Board reviewed the Treasurer’s Warrants.
Selectperson Ciembroniewicz moved to approve Warrant #12, seconded by Selectperson Whittlesey. The vote was 3-0 in favor.
Selectperson Ciembroniewicz moved to approve Warrant #13, seconded by Selectperson Whittlesey. The vote was 3-0 in favor.

Item 10: Announce Future Meetings, Workshops, Events

· September 26 @ 6:30 pm – Bowdoinham Area Sustainable Energy Group
· September 27 @ 7:00 pm – Planning Board Meeting
· October 9 @ 5:30 pm – Regular Select Board Meeting
· October 11 @ 6:30 pm – Land Use Revision Group – Room 1
· October 11 @ 6:30 pm – Finance Committee Meeting - Room 2
· October 27 – Library Book Sale @ Coombs School
· October 27 – Woodworking Show – Mark Donovan @ Town Hall

Item 11: Adjournment – The Chair adjourned the meeting at 9:10 pm.