2008-03-11 Select Board Meeting Minutes

Town of Bowdoinham
Minutes of Select Board Meeting
March 11, 2008


Residents Present: Dorothy Baker, George Christopher, Deputy Calvin Temple, Ben Long, Brant Miller, Todd Woofenden, and Kathy Durgin-Leighton, Town Manager.

Non residents Present: Sheriff Mark Westrum, Robert Shafto, Maine Association of Conservation Commissions.

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

Item 2: Consideration of the minutes from February 28, 2008 meeting – The Board reviewed the minutes. Selectperson Ciembroniewicz moved to accept the minutes, 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. Report on Sagadahoc County Sheriff Department’s activities in Bowdoinham from July 2007 through January 2008 – Sheriff Mark Westrum and Lieutenant Calvin Temple – Sheriff Westrum and Lieutenant Temple briefed the Board on the types and number of activities that the Sheriff Department has responded to in Bowdoinham. Selectperson Whittlesey asked if there were any trends that were apparent as the population in the town increases. They responded that there is more activity in the summer months and that there are more drug related activities though not at an alarming increase. Sheriff Westrum reported that speeding vehicles is the biggest complaint received. Selectperson Ciembroniewicz asked if there were any areas in the town that needed addressing. Lieutenant Temple replied that the waterfront area, the park and ride lot and the school are the three areas that require additional monitoring in the summer months. The Sheriff also briefed the Board on the challenges of the County’s upcoming budget as it relates to the State adopting a unified system of jails.

B. Presentation by Robert Shafto, Executive Director, Maine Association of Conservation Commissions – Robert Shafto gave a power point presentation regarding the history and the roles of Conservation Commissions in the State of Maine. Mr. Shafto reported that Conservation Commissions were popular in the state in the 1970’s with the emerging environmental consciousness but dwindled in the 1980’s. As the Conservation Commissions dwindled, Land Trusts became popular. Conservation Commissions that remained found a different mission other than to purchase land for open space. The interest in Conservation Commissions is growing perhaps as Mr. Shafto suggested, as a result of the Brookings Report on Maine’s Quality Places. Conservation Commissions appear to be more significant in areas of the state that are under development pressure. What are the roles of Conservation Commissions? They are:

A. Educate – make policy makers aware of the environmental issues within the community.
B. Advocate – urge adoption of policies and practices
C. Activate – do things that actively enhance the quality of the community’s environment.

Mr. Shafto explained that the role of Conservation Commissions is as unique as the towns in which they exist. For instance, the areas of involvement include dealing with ordinance revisions, light pollution, groundwater quality, recycling, energy issues, invasive species, pesticides, Planning Board Site Review, Open Space preservation, town forest management, land acquisition, and running a farmer’s market. To make a Conservation Commission successful, it needs a defined mission and purpose, support of elected and appointed officials to reflect the town’s desires, have good leadership and committed members, clear goals, passion for the work and a respect for diverse interests.

At the conclusion of Mr. Shafto’s presentation, the Board discussed whether there was a place for a Conservation Commission in Bowdoinham and how it would relate to the present appointed committees i.e. Land Use Revision Group and Biking, Walking, Paddling Group. Selectperson Ciembroniewicz stated that the mission would need to be clear. Selectperson Whittlesey wondered how the different committees’ roles would fit together and stressed the need for synergy among the groups. Brant Miller, resident, expressed support for a Conservation Commission and suggested that its role could be the management of Open Space within Subdivisions.

C. Executive Session – Poverty Abatement request pursuant to 1 M.R.S.A. § 405(6)(F) Discussion of Confidential Records as defined in Title 36, Subchapter 8 § 841 Abatement Procedures – Selectperson Ciembroniewicz moved to enter Executive Session to discuss Confidential Records as defined in Title 36, Subchapter 8 § 841 Abatement Procedures, 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. No decision or action was taken during executive session. The Board deemed the application incomplete as there was some information missing including a physician’s statement showing disability. The Board recommended the applicant apply for General Assistance or other assistance that may be available. Also, there is confusion regarding what tax year the abatement request is for. The original letter received from the attorney requests “property taxes coming due in April 2008 and all future property taxes” while the application states the request is for the year “6/30/08 – 6/30/09”.

Item 5: Town Manager’s Report

Budget/Revenues/Expenses

· Revenues are at 75% at end of February –2/3 through the fiscal year or 66%.
· Expenses are at 52.7% for the same time period with Public Works budget at 83.25% expended.
· FY09 Budget – I believe that we need to be prepared for the worse case scenario should the education funding get reduced to the numbers that we have heard – the latest scenario is that SAD75 will lose $1.7 million in revenues from last year. This is calculated to affect Bowdoinham as an approximate $200,000 increase in assessment.
· We do not know what the projected State Revenue sharing will be but, my guess is that we will receive less money from the state this coming year.
· If we are to present a “flat budget” or a municipal budget with no increase over the current year, we will need to cut $36,106 from the proposed budget FY09. We may do the following to arrive at the reduction:

1. Cut the paving line – This means that we would not pave South Pleasant Street this year. This is how the State has cut its budget in the past and we know the results firsthand. I do not recommend that we take this route.
2. Cut staffing – a very painful process. I would not recommend that we cut any position entirely. Rather, a reduction in hours. Still, this is not something that I take lightly. And, I recommend that we reduce wage increases for all employees along with other cuts to reach the $36,106.
3. Should we present a “flat budget”, revenues will still most likely be lower (State Revenue Sharing) and the Education assessment will be higher. This means that regardless of what the town does, the mil rate will most likely go up.

Item 6: Selectperson’s Request for Agenda Items for next meeting (March 25, 2008)

Item 7: Consent Items - There were no Consent Items.

Item 8: Consideration of Treasurer’s Warrants #36 – The reviewed the Treasurer’s Warrant and tabled approval of the warrant as information was missing. The Board will review and sign the Warrant on March 12, 2008.

Item 9: Announce Future Meetings, Workshops, Events

· March 12 @ 6:30 pm – Solid Waste Study Group
· March 12 @ 6:30 pm – Public Input Session – Transportation Vision Statement
· March 13 @ 6:30 pm – Land Use Meeting – Laura Sewall from Kennebec Estuary Collaborative presenter
· March 13 @ 6:30 pm – Finance Advisory Committee
· March 25 @ 5:30 pm – Select Board meeting
· March 26 @ 6:30 pm – Solid Waste Study Group
· March 27 @ 6:30 pm – Finance Advisory Committee

Item 10: Adjournment – The Chair adjourned the meeting at 9:50 pm.