2009-09-23 Select Board Meeting Minutes

Town of Bowdoinham
Select Board Meeting Minutes
September 23, 2009

Residents in Attendance: Dotty Baker, Neal Brown, Ben Long, Brooke Cox, Jennifer Foley, Brad Foley, Mary Stride, Susan Reinheimer, Lisa Wesel, George Christopher, George Freeman, Kate Cutko, Dan Billings, Brigid Donovon, and Kathy Durgin-Leighton

Item 1: Call the meeting to order – The Chair called the meeting to order at 6:30 pm. Members present: Chair Whittlesey and Selectperson Hobart

Item 2: Consideration of the minutes from September 9, 2009 meeting – The Board reviewed the minutes. Selectperson Hobart moved to approve the minutes, seconded by Chair Whittlesey. The vote was 2-0 in favor.

Item 3: Comments from the Public – Mr. Neal Brown asked the Board for authorization to have the Town pay to have a section of his lawn dug out to facilitate water drainage. The Town has a drainage easement on his property which Mr. Brown stated is clogging his lawn. He stated that it was cleaned out approximately six years ago and needs to be cleaned out again. Selectperson Hobart stated that the Town’s concern is to have the drainage work properly and that it was not the town’s responsibility to maintain Mr. Brown’s lawn. Chair Whittlesey thanked Mr. Brown and stated that the Board would take his request under consideration.

Item 4: New Business

1. Municipal Officers’ Certification of Official Text of a Proposed Ballot Question – Brad Foley, Chair of the Biking, Walking, and Paddling Committee gave a briefed the Board on the committee’s work since the June Town Meeting. The Committee was successful in getting 212 registered voters to sign a petition supporting a new sidewalk proposal to be placed on the November 3rd ballot. Mr. Foley stated that the new proposal is a pared down proposal from the original one that failed at town meeting. The federal grant is the same ($535,000) however the municipal match has been reduced from $350,029 to $133,750 and will come from the Town’s fund balance rather than borrowed. Selectperson Hobart asked Mr. Foley how much town staff time was used for by the Committee on this new proposal. Mr. Foley stated that the only staff time that was used was to answer questions regarding the petitioning process. Chair Whittlesey asked what the proposal would do to the Town’s undesignated fund balance. Mr. Dan Billings, Chair of the Finance Advisory Committee, stated that it was his idea to tap the fund balance so as not to incur debt as this seemed to be a concern at the June town meeting. Mr. Billings stated that, pending the results of the FY09 audit, the Town is expected to add more funds to the fund balance than $133,750 therefore there would be no change to the fund balance as a result of the referendum. The Board agreed to the text of the proposed ballot question and executed the Certification.

2. Consideration to approve Special Town Meeting Warrant for November 3, 2009 – The Board reviewed the November 3rd Special Town Meeting Warrant. Selectperson Hobart moved to approve the Warrant, seconded by Chair Whittlesey. The vote was 2-0 in favor.

3. Meeting with Jennifer Foley for consideration for appointment to Finance Advisory Committee – Chair Whittlesey thanked Ms. Foley for offering to serve on the Finance Advisory Committee and stated that her knowledge of the town and its finances from when she served on the Select Board and attended the Finance Advisory Committee would serve the town well. Selectperson Hobart moved to appoint Jennifer Foley to the Finance Advisory Committee effective September 24, 2009 through June 30, 2013, seconded by Chair Whittlesey. The vote was 2-0 in favor.

4. Tabor II and Excise Tax Referendums Discussion – Chair Whittlesey stated that there are two initiatives on the ballot in November that will have a potential impact on municipalities. He reported that he, the Manager and Jen Foley attended a forum last Wednesday night (September 16th) sponsored by the Maine Municipal Association (MMA) on the two referendums. Both proponents and opponents of the initiatives were invited to present their sides. Supporters of the initiatives did not attend. He reported that MMA is in opposition to both initiatives (commonly referred to as Tabor II and Excise Tax initiatives). Chair Whittlesey stated that if the excise tax referendum was to pass, considerable impact on Bowdoinham revenues would result – revenues that are used to help maintain Bowdoinham’s local roads. Chair Whittlesey asked if the Board would like to take a position on the referendums. Mr. Dan Billings, who was in attendance and an attorney, acknowledged that he represents the Maine Heritage Policy Center that initiated the two referendums. He stated that he does not feel that it is the role of the Select Board to take positions on citizen initiatives and that he resents having his tax money, through the town’s payment of annual dues to MMA, used for lobbying efforts opposing the initiative. Chair Whittlesey stated that since the initiatives have a direct impact on the town’s finances that the Board may wish to take a position on them. Selectperson Hobart asked how much of an impact would the excise tax referendum have on the town. Mr. Freeman, a resident in attendance, stated that since the mood of the public was to vote against taxes and expenditures, if there was a direct impact on the town as a result of the referendums, it was incumbent for the Board to state its case and to publicize it. The Board will revisit the issue at the next meeting.

Item 5: Town Manager’s Report

1. Broadband Update – The Town Manager reported that she is in the process of mapping the town to determine broadband availability. She has information from Comcast regarding its coverage area and is asking the same of Fairpoint. Also, she is in contact with Phillip Lindley of ConnectMe regarding the grant process for expanding broadband in Bowdoinham. In the last grant cycle, the towns of Edgecomb, Arrowsic, and Jefferson received grants. The town of Edgecomb is partnering with Midcoast Internet Solutions for an infrastructure build out and the town of Arrowsic is partnering with Fairpoint for the same.

2. Update on Route 24 – Joyce Taylor of MDOT is in charge of the paving project resulting from the Harward Bridge Project truck traffic. MDOT is placing a minor amount of shim to fix the damaged outside edge of Route 24 and a small amount of base pavement where pavement is completely gone. A 5/8” surface will then be applied to the approximately 2 mile section. Ditching and culvert replacement will help preserve the road. The MDOT is running out of time before its normal paving period ends. Ms. Taylor has authorized paving past the usual State deadline. The State deadline of October 15th is a way to prevent pavement failures associated with cold and wet conditions.

3. Audit for FY08/09 – The Manager reported that the financial Audit will be completed next week. The final report should be received within 6 weeks from the completion date. The Finance Advisory Committee will be touring the town-owned facilities on September 24th.

4. Solid Waste Committee – The Manager reported that Solid Waste Manager David Berry will be proposing a list of goals/responsibilities for a Solid Waste Committee by October 5th for the Board to consider.

5. Celebrate Bowdoinham wrap up – The Manager reported the following: Silent Auction brought in $4,404. $2,910 goes to t he Home Heating Fund along with the $88 brought in from the David’s rickshaw rides. The following is a summary of expenses and revenues:


Tent Rental $2,165
Entertainment $1,500
Bungee Jumping $1,800
Security $ 365
Portable Toilets $ 205
Sound System 700
Coin Toss 210
Art Van 210
Signage 394
Advertising 710
Parade 650
Bowdoinham’s Best 130
Skillet Toss 40
Stipend 75
Duck Winner/Loser 500
Total 9,654


Silent Auction $1,494 (Net after Home Heating)
Vendor Fees 600
Ducks, Tshirts 1,965
Bungee Jumping $ 765
Total 4,824

Total $4,830 Cost

Celebrate Bowdoinham Budget (TIF) $6,000

Item 6: Consent Items

A. Assessing Agent Property Tax Abatements for the following:

Abatements for FY2010

#9 Fairpoint Communications, (Personal Property), 770 Elm Street, Manchester, NH 03101, $31.08 – The Board reviewed the Abatement request. Selectperson Hobart moved to approve Abatement #9, seconded by Chair Whittlesey. The vote was 2-0 in favor.

Item 7: Consideration of FY10 Treasurer’s Warrant #5 – The Board reviewed Treasurer’s Warrant #5. Selectperson Hobart moved to approve Warrant #5, seconded by Chair Whittlesey. The vote was 2-0 in favor.

Item 8: Selectperson’s Request for Agenda Items for next meeting (October 14, 2009) -

Item 9: Announce Future Meetings, Workshops, Events

• September 24 @ 5:30 pm - Finance Committee Meeting
• September 24 @ 7 pm – Planning Board Meeting
• September 28 & 29 – Financial Audit - FY09
• October 2 @ 7 pm – Farewell To Jane & Frank Connors
• October 7 @ 6:30 pm – Regular Select Board Meeting
• October 21 @ 6:30 pm – Regular Select Board Meeting

Item 10: Adjourn – The Chair adjourned the meeting at 8 pm.