Town of Buxton
Minutes for October 6, 2010 Selectmen’s Meeting
Prepared by: Beverly Gammon
Members Present: Jean C. Harmon, Robert C. Libby, Peter E. W. Burns, Clifford L. Emery, and Dianne M. Senechal.
Others Present: Dennis Sweatt, Daniel Collomy and Olive Collomy
Selectmen’s Meeting Agenda
The Meeting was called to order at 7:00 p.m.
- Pledge of Allegiance
- Approval of Prior Meeting Minutes
Selectmen Meeting Minutes September29, 2010.
Approved 4-1-0 (Selectman Peter Burns was absent last week).
- Discussion held between 5:00 & 7:00 p.m.
Debi Rix our Treasurer met with the Board to go over the TANS information again. That is the Tax Anticipation Note the Board discussed a couple of weeks ago and did an Executive Order to enter into an agreement. Debi wanted to provide the Board with more information on that.
Police Chief Mike Grovo and Officer Camire met with the Board regarding purchases using the drug forfeiture money. There are several items they had expressed an interest in purchasing. The Board asked questions and they were able to provide information. The Board needs to discuss it further before they are ready to make a decision.
Selectman Burns asked about an update on the Police Contract and Selectman Harmon said right now it is in the Union’s hands. The Board is waiting for them to ratify it and get it back so they can sign off on it as well.
The Board also discussed changing fuel oil companies.
- Email from Marian Alexandre with Southern Maine Regional Planning Commission—Re: E911 DOT Information Page.
Email from York County Emergency Management Agency—Re: News Release and fact sheet for congressional staffers.
Letter from the Twelve Town Group—Re: 12-Town Group Candidate’s Forum October 18, 2010.
- Review of Projects and Issues
Selectman Robert Libby said he has been quite busy with questions regarding tax bills, and on real estate and personal property accounts.
Selectman Burns spoke about the Board of Selectmen’s Workshop Monday night. It was primarily about carry forwards and was very productive.
Selectman Emery said he has been going through the road give back program and he does not see anything in it that would benefit the Town of Buxton. He had a conversation with John Sylvester who is on the committee with Maine Municipal Association that is going to oversee an informational meeting tomorrow. Cliff Emery shared his concerns and told Mr. Sylvester the Town of Buxton says “No”. Mr. Sylvester said he is getting the same reaction from most of the other towns as well.
Selectman Diane Senechal said the primary thrust of the Board Workshop was carry forwards but they went over other issues as well. She felt it was very productive. She reported that one of the projects assigned to her is “PACE”, an ordinance for energy efficiency for people in Town who are interested in participating in it. She will be doing more research on the project.
Selectman Senechal reminded everyone the Buxton News has a new editor and articles should be emailed to email@example.com. Hilda Lynch is going to put together a newsletter before the November election.
Selectman Harmon reported that carry forwards took up the majority of the time at the Monday night Workshop. The Board developed a Pets in the Workplace Policy and they will be doing an executive order on it later in the meeting. The Board talked about the cost of a Town Manager which Cliff Emery brought up last week so that residents would have an idea of what they could expect for a base cost as this is a component of the revised Charter. The Board briefly touched on the energy audit of the Bar Mills Fire Station. They are waiting for additional information from the electrician who had gone over and looked at things.
Selectman Harmon said the Board talked about holding a Public Hearing on the Charter. They talked with the Town’s attorney. It is not something the Board has to do but there is nothing prohibiting them from having one. The Board agreed that in order to have voters informed they should have a Public Hearing on what the Charter revision is.
Selectman Harmon talked about the “PACE” program that Dianne Senechal is working on. It is a loan program for people to install energy efficient, cost saving items in the home. People can take out a loan but the Town has to have an Ordinance for people to participate in the program. The Board has questions on how the loan process would work and they want to have as much information as possible before enacting an Ordinance on it.
The Town will be hosting a flu shot clinic here at the Town Hall on October 22, 2010 from 1:00-3:00 p.m. Last year the clinic was canceled because of lack of vaccine but we are hoping it is on track this year.
Absentee ballots are now available at the Town Office.
E.O.101110003 – An order to approve 6 Hours Vacation Time for Fred Farnham.
E.O.101110004 – An order to approve a Poverty Abatement for Case No PA 10-004.
E.O.101110005 – An order to approve a Poverty Abatement for Case No. PA 10-005.
- Executive Orders by Initiative
E.O.101110006 – An order to adopt a Pets in the Workplace Policy, effective 10/6/2010.
E.O.101110007 – An order to enter into a contract with Pit Stop Fuels for the coming year for all fuel and maintenance for the Town of Buxton.
- Accounts Payable and Payroll Warrants
E.O.101110001—An order approving expenditures as documented in Accounts Payable Warrant #14-11. Approved 5-0-0.
E.O.101110002—An order approving expenditures as documented in Payroll Warrant
#14-11. Approved 5-0-0.
- Next Meeting of the Board
Board of Selectmen Meeting Wednesday, October 13, 2010 at 7:00 p.m.
Public Hearing regarding the November 2nd Secret Ballot Item, Article 2. Charter revision, will be held Wednesday, October 20, 2010 at 7:00 p.m.
Town Office will be closed Monday, October 11, 2010, and the Transfer Station will be closed Tuesday, October 12, 2010. Also a reminder that State offices will be closed Friday, October 8th and will re-open Tuesday the 12th.
- Public Comments and Questions
Dennis Sweatt asked the Board to put the flag back where it was on the plow at the entrance to the Public Works Garage. He believes there is enough light from the street light to see the flag clearly at night. He went on to talk about the Charter and the question on the ballot. He said it does not say a thing about what we are voting on. He asked the Board to attach a letter saying specifically that if you vote yes on Article 2, you are voting for a Town Manager.
Selectman Emery said there are other significant, controversial changes in this Charter that will change the way the Town does business and it would not be fair to only talk about the Town Manager.
Selectman Harmon said the reason the question is the way it is on the ballot is because that is what is required under State Statutes. She said the Charter Commission did provide bullet points in the summary of the changes that they proposed in the Charter. Selectman Harmon said the Board has been promoting the fact that there are copies here at the Town Office at their meetings every Wednesday. She said the Charter Commission had the right to make other changes in the Charter as many or as few as they felt necessary. It is a Charter revision because it is changing the form of government we have from just the Selectmen to the Selectmen/Town Manager form of government. She does not think it is even an option to put a summary on the
ballot. The Charter Commission will be disbanded as soon as this process is over and any revisions to the Charter, other than petitions, would have to be made by the Board of Selectmen for the future.
Dennis Sweatt asked the Board about the price from Pit Stop and Cliff Emery said the Town is buying it by the price over rack on the day instead of a contract price.
Selectman Emery talked about the cost of a Town Manager. He said a Town Manager with an $80,000 salary would cost about $112,000 - $113,000 per year after adding about 40% for benefits including FICA, Medicare, medical, dental, retirement, disability, and everything that goes with it. He said $80,000 - $90,000 a year is the range towns the size of Buxton are paying. He estimates the total cost will be in the $112,000 - $120,000 range for Buxton.
Dennis Sweatt told the Selectmen he is proud of the Board of Selectmen and what they do whether he agrees with them or not and he does not think the cost of a Town Manager is something the Town of Buxton can afford at this time.
Selectman Bob Libby said there are going to be a lot more things that have to be added in. He said the Town they copied the Charter from pays the Town Manager $350/month for his automobile which adds over $4,000. He believes the cost is going to be much higher than $120,000.
Dennis Sweatt said if you vote yes for the Charter, you are voting for a Town Manager.
Selectman Harmon said the Board has invited the Charter Commission to the public hearing. The Selectmen were not involved in the process and therefore, if someone has a specific question about why this change was made, the Charter Commission members can answer those questions far better than the Selectmen.
Selectman Senechal said there will be an informational page available to the public and it will be in the Buxton News.
Dan Collomy then spoke to the Board. He said there will be a Minority Report. He wants the public to know that when the Charter Commission members took a poll of the Commission 5 members were in favor and 4 were opposed to the Town Manager form of government. He said the minority could not get their report in with the final plan because of timing but a report will be recorded with the Town Clerk and distributed. He read a preliminary draft of the Minority Report and said they believe the proposed Charter will have a very detrimental effect on the average taxpayer during these trying times.
Following Dan’s comments were some from the Board. Selectman Bob Libby said he has had calls from people who are getting absentee ballots and they are asking what Question 2 means and what does it do. He said it is important that those who have absentee ballots know that if they vote yes they are voting to have a Town Manager and if they vote no they are voting to leave things as they are. He advised people to take a look at what the Town of Buxton has, as fine departments as there are with Police, Public Works, and Fire & Rescue. He said we have almost anything you can think of that the larger towns have with a tax rate that is 1/3 less than they pay. He believes leaving it the way it is would be the best possible thing and he
hopes at some time the Board of Selectmen will take a vote to let everyone know how they feel about it.
Selectman Emery said the Board found out from the Town’s attorney that they are allowed to voice their views from their side of the microphones, as selectmen or as individual taxpayers of the Town of Buxton.
Selectman Harmon said it is not often they express their personal feelings on certain issues and it is not any one’s intention to lead voters one way or the other. She hopes the public hearing will be well-attended and that people come out and ask questions if they have any. She said the Charter Commission has been asked to be there to answer specific questions because the Board, by choice or not, is not part of the process.
Selectman Burns added that if anyone wants to call him and ask his opinion, he will be glad to talk about it. For those who have absentee ballots now and cannot wait for the public hearing where he will express his views, he said he agrees with Bob Libby.
Motion made and seconded to adjourn the meeting at 7:50 p.m.